The Blogger’s Guide on Taking Your Own Instagram Pictures

I’m constantly bewildered by fashion bloggers’ ability to constantly post new content. Of course “pic creds” always seem to go to boyfriends, best friends, siblings, moms.  But I’m not gonna lie: the people in my life have a lot more to concern themselves with than my personal blog, and I prefer not distracting them from their daily tasks with my constant need to take pictures.

As a fashion blogger who’s just beginning to start and grow, I understand the importance of releasing a consistent stream of new content to Instagram. By releasing more content, you set yourself up with more opportunities for other users to find your account. However, not having people to take your pictures (or not wanting to ask people to take your pictures) can really slow down this release of new content, especially as a fashion blogger whose main content comes from outfit-of-the-days and other outfit pictures. One of the main reasons I put off starting a blog for so long was my fear that I would not be able to produce enough content.

However, I put on my big girl pants and told myself, “You are a strong independent woman and you don’t need NO ONE to take pictures for you!” And so I did it. Pretty successfully, if I say so myself. Though if you have any doubt on my level of success, below are some examples I took by myself. Judge as you please.

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So, yeah. Here I am now. Using the hour breaks between classes to scream “Cheese!” at my phone sitting five feet away in the middle of campus surrounded by classmates and bikers and professors getting mildly annoyed with me.  And if that sounds at all appealing to you, you should keep reading.

Equipment

I admit. The majority of my Instagram posts are shot on my phone. I’m not sure how the blogging community feels about this, but if it’s super basic, I will confidently and apologetically defend it until the day I die.

As a college student, I don’t really have the money to buy a nice camera nor the time to deal with memory cards and transferring pictures from camera to laptop and fancy editing software and all the other things related to using a camera. I do, however, have fifteen minutes before class to edit a picture on my phone I took earlier that morning.

I use a Samsung Galaxy S7 to take my pictures. The camera on this phone shoots extremely well in natural lighting, and the quality is definitely enough for quick Instagram posts.

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Set-Up

This is literally the best tip of this entire article, and you could literally ignore this rest of this post and you’d be set.

One of the main issues I found in taking my own pictures is figuring out how to stand my phone up.  I usually don’t have things with me to lean my phone on, and if I do, I find that my phone doesn’t always stay up. Leaning your phone also causes the picture to be taken looking at an upward angle, which you don’t always want. While I know some bloggers stand there phones in a shallow cup, it’s not always convenient to carry a cup around with you. Instead, I recommend you use a power block, which a lot of us carry with us anyway.

Standing your phone between the two prongs keeps your phone standing completely upright and vertical. Because it’s standing completely vertical, your phone’s center of balance is inline with the power block preventing it from losing balance and tipping. Having your phone vertical also allows your pictures perspective to be straight which I think looks professional and flattering on your body.

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Camera Settings

One of the most essential features for taking your own pictures is the basic camera timer. However, Android phones are built with features such as voice control and triple shot which make the process so incredibly easy. Unfortunately, iPhones are not built with these features, however I imagine there are apps that can provide similar features. (If you know of any, leave a comment so I can add them here!)

Timer

After opening Android’s basic camera app, you’ll see an icon of a gear in the top right corner, seen below. This button will allow you to access more settings.

Scroll down to the COMMON settings category. This is after the REAR CAMERA settings and FRONT CAMERA settings. The first setting is Timer. It should be set as “off” by default.

Set a timer setting. I typically use 2 secs or 5 secs depending on how I’m feeling that day. Make sure to turn on the “Take 3 shots” setting. This setting causes your camera to take three pictures after the timer runs. It gives you about three seconds between each picture. This is extremely helpful because it gives you time to change poses between shots, however it’s not too much time which causes me to feel stiff and look awkward. It also allows you to take more pictures in less time.

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Voice Control

Backing out of this page and scrolling to the bottom of the settings page will take you to the voice control setting.

Yo.

This setting is the best setting of life.  It will make you feel silly and ridiculous at first, but the convenience of not having to constantly walk up to your camera to restart the camera timer is a blessing that will make taking your own pictures so much easier. By saying “Cheese”, “Smile”, or “Capture” the camera will take a picture. And if you also have the above camera timer settings on, the voice triggers will start your timer before taking three consecutive shots. So all you have to do is stand in front of your camera, say “Cheese”, and pose three times. You can repeat these as much as you want without even having to approach your camera. Easy-peasy.

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Shutter Sound

I also have the “Shutter sound” turned on. This setting is a necessity for me because when the camera timer is on, it allows you to hear when the timer is running and when the three pictures are being taken. It takes the guess work out of having to know when to change poses. Highly recommend unless you like awkwardly not knowing when to stop posing.

Note: If you have this setting turned on, but you still can’t hear it, make sure your ringtone volume is on!

