Welcome to the third installment of The Mom Blog Collective: Tips for Better Photography & a Cohesive Instagram Feed.
If you’re new here, here’s the scoop. Every other week, a group of amazing and inspiring mamas will answer the same set of questions to do with blogging, Instagram, photography, collaborations, sponsored posts, balancing it all with motherhood, and more. This week they invited me to join in!
We each have different perspectives and different opinions, so this is a fun way to learn from one another. We hope you’ll join along! Check out the hashtag #themomblogcollective to see everyone on Instagram, and I will also link you to all of the amazing blog posts here at the bottom of my post!
Lex has started asking why we take so many pictures. I mean, I can’t exactly blame her- my girls are no strangers to having a camera shoved in their face. But my answer is simple – I want to remember them exactly how they are. I want to remember their personalities, and I really want them to look back at their outfits and wonder what the f I was thinking.
I get a lot of questions about photography. I want to start by saying I’m no expert- but it is something I enjoy a lot, and I’m passionate about everyone having a camera roll (or instagram feed) full of pictures they can be proud of. So here are my deepest and darkest secrets to getting good pictures.
Let’s talk equipment. I have three cameras. iPhone 7+, a fujifilm x100f, and a canon 5d Mark ii. All three have their place, and I truly think you can take amazing photos on just about anything. My phone is the most handy, its always with me, and i can usually count on it. My Fuji is small enough to toss in a bag- but powerful enough when i was something more than my phone. And my canon (with a 35mm 1.4 lens) is a beast that’s best for times when all we’re doing in taking photos.
I think the trick is to prepare the best you can and just roll with it. If we’re going someplace (like to disneyland) i’ll just use my fuji or my iPhone. If we go on an adventure with the sole purpose of getting photos i’ll bring my Canon (like getting our christmas tree!). If I know lighting will be tricky- I’ll pull out all the stops and definitely use my Canon because it has the best low-light capabilities (Christmas morning is the perfect example).
Always shoot on manual. Know your camera inside and out. Be able to manipulate it to best suit your style. There are so many cameras out there (like the fuji!) that will show you exactly how you photo will turn out (technology rocks!).
(taken with my fuji)
I edit in two places. My phone and in photoshop.
There are a few apps I’m extremely loyal to.
- FACETUNE– this is the one all the kids are using. ever wonder how some people have the smoothest skin you’ve ever seen and then BAM in person (or in their instagram stories) you’re horrified to find the truth? Yeah, its alllll the “smooth” feature in facetune. BUT i’m straight up obsessed with “lighter” filter to brighten any photo. Its the hands down BEST lightening tool in all the land.
- PICTAPGO– I have a special place in my heart for this app because i also use totally rad actions in photoshop- so i can edit my photos using the same filters on my phone OR computer. and i really do love having cohesive photos.
- RETOUCH– this app is so damn handy for taking distracting things out of pictures. like pipes, or other beach go-ers in the ocean.
- LIGHTROOM– I just can’t quit this app. it has some of the features i LOVE in photoshop (like curves) but on my phone in much much much simpler form.
Here’s the part where i’m supposed to talk about when to post photos and which ones do the best. But let me tell you. Who the hell knows. I honestly can’t decipher what the masses want and when they want it. My engagement is all over the place, and i truly think there are too many other factors at play to know what and when something will do well (but its almost guaranteed that posting on the weekend will NOT get you likes- but posting a photo of yourself bald will).
Instead i want to tell you this about your feed & being successful. DO YOU. That’s it. It’s that easy! Know your style & audience and roll with it. People can tell when you’re being fake, when your captions don’t match your photo, or when you’re trying too hard. Its like how guys can smell a desperate girl. The media masses can smell desperation from a mile away and just won’t engage if you’re fake. Draw inspiration from feeds and people you admire- but put your own spin on it. Be confident enough in yourself to think for yourself and outside the box. I promise your followers will thank you!
Find your style and run with it. Do you love pictures where your kids are looking at the camera smiling? Do you love blurry backgrounds? Do you love color? Candids? Dark and moody? Find what YOU love and do it! When we’re out on an adventure i look for spots to take pictures of my girls. I know i love color (and white walls), and typically don’t do well with busy backgrounds. I know what lighting works (direct sunlight is always a recipe for failure). I try to get a most posed photos “out of the way” first before everyone is tired and moody and the kids will cooperate. Does it always work? nope! Do i sometimes get frustrated with k because she REFUSES to take direction? You betcha! But heres my secret with getting the girls to participate. . . lex LOVES the camera. She takes direction wonderfully and i direct her– “whisper something in k’s ear! try to put the hat on her!” Getting the girls to interact with each other is key to me! it keeps k entertained enough to not realize what she’s doing and run straight for me, and makes the photos more candid. oh, and bribes work if all else fails. I’ve found that getting angry and stomping my feet when they don’t participate doesn’t ever go over well. So learn when to give up.
And that’s it! I truly think it comes down to just knowing your style and getting down with your bad self!
Here are this weeks contributors: