5 tips for crafting influencer-quality Instagram photos | Social Media
With the proliferation of smartphones, everyone becomes a photographer. The problem is, most of us don't have the skills to take advantage of the advanced cameras that we carry around in our pockets.
To help break it all down for us, we teamed up with Instagram influencer @jn who gave us some tips for making the most of the environments around us, and specifically how to use natural light to create stunning photographs. We equipped him with the Honor Play, which comes with AI-enabled, dual cameras that boost the editing time for photos — so you can snap away all day without wasting time.
1. Use the morning light
Photographers always pay a lot of attention to light. A studio photographer arranges the lighting until it falls perfectly on the model. What “perfect” means, depends on the message you want to convey with the photo.
There is no such thing as perfect light, every light creates a certain atmosphere.
There is no such thing as perfect light, every light creates a certain atmosphere. I love to work with the moods and colours that the morning light creates. In big cities, a lot of dust is raised throughout the day, so the morning light is much clearer than the evening light.
Architectural photographers in particular benefit from morning light because structures and intricate details stand out clearly. Taking pictures in the morning also has another advantage: there aren't many people out on the streets so you can concentrate on the objects without distraction.
2. Create depth
With light you create a certain mood, but with image composition you can lead the eye of the observer where you want it to go. On photos with one point perspective, all the lines converge at a single point – a vanishing point – on the horizon. The lines seem to stretch into infinity. One point perspective gives pictures depth and creates room. I used this effect in the photo above (shot at museum Island in Berlin) and in the below photo (shot in Berlin's West City) the effect is enhanced by minimizing the windows in perspective. While the windows on the trains seem to be the biggest, the upper windows are not recognizable as such.
To try one point perspective, I recommend activating the grid function in the camera settings on your smartphone. The grid not only helps you to ensure that you keep the camera fairly level, it also allows you to estimate how the content in the photo is laid out.
3. Play with perspective
The one point perspective can quickly become tedious and overdone, so you should always be trying out other perspectives. For example, look upwards in a vertical direction at a house front like I did with the high-rise building. Or, hold the camera lens very close to the surface of the street and take pictures from a worm's-eye view.
I took the above photo at the Neues Museum by holding the Honor Play overhead to photograph the street with the cobblestones. I wanted a mixture of textures, in this instance, the light shining through the open façade created a pattern on the cobblestones. I also wanted to capture the interplay of something old and new: the old cobblestones and the new, unfinished James Simon Gallery designed by architect David Chipperfield. Lastly, to showcase how big or small a building is, you can incorporate a person into your photograph for context.
4. Make an impact with reflections
When you start to search for mirrors and glass surfaces you will see things twice — but differently. Even puddles are ideal for presenting something well-known in a new, unfamiliar, and interesting way.
The Fernsehturm (TV Tower) is one of Berlin's most iconic, and most photographed, spots around the city. In a puddle or a glass façade you can see the TV Tower twice –- the reflection creates an alienation effect. You can also take photos of pedestrians in shop windows to create a similar effect.
5. Use the technical capabilities of your smartphone to their fullest
As a photographer I want full control of the camera while shooting. Honor Play's pro mode offered me a lot of options to adjust the settings. You can, for example, correct the lighting or adjust the focus manually — which is especially helpful and shows great results when you shoot a close-up. It's also especially helpful in a difficult light situation, for example, when the shadows are really harsh or when there are high contrasts it is better to manually adjust the exposure. Just try it out!
The Honor Play can also store pictures as RAW files. I highly recommend doing this, when possible, because so much more information is stored than in the JPG format. With RAW files, the post-editing is easier. For example, in the above photo I brightened the roof a little bit to make the light-coloured wood more visible.