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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Basic "props" that instantly elevate your photos

As a blogger and Instagrammer, curating stunning images is necessary. Whether it's for a personal post on your 'gram, or if it's for a sponsored product review, Insta-worthy images are powerful tools that will captivate your following. 
And, as a blogger, you never know when you'll stumble upon moments that just need to be captured. For example, you order a coffee with nice latte art, decide to take a picture, but then it comes out not so good. This is why you should always be ready with things that can instantly elevate your photos.
In all of my photos, even the ones solely for my feed, I make sure that they're always interesting. My goal is to make followers actually look at the details, not just double tap and then move on. My motto is always, "The more elements, the better." 
Whether I'm taking photos of my coffee or simply posing for a portrait, details are always key. Here are 4 things bloggers should always carry around to instantly up your photo game, wherever you are.

#1 Sunglasses

These work two ways: one, as flatlay props; and two, as accessories for portraits/selfies. Let's say you want to take flatlay of your coffee (as you do). You place it on the wooden table. Take a photo from above, and it's... boring. Basic. Just like any other stock photo.
The trick? Surround it with props that would make sense in a cafe setting. Sunglasses are my go-to prop for flatlays when I'm out and about because they just make photos look so sophisticated, giving them that 'lifestyle gram' vibe. I love sunglasses because they work without any other props, yet you could always add more props like newspapers if they're available. 
Now, your photo isn't just saying, "Here's my coffee," but instead, "Here's my afternoon coffee during my little errand break." You're showing them a lifestyle, not just an object.

#2 Rings

Rings are perfect for photos of your hand. Whether you're holding up a cup of bubble tea or showing off your manicure, pretty rings will make your photo pop. Not only are you adding new textures and elements to the photo, you're also reflecting your personal style without it having to be an #OOTD.
I like wearing multiple rings of different styles, such as ones with fake gems, matte ones and then shiny ones. Don't go overboard, though!

#3 Fun and funky earrings

For some time, I wondered how fashion bloggers seemed to always look so put together even if they were wearing pretty basic clothes and doing normal things like sitting at a restaurant. Then, I noticed something: they were all wearing big, funky earrings. As soon as I started doing that, I noticed that my portraits and selfies looked a thousand times better. 
Whenever I go out, I always bring big, dangling earrings that go with my outfit. I switch them up to match my #OOTD so that I'm not wearing the same earrings in all of my photos. ;) 
Shhh, here's a secret: I get most of my earrings from the Kultura section of SM Supermalls. They're really cheap and colorful! 

#4 Magazines or lifestyle books

Magazines with nice covers and prints are lifesavers. One of my pet peeves is placing things on flat surfaces; my preference is to elevate things either with textures like fur, or literally elevate them with other objects like books or boxes.
You can't carry around boxes all the time, so the best substitute: magazines. I use them as the base of my subject or as a "space filler." By that I mean something to fill an empty space in frame, such as empty spaces on tables. Magazines are especially helpful when the table is laminated and has that annoying glare. 
Most photographers use books like Kinfolk, but they're hella expensive, which is why I get mine from Booksale. Some of them cost as low as 15 pesos!

Start elevating your photos!

All of the items I listed above can be dumped inside your everyday bag, so you won't have to worry about being made fun of for bringing props. Even I bring faux fur sometimes (cafe owners have gotten used to it) because it's one of my favorite textures. 

As with anything, it'll take practice to get used to arranging the elements in your shot. If you use a phone camera, I suggest going for the flatlay taken directly from above. Bloggers with cameras and lenses such as the 50mm and 35mm can make the most out of props because they can easily tweak the aperture to bring the subject into focus, but really, phone or DSLR, it doesn't really matter. As long as you find good lighting and edit it nicely, you'll still have a pretty decent photo.

Want more photography or blogging tips?

I'm always down to share what I've learned. Hit me up at @gailblogs on Instagram and I'll be happy to answer your questions!

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