Beyond a personal passion for capturing memories and creating personal photobooks, my professional background is in brand and web design, so I’ve naturally explored photography and editing along the way that has lead me to pick up a lot of tips and tricks. These are perfect for beginners to help step up your game, whether you’re on an iPhone or a DSLR. For those interested, my DSLR camera is a few years old but absolutely does the trick and can be purchased here. I also use another small, mirrorless camera for times that I don’t want my bigger DSLR lense around, shop that here. Take my 16 tips to get started today!
1. Stage your Shot
While it may not appear this way, all of my photos are technically staged. I carefully style the composition by ridding any clutter – cords, papers, fluffing pillows, and anything that is not relevant to the subject. Additionally, often times it helps to reposition certain items to create a better composition. For example, you may want to move items closer or further away from each other or the frame. Lastly, take it one step further by removing outlets or imperfections in Photoshop or free mobile apps. Of course, never alter entire reality but depending on your use-case, it can make all the difference in a nice editorial shot.
2. Hit The Angles
Often times I will go into a shoot with an idea of the angle and end up posting a different one! It is so important to explore within your shoot by moving around as much as possible. While staying eye level or a little lower is a best practice, don’t be afraid to sit on top of furniture or pull back to capture it all. You can always choose to not use them vs. only walking away with 10 of the same shot!
3. Get the Close Up
For interiors, a shot that captures the entire space is always special. However, the close ups or vignettes are just as special! You can capture an entirely different mood and allow viewers to see all of the details with a simpler shot. Take it. step further by learning to blur your background to really focus on that close up item.
4. A Tripod is Your Best Friend
Sure, you can capture great photos without them, but the steady nature allows for you to have sharp, brighter photos. Since a majority of interior shots have a stationary subject, you should almost always be using one! Here is a super affordable option that I have had for a few years:
I usually frame a shot with my camera in hand to explore angles and composition, then throw up my tripod to capture it! Much easier than it being in the way as you figure out your shot.
5. Always, always, always use natural light
Never turn on a light! They create bad shadows and orange, blurry casts of color in the space. The best lighting situation is on an overcast day. There are no extremes or color cast. This isn’t always an option as we can’t control the weather. However, shooting earlier in the day is your best bet to avoid the sun coming down and projecting yellow into a space.
6. Determine Composition
I’ve mentioned composition a few times now and the following best practices can be very helpful in determining what is best for your shot!
The Rule of Thirds
Separate the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. The intersecting points are the points of interest. If you are shooting portraiture, you would be placing the eyes along one of the points of intersection, preferably the top ones.
If you’re shooting interiors, you would separate a shelf with the thirds, and place the point of interest (furniture piece) at one of the points of interest.
The other option is a symmetrical shot which can be a little harder to achieve. You’ll want to place your subject in the center and be straight on to guide the eye. You can use the rule of thirds guidelines to align the image properly and symmetrically, so both are helpful to explore!
Be sure to keep important parts of your subject in the frame. You can always crop later, but barely cutting off an edge of a piece of furniture doesn’t always look intentional. While I am giving a ton of “rules” just have fun with it as that is how you really learn the best way to frame!
Hot tip: If you’re on your iPhone, it also can provide a grid overlay to make it easier for you to frame your shot!
7. Shoot in Portrait Format for Social
If you are looking to share your photos to social, or shoot specifically for it, there is data around portrait (vertical) images performing better as they fit your phone proportionally. So, be sure to capture a good mix or wide angle shots that you can later crop to really show off your space!
1. Utilize Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom is one of the top editing tools and is perfect for no matter what you are looking to accomplish. From slightly brightening, to fully editing to create a consistent aesthetic, I highly recommend it! The desktop version is $10/mo including Photoshop, or you can utilize most of the mobile app features for free! Lightroom Classic is a bit more advanced and better suited for professionals, so I will be sticking to sharing tips in Lightroom.
2. Correct White Balance
What does this mean? There are always different colors casted from light that change the appearance of the tempature in your photos. So, this is the process of removing unrealistic color casts, so that objects which appear white in person are rendered white in your photo. Proper camera white balance has to take into account the “color temperature” of a light source, which refers to the relative warmth or coolness of white light.
You can do this with your camera while shooting, but it can get complicated. I prefer to do this in post production in Lightroom by using two sliders:
Temperature determines how warm or cold your image looks (yellow or blue), and tint adds green or magenta (a pinkish tone). By combining these, you’ll be able to get a natural look for your images.
3. Adjust Highlights & Shadows
Easily make a photo brighter, or darker, by adjustings your highlights and shadows. In this image, the windows were actually very blown out due to a sunny day, so you’ll see that I actually decreased the highlights, but also needed to brighten some areas by upping the shadows.
4. Adjust Vibrance & Saturation
Depending on your aesthetic, personal preference, subject, and setting, you will need to adjust how much your colors pop in a photo. For example, if you have a sunset landscape shot, you may want to boost the colors to really show the deep oranges. Whereas a portrait of someone, or a neutral interiors shot, you might only need a very subtle boost.
Simply move the sliders along until you get the desired effect. Just be careful not to overdo it as too much saturation will make the image look fake and grainy.
5. Edit a Single Color
This is a game changer! You are able to adjust a single color and its hue, saturation and luminance. For example, my main level floors are very orange and can overpower a photo. My overall aesthetic is very neutral, so I want to be able to tone it down from time to time. This is also a great tool if you are utilizing presets, as you can adjust on a case by case basis!
6. Tweak Clarity & Sharpness
Some images have that soft and creamy feel due to different camera settings. However, you can accomplish that look by adjusting your clarity and sharpening sliders. Depending on your lighting situation, you may want more or less of this to determine how crisp or focused it is.
7. Straighten & Crop
Straightening your photo is a must with every photo you take! It makes all the difference in any image that has a vertical or horizontal line. You should correct any image so things are not leaning a certain direction, and Lightroom has plenty of guides or even the Auto option to correct.
8. Lense Correction
This is another simple click of a button that will enhance your images. If you navigate to Optics, there is an option to Enable Lens Corrections by simply selecting the make and model of your camera. It will correct distortions and proportions that naturally occur.
9. Opt for Presets
You may have heard this term used very frequently over the past few years. Similar to what you may know of as “filters” on Instagram or Facebook, presets preserve the quality of images by making adjustments within the photo rather than overlaid. Presets are LIFE CHANGING as they save you so much time. I began to create my own for each room in the house to be able to click a button and upload my photo!
This brought me to creating my own presets! Each preset has been hand-tweaked by me to address color balance, saturation, light, shadows, sharpness, and more. Lightroom, is an application from the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, commonly used by professionals to edit photos. Their mobile app has a free version that allows for anyone to make their images shot on any camera beautiful!
I made 11 presets available for purchase to capture the perfect natural, light and airy look and feel at an affordable price! Shop and learn all about them below.
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