Every time I go on vacation people always ask what I’m using to take my pictures. Let’s get one thing clear, I’m a lazy bitch that hates packing. I refuse, and I repeat, REFUSE, to pack a single extra item if it’s not 100000% necessary. You can only imagine how this mindset truly fucks me when I travel with my baby, who requires a mini version of her nursery anywhere we go…yeah. Anyway, the point is I don’t pack my “nice” camera when I go on vacation. In fact I don’t use my “nice” camera for anything except YouTube videos. Reason being my Sony 5100 is just easier to film with since the screen flips and it sits nicely on my tripod. My trusty iPhone has been my go-to since it’s camera became just as good (in my humble opinion) as a regular camera AND people prefer a less edited, in-the-moment photo anyway. Also, since I edit my photos on my phone (editing apps I use: VSCO, Snapseed, Retouch, Facetune) it’s just one less step since the pictures are already on my phone. My system / process works really well for me. I totally appreciate the effort behind a perfectly edited photos taken on a professional camera, but it’s just not for me or my audience. We both prefer real life as it happens.
The original reason I wanted to write this post is because every time a stranger attempts to take a photo for us (Paul & I) on vacation we basically know it’s going to be trash. It’s actually quite funny because when people see Paul taking my pic they will stop and say, “would you like me to take your photo together?” and on auto-pilot we both say “no thank you!” lol. It’s not because we don’t want a picture together, it’s just that we know…it won’t be the best. I would love to have more pictures of us together so I really really really hope this post is helpful to all those nice strangers out there that offer to take our picture!
Before I dive into tips for taking a killer iPhone shot (or at least a post-worthy one) I did want to touch on the editing process since this is also a very popular question. I did a tutorial here a while back. I have not updated it or filmed a new one because the process remains the same. Obviously what’s IN the photo will affect the way your photo looks even if you follow my editing process. Reason being, not every person looks good in J5 (my filter of choice on VSCO). I’ve realized, after friends have asked me to edit their photos like mine, that J5 is not particularly flattering on blondes or fair skin. It washes them out and gives their skin a green-ish tint. No thanks, obviously. It doesn’t look great on the color red, either. If you notice my feed you’ll see a few things that are pretty consistent: I don’t post red, my skin is tan, my hair is dark, my backgrounds are cohesive in color, lots of white and black. This works for my edit, feed, vibe, and most importantly it happens naturally. Yes, I avoid red but that’s easy. The rest is just part of my everyday surroundings. I’m not living a fake black, white, and wood life. That actually IS my life [house].
I just really wanted to emphasize that because I get so many questions about how to create a cohesive aesthetic on IG and I just think that’s crazy. How can anyone maintain an all-blue feed? How are you only going to wear one color? How are all your photos always going to look like an editorial magazine shot? I mean, more power to you if you can and you do. But you’re asking the wrong person.
Okay, let’s get into my tips.
Tips For Taking A Good iPhone Picture
-Make sure the lens is clean and smudge free. Without even thinking I wipe my lens before handing the phone to anyone.
-Frame your shot before even asking. Have someone stand in for you, frame the shot, and hand the camera EXACTLY where you want it taken.
-The way I frame my pictures: me in the middle, usually knee-up, & fill me in the frame. I don’t want tons of background and me looking like an ant in the picture.
-Eye level is my jam. I like pictures taken from a eye level or lower angle. You will look taller, skinnier, etc.
-Tap the screen to focus. Make sure what you want in focus is not blurry by tapping the screen in the surrounding areas. This will also adjust lighting slightly so play around with tapping different parts of the screen and take pics all the while.
-Lighting is EVERYTHING. If your light is shit forget it. Sun directly above your head is a hard no. Your nose will look deformed, you’ll have gnarly under eye shadows, and overall just super unflattering on the skin. Ideal lighting is either directly in your face at an angle (usually either early morning or late afternoon = golden / magic hour). If those time frames don’t work for you find some well-lit shade. Shade is the easier “lighting” to take a picture in.
-Light behind you is also a no. Unless you’re using a profesh camera and then doing lots of editing after, lighting behind you will just wash everything out. Ie: don’t stand with your back to a window, but rather FACE the window and let that light you up.
-Take 4852984759738 pictures. You’re bound to have something with that many options. Honestly, I find it rude when someone literally takes 1 or 2 pictures. Umm how the fuck am I supposed to nail the shot in TWO takes?! Give me like rapid-fire clicking for at least 10 seconds, please.
-Stick to regular ole CAMERA mode. Forget Portrait or any of those fancy things. When I see people messing with my setting and swiping left to find Portrait I put a stop to it right away. Noooooooooo thank you!
Here is shockingly good iPhone photo taken by a waiter on our vacation (thx Lenny!).