Location

Okay, I’m not gonna lie. The key to making this work is your location. Having an appropriate location is the only way this can work. Below is a quick checklist:

  1. Cute background
  2. Conveniently sized objects that you can put your phone on
  3. [OPTIONAL] Seclusion (if screaming “Cheese” at your phone in public gives you anxiety)

This checklist may seem short, however it’s actually pretty difficult to find locations that have all of these requirements, mainly the conveniently sized objects. By convenient, I mean something that’s higher than your waist. You’ll find that most things are too short, not large enough for your phone to stand on, or just not flat. Some things I found that worked are planters, trash cans, bookshelves, and bar stools. And no, I do not know what a tripod is.

I highly recommend that you take time to explore your area before shooting.  As a college student who has to constantly walk around campus, I make sure to keep my eyes out for future places to shoot, making sure to see if the area has a spot for me to prop my phone that’s about 5 feet from my desired background. Below are some locations I’ve shot at, along with the objects I set my camera on.

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When exploring your area, make sure to take test shots. While a location may not look nice, it might actually photograph beautifully, or vice versa.

Some extra notes on location:

  • Try to shoot on cloudy days. If not, find somewhere shaded. The lighting will be less harsh.
  • Do not shoot during high noon. It will cast too many harsh shadows.
  • Use natural light. I rarely shoot indoors, but if I do, it’s by a window.
  • Do not shoot anywhere too dark. Most camera phones shoot poorly in low lighting and will result in grainy pictures.
  • Walls are cool. You never have to edit people out.
  • Again, take test shots before going out for a shoot. It will save you from the trouble of finding out that the object you’re setting your phone on is too low or that the lighting is bad.

Concluding Remarks

I hope you found this tutorial remotely helpful and that it gave you some ideas on how to shoot your own Instagram posts if you ever have a need to. Again, this is something I do for my own convenience, but I strongly believe that you should shoot in whatever way that makes you feel the most comfortable, which I think is a huge part about taking pictures. If you don’t feel comfortable, your pictures will show it, so make sure to do what’s best for you. Again, I hope I was of some help in your journey as an Instagrammer, as a blogger, or as someone who just wants to make memories. Thank you so much for reading.

Love always,

Yana

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In the Nudes

Like the creepy dudes that DM you on Twitter, I appreciate nudes. Yep, I admit it. I’m that guy who slipped into your DMs last week. Feels good to admit.

But in all seriousness, I love the color nude. And by that, I mean every shade of nude. Because in this increasingly diverse world, the color nude is becoming less and less localized. It’s no longer the same “light beige”. It’s not one shade. And it seems that more companies are starting to get this.

Last year, Christian Louboutin expanded his shoe range, creating a line of heels that came in multiple shades of nude. This fall, Aerie release a nude line of lingerie that has five different skintone shades. Target created an expanded collection of nude lingerie and hosiery. Dancers have access to nude pointe shoes and leotards that have been diversified by Gaynor Minden and Mahogany Blues Dance apparel, respectively. Even bandages are being released in different shades of nudes.

This change was much needed and so appreciated by the world. It’s seemingly miniscule advances like these that I think can lead to real change on how we, as a nation, percieve and treat people of color, and I strongly believe that these changes can lead to more awareness, more acceptance, more respect, more love, and, ultimately, real equality. I’m honestly so excited to see more and more companies diversify their collections because fashion should never deny anyone. It should never restrict. Never exclude.

But one of my favorite things about nudes is that they look beautiful together. And by that, I mean every shade of nude. While I could have chosen to style this outfit limited by one color, one tone, and one shade, it’s much more beautiful to use varying shades and tones. And I think that says something about the world we should strive to live in.

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Sweater: Zara
Skirt: Forever 21
Cardigan: Shein
Shoes: Shein

Love always,

Yana

P.S. Stay tuned for a post on how I shoot and edit my own pictures!

A Collection of Angsty Poetry: Love and the Lack of (Completed)

Just a collection of poetry I’ve written from years back that I’m now curating together. This collection is specifically related to heartbreak and romance and will slowly develop. I’ll be adding a new poem to the top of this post every so often so continue to check in.

 

Sleep

Of every seven nights, I sleep for only three
Because I would rather think in the dark than lose it to dreams
I would rather use my nights for cognizance than reverie
So for three nights I keep myself awake
Because the cool and the dark and the quiet is the only state I can think
Mondays and Wednesdays
And another for thinking of you

a.t.


Stuck

I’ve been stuck
Rendered motionless between desire and fear
Too scared to make a move
But too passionate to not

a.t.

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What You Realize from Wearing A Dress that’s Too Short

There are three things I realized from wearing a dress that was too short. One. I should really learn how to do laundry properly. Two. The majority of people are too embarrassed about seeing your underwear that they probably won’t tell you that they can see your underwear– an interesting, yet easily observable self-hindering phenomenon deserving of more investigation. And three. Even worse than victim-blaming is the unfortunate tendency reinforced by decades of societal conