Instagram, the social media platform that is currently dominating. I am a strong believer in using social media to spread positivity as much as I can and instagram is no exception, recently I embarked on a new journey to enter the world of a midsize fashion blogger. My content is also heavily influenced by being a student (a bit poor) having an invisible illness and being based in London. These things combined meant that I wanted to reflect some of my personality in my photos as well as the personality of the city I love so much; London.
Although I think the images are beautiful and really work for the bloggers that use them, I sort of wanted to avoid the classic white houses/buildings in the background of editorial like photos. Absolutely no shade thrown, my feed is full of these images because I think they're brilliant but I wanted to take pictures in different places, places that might be ignored by others. Not only does this communicate the London city streets much better but it also makes for cool challenges and to be honest... these spots are much quieter so its easier to get ya pose on!
So what're my tips for discovering these places and shooting there? Here you are...
1. You cant be shy about it
Me and my friend Esther are often the ones that go on photo missions. I teach her how to compose a shot, get a decent photo on an iPhone and general ~ photography ~ things and she teaches me how to pose, because oh my goodness I’m so awkward 😂 Once I get into the flow of things I’m usually pretty ok! But it takes me a couple of tester shots, I’m usually too concerned with the shot itself that I forget that I’M the thing that’s supposed to make it interesting! Especially if you’re shooting somewhere like London, realistically, you’re not going to see these people again. So if you’re strutting you’re stuff and getting the shot then someone comes round the corner, don’t worry! They’ll either know what you’re doing and not care or not know and be intrigued. I haven’t encountered any judgement thus far.
2. Remember the photo only takes up one part of a location!
When you begin to look for spots to shoot in, it can be tempting to find a whole street that looks stunning and get caught up in your surroundings. But the most important thing to remember is that your phone / camera is only going to capture a small square of a particular location. You don’t NEED a gorgeous street (but it’s you find one use it) you need a pretty square. I’ve shot in weird backstreets, alleyways and boring roads, all you need is a square!
3. Backgrounds that compliment, match or contrast particular outfits are super cool
Have you ever seen a post and thought “wow, did they plan their outfit or the location first? It’s so good!” If you’re walking around with a yellow bag and you spot some yellow flowers get that shot! Having something in the photo that tangibly matches or contrasts your outfit can take a simple iPhone photo to the next level. For example, wearing a black outfit with a white background, wearing a colourful outfit with neutral background, wearing smarter/chic outfit in urban environments or doing the opposite.
4. Dont be afraid to shoot somewhere that seems a bit odd
Sometimes it can feel awkward to snap a pic where you get odd looks because the people in the area aren’t used to people taking photos... all that means is you’ve found a spot that isn’t overused! Me and Esther took some great photos on a side street to a main road... be safe of course but remember the first tip! Don’t overthink the locations too much, if it works it works, simple!
5. Sometimes, just putting on the outfit and going for a walk with your camera produces the inspiration on its own
If you cant already tell, my approach to Instagram is incredibly relaxed, that’s what works for my schedule. I will applaud and congratulate those that shoot a couple times a week in a bunch of different outfits but from afar! Most of the time if I want to shoot it’s because I’ve already nailed the outfit and I have some time and energy to go for a walk. Sometimes we‘ll have a specific location in mind, other times we just pick a direction and walk til we‘re satisfied!
6. Layer up so you can get more out of one outfit
This is a tip I’ve learnt through scrolling! If you’re wearing a jacket and you’ve got all the shots you need in the jacket, throw it over your shoulder, throw it to the side, it will not only produce more options for photos as far as the outfit is concerned but it also changes up the photo so much that you can get loads more out of a location by taking off the jacket or scarf and moving slightly To the left or right!
7. Always look behind you, sometimes the perfect shot is just behind your shoulder!
This is especially good if you’ve found one of those jackpot locations where the whole street is pretty. Don’t just limit yourself to one background, whilst you’re taking of your jacket stand on the opposite side of the street and see if that works too, more often then not there’s a solid 3 different shots within a very small walking distance of each other!
8. Wheres the light!!?
ANY good photographer will tell you that lighting MAKES or breaks the photo. This is entirely dependent on the day and your circumstances but keep an eye for the light, wheres it hitting, is it Interesting, can you incorporate it?
9. Move around!
Similar to checking your surroundings make sure you move around! One of the best ways to make a photo more interesting is to incorporate movement, that’s why cool ~ blogger ~ photos look like theyre walking or swinging a bag around etc, not only that but jump about, make the location a part of the shot. lean or swing on the lamppost, sit on the steps, touch the gate. The more sense it makes the cooler it looks
10. Hold down the shutter
Especially if you’re shooting on an iPhone, holding that shutter button as your model / you moves means that not only will you capture each pose but the bits in between, sometimes its just funny but other times you get a really nice shot of your hair moving in a way you couldn’t have made it to because you spammed the heck out of your shutter! If you’re shooting on a camera have your photographer line up the shot, tell them what you want in the photo - make sure they can focus as you move around if you’re on manual - and again, spam it. The shots are always more interesting and you have more to choose from!
So those are my top 10 tips for Instagraming in London, now go and snap away til your hearts content.