Images on Instagram generally tend to fall into three categories. Food & Drink, travel & lifestyle, and then everything else. Even when just photographing friends for an Instagram post, the lifestyle kind of images tend to perform well. But creating a pleasing lifestyle image isn’t really as straightforward as just pointing your phone at your subject and grabbing a quick snap.
Charles and Luke at Wandergasm, though, are here to help. In this video, they offer up four tips to help get better lifestyle shots on the street. The tips don’t just apply to Instagram, though. The suggestions can be applied to just about any portrait session.
Don’t shoot straight on
This is a common suggestion for almost all kinds of photography containing people. There are definitely exceptions, but often it’s not the most flattering angle. Subjects are at their widest when facing front and centre towards the camera. It can also make facial features appear flat. Especially if you’re shooting on an overcast day with very soft light.
Photograph your subject from different angles. Get above them, below them, to the side of them. Anything but straight on. This gives more shape and definition to your subject, and helps to take some of the rigidity out of their appearance.
Find good light
If you’re not working with flash, which you’re usually not if you’re shooting for Instagram, finding good light is key. Even if you’re shooting with a mirrorless or DSLR and not your phone, you’re usually not toting a bunch of flash gear around with you when hanging with friends.
Again, this advice is common to all types of portrait sessions. If you’re working with natural light, you have to find good light. If you’re working with flash, you have to make it yourself. Either way, you want it to flatter your subject.
Become a master of silly walks
We’re not talking John Cleese level, here, but what might look a little strange in real life can often look great to the camera. We do this often with regular portrait subjects, too. We have them contort into awkward poses while trying to give a semblance of comfort all for a good photo. It’s really not that much different here.
They suggest walking with one foot being placed directly in front of the other. It might look and feel awkward, but to the camera it can help to define shape and dynamism to the shot. You’ll also often want them to do it fairly slowly if it’s a bit dim and overcast. Otherwise, their legs can just become a blur.
Multiple outfit changes
This isn’t always practical, especially if you’re just out with friends and decide to grab a few shots for Instagram. If it’s an actual photo shoot then it’s a bit easier. But, even something as simple as taking their jacket off, or putting one on, can make a big difference to how the final photos look.
Sometimes just swapping out one jacket for another can help to make your subject stand out better from their surroundings.
As mentioned, the tips can apply or be adapted to many other types of shoot, too. And whether you’re shooting with your phone or a “real camera”, the same rules tend to apply.
You can check out some of Wandergasm’s images on their Instagram feed.