By Valerie Perez
New pictures with perfectly posed people living their “best lives” constantly pop up on your social media. The lighting, the angles, the details, everything seems impeccable about their color-coordinated feed. It may seem as though achieving these desirable photos is impossible, but with these simple steps, the road to improving your photo game is clearer than ever.
Grab a friend
When it comes to taking candid or posed pictures, having a friend play as your personal photographer is always helpful. Grab your sister, best friend or next-door neighbor and start posing. It will seem as though a professional took the photos, but in reality, your sister just read a couple of online tips.
With a bit of creativity in mind, an eye-catching background can be made. The first step is to think of a setting: an arcade, a backyard, an extravagant staircase, you name it. The background sets the vibe of the picture with colors and the overall mood of the area. Remember, you have control of the background. If it seems too plain, add props and fill it up. Bare areas or brick walls don’t add life to a picture, so go to a brighter area with objects that stand out.
“When taking a picture with the background, I follow the Law of Thirds, so you want each third of the frame filled,” senior Sam Proga said.
Lighting varies depending on the location. When inside, stand in front of a window so direct light illuminates the subject for portrait pictures. You have the ability to play with the different tones lights give off. Lamps generally give off warmer, orange tones, whereas flashlights give off lighter, blue tones. Depending on the color selected, this can make or break the theme of your pictures. If outside, use natural light to your benefit because it can create the best pictures. When taking pictures in bright light, angle the camera lower in order to brighten the subject from behind.
“I always want good lighting because it makes my pictures brighter and more vibrant,” freshman Paige Foster said. “The sun brings out all of my features and makes me feel more confident.”
For a more “golden” look, snap a pic when the sun is setting. This is famously known as “golden hour.” Here the sun gives a warmer tone, softens the direct light and adds shadow. Most people use this time to their advantage, as this makes their skin glow and captures eye details. Another use of this magical hour is the shadow effects. When standing in front of a subject as the light shines behind them, a shadow will appear. This accentuates the silhouette of the subject and also darkens the photo.
Practice makes perfect. Before taking pictures, pose in front of a mirror to see which angles flatter you the most and make you comfortable. If you know this beforehand, you’ll save time and be more confident in the photos taken. Perception is also an important aspect when wanting to appear in a certain way. For example, if a picture is taken at a higher angle the subject will look smaller and shorter. If taken at a lower angle, the subject has the illusion of looking taller.
“Before I take pictures, I always make sure to find my better side with angles that will complement them,” freshman Bianca Ora said. “Then I figure out which aesthetic I’m going for that will contrast with my outfit. If I’m wearing a plain outfit, I go for a brighter background with contrasting colors and vise versa.”
We live in a generation where we have unlimited access to photo editing apps. VSCO, Instagram, FaceTune and Snapchat are some of the most popular options. VSCO has millions of pre-made filters for free, along with options to change the lighting, saturation, vignette, grain, skin tone and much more. Instagram also has many filters with interchangeable aspects similar to VSCO. Snapchat, known for their filters, has many effects that can be added to photos. Out of all of the apps, Facetune is where people can get the most creative with their photos. In this app, users can retouch, reshape and show off their editing skills.
“I like to take pictures because it helps me capture memories throughout high school,” sophomore Alessandra Rodriguez said. “I like playing around with the filters and lighting because it helps enhance the photo and make it pop when someone goes through their feed.”
As summer approaches, optimum photo skills are a necessity. Whether you dream of being an influencer or simply want to take better pics for your friends and family, these tips can change your Instagram and photo game for the better.