Are you feeling awkward in front of the camera? Well, you’re not alone. Did you ever browse a blogger’s Instagram feed and wondered how she makes her pictures look like they’re straight from a fashion magazine? Yes? Then you’re in the right place!
For many of us, taking a good image has become the ultimate struggle. If you thought a single tap on “Valencia” would do the trick, think again, as there is much more than just filters in those freshly wrapped flowers’ snaps.
Curating a quality feed is about switching up your usual travel, lifestyle, or beauty content and giving the details some time to shine.
It’s about embracing lighting, even if it’s not golden hour lighting and challenging yourself to think outside of the box. Social media is a platform for creativity, inspiration, and showing off life in all its glory.
So what are we waiting for?
Let’s explore this envy-inducing world from behind the scenes: here is everything you need to know to nail outfit photos for Instagram.
How To Take Outfit Photos For Instagram
Put, even if you didn’t win “Most Artistic” in your high school yearbook, give yourself the room and space to create.
Put on the most electrifying or chic outfit in your closet and grab your camera.
Find a cool wall in the middle of your city or a bush filled with blooming buds and flowers, and put these tips and tricks to the test. Here’s precisely how to take outfit photos for Instagram.
Decide What Part Of The Outfit You Want To Focus On
First things first: When you’re taking a photo of your outfit for Instagram — or any social media outlet really — you need to decide what part of the outfit you want to focus on.
Did you get a new chunky belt you want to show off? Are you super in love with your jeans and French tuck that would make Tan France from Queer Eye so proud?
These are the essential questions you need to answer, people, before clicking any button on your digital camera. The look will be the composition of your photo and take up most of the frame.
The way you style your leather boots or adding a little bit of gold jewellery to brighten up your attire is legendary. But those details won’t be the focal point unless you actively decide they should be.
So figure out what the highlights of your outfit and pieces you want to tag are, and consider how they’ll flow in your feed, too. Then, think about the location.
Consider The Background Of Your Image
Before taking a picture, think about the colours you are wearing and the background. Always considers three things: the angle, composition, and lighting.
Although your outfit can, and should, take up a majority of your frame, the location of your photo is essential. It helps to give your followers a glimpse into your lifestyle, personality, travels, or creative eye.
It keeps things interesting on your profile and captures a moment in its entirety instead of a single pose. It challenges your followers to see more and spend time with the picture instead of double-tapping and scrolling to the next.
So when you’re preparing to shoot your outfit, ask yourself, “Are you telling a story with this picture?” If so, make it clear and known.
Show off the busy streets of your new city or the coffee shop you’ve been visiting on the reg, and utilize details like the stripes of a crosswalk. It’ll make all the difference.
Work The Angles You Never Think Of
Whenever you pick up your camera or phone to take a photo, try to think differently. That’s what being creative is all about — imagining something new and exciting and making it happen in real life.
When it comes to your outfit pics for Instagram, you must adopt this same mindset and work the angles you never think of.
Get an aerial shot of your lap so your followers can see the buttons and beautiful colours on your dress.
Ask the best friend who takes all of your pics to snap a few from below. Pretend you’re stepping on the camera to put the focus on your shoes.
In addition, consider zooming in on the delicate stitching in your sweater or dainty rings you have on your hand and doing poses you’ve seen on your favourite influencers’ accounts. You may be surprised by the results.
Make The Most Of Props Or Accessories
Props and accessories will never fail to take any photoshoot to the next and dreamiest level.
Seriously, think about all the pictures you’ve “liked” recently; they probably included a colourful piece of fruit, a film camera, or a whimsy pair of sunnies.
They made you say, “Wow! That’s so creative and cool,” and want to text your besties and have a photoshoot as soon as possible.
You can embrace bunches of flowers and printed scrunchies and have the same effect on your followers. It just takes a little practice and extra thought before tapping the share button.
Start with thinking about your outfit, the story you want your picture to tell, and the location you’re planning on shooting in, and seeing what items would make sense to include. Then, use them to create movement, humour, or interest in your artsy composition.
Edit Your Picture To Highlight Your Outfit At Its Best
Editing is one of the best parts of taking pics for Instagram.
Whether you’re travelling to bucket-list destinations or capturing detail shots for your feed, it makes the moment stand out and highlights its best features.
It brings out the warm colours in your fall look or tones down the blue in the sky, so the focus is on your props and pose.
If you choose to mess around with the light curves, then you may find your photo begins to feel a little vintage too.
Take time to download the best-preset packs for the season or work in the latest and greatest editing apps before declaring your pic is done. Pinky promise, you’ll discover an entirely new aspect of social media that’s creative to its core.
Best Time To Shoot
You might have the most incredible oversize jacket or yummiest breakfast smoothie, but without the proper lighting, your photo will be far less significant.
Whether you like playing with shades, backlight or direct sun, there is one type of light that rules above all others – the Golden Light.
It’s soft, warm, and will add more dimension to your scene – the best time to shoot is during the first hour of light after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset.
So get yourself out of bed a bit earlier, and give your followers all the more reason to double-tap your photos!
Whether in portrait or landscape mode, we recommend holding your phone as flat as possible.
You want to try matching the subject’s height, such as lying on the ground to snap a picture of your new favourite shoes!
Another way to quickly improve your photo skills is to turn on the camera’s gridlines; your viewfinder will be divided into nine even squares, based on the so-called “Rule of Thirds”.
Sounds too complex? Don’t worry; it’s much easier than you think.
The photography theory suggests that you’ll end up with more balanced and exciting pictures if you place the essential elements of an image along the lines or intersections. Why not give it a go!
But if you feel like your coffee still doesn’t look cool enough, get close to it! Nothing screams “my mum shot this” more than a grainy picture of something that’s half a mile away from the camera. So don’t zoom in using your phone, as it would just decrease the image quality!
Tips For Nailing Your Outfit And Working With A Photographer
It’s Okay To Be Nervous!
Don’t feel as though you have to pretend to be some Kate Moss; if it’s your first shoot, tell your photographer that!
It’s completely normal to feel like an absolute moron to start with, but the more you relax into it, the better the shots will look.
You are not lame for wanting great photos of yourself, whether they’re for your high-flying insta-career or just because it would be nice to have a profile picture where you don’t have toothpaste down your top for a change.
Ignore Everyone Around You
Honestly, people do not care. If they glance over, it’s probably only because you look ace! Especially in busy places, it’s become commonplace.
Nobody even really bats an eyelid, but even if you’re shooting somewhere a little more remote, remember that you’re probably never going to see those people again.
Choose Locations With A Narrative.
Make sure the central element of the picture doesn’t get lost due to a distracting background.
Unless you’re doing a feet selfie on a beautiful floor, it might be better to have a simple and basic backdrop that makes your subject stand out. Marble and wooden tables are a crowd favourite!
Build A Relationship With Your Photographer
It’s tough to work with someone you don’t click with from both a blogger/model and photographer perspective.
Especially if you intend to work together regularly, you’re going to spend a lot of time 1-1 so get to know each other! It makes shooting way more fun when you can chat through it and genuinely have a good time: it shows on your face too.
Want Those Breezy Walking Photos? Do The Rocking Horse!
Position your feet a natural width apart with one in front of the other and rock back and forth. It creates the illusion of walking, and the images look better than if you were!
Mind The Style
Give the scene a theme and try to keep harmony between colours. Pick a bag, complete with matching accessories here and there or add some flowers for a pop of colour – everyone will want to know where it’s from.
And don’t forget to watch the proportions! Balance out more oversized items with tiny ones or fill your frame with a repetitive pattern; creativity is always welcomed.
Explain To Your Photographer Exactly What You’re Using The Images For
For example, if they’re for Instagram, your photographer knows to make sure he/she shoots wide enough that you don’t have to choose between your feet or your forehead (the worst!), or can even shoot in a square if that’s what you prefer.
Plan Your Outfits Ahead
Some people turn up with a giant suitcase full of clothes and then start trying to decide what to wear whilst standing on the street. Honestly, it’s a waste of precious time.
Have each outfit planned in your head, and then try them all on the head to toe the night before. Pack them into a bag (usually a bag for life) in the rough backwards order you intend to wear them too!
Bad hair day? Just go for the taken-from-above shot.
Some see two legs and a watch; we see a cheeky way to show off your style. Very simple: stick your arm out, tilt the phone toward your body, and snap.
Know Why You’re Wearing That Outfit In That Location
“Because it’s pretty” is fair enough if that’s what floats your boat, but I love to have a theme or narrative in my head.
Match your outfits to the location to give the image a certain feel, like ‘Spring’ or “Hey, I want to look like I just effortlessly threw this together then went for a coffee because I’m that cool when it took me an hour and I asked the guy for “whichever drink comes with a French bulldog on it”, and I’m still not convinced I don’t look like I’ve left my nightie on “…
An alternate top tip juxtaposes your outfit with your location: dress to impress and then shoot in a filthy place like somewhere with lots of street art or a disused yard.
Gone are the old days of standing stock still, a slightly painful grin plastered on your face whilst you wait patiently for someone to stop fumbling with the shutter.
Do not stop moving throughout the whole shoot!
If you’re not using the rocking horse trick, then proceed. Wander about a bit, move your arms, dance about. Even if you feel like a dick, the photos will look so much more fluid and candid.
Workout Where You’re Going To Change
Everyone has different preferences. Some people will only change in loos, in which case make sure you know where the closest McDonald’s/pub/Starbucks is to your shoot locations (see, told you blogging was glam).
Others are happy to strip their kit off in the street, and a top tip on this is cycle shorts and a bra-let or vest so that you’re not, you know, committing indecent exposure.
If You’re A Bit Camera Shy, Wear Sunglasses.
Who cares if you’re doing a Chandler Bing squinty eye? Nobody can see it! They make an excellent anti-T Rex hands prop too.
Get Yourself Some Props To Avoid Awkward Hands.
You may never know what to do with your hands in photos. Without a prop, you’ll usually end up looking like an awkward T-Rex trying to hang out the laundry.
You can wear a handbag, a coffee cup or food. You can also make use of your clothing: put your hands in your pockets or hold your lapels!
Pay On Time
This should be a bloody obvious one but remember your photographer is not doing you a favour; they are working.
Either pay before or bring cash to the shoot; view it like going to the hairdresser.
Credit Your Photographer And Remember Who Owns The Images
Hint: it’s not you. You are paying for your photographers time and skill, not the content rights.
That also means that if you happen to be using a photographer to shoot a social media ad, the image is not yours to sell on to the brand without their express permission subsequently.
Don’t Ask For The Originals.
You’ve chosen to hire your photographer because you like his/her work. In booking her, you’re buying into his/her style: of shooting and editing.
Of course, it’s fair to expect edits to remain clean and relatively neutral.
Most photographers won’t mind you adding your own preset or style for the cohesion of your feed, but think of it this way: you wouldn’t book a photographer who works exclusively in black and white, then ask them for the colour originals.
And most importantly, HAVE FUN. You are paying for this experience, and it should be an enjoyable one all around. Your mood does shine through in the photos, so try and relax, find joy and have a genuinely good time. You don’t have to take yourself too seriously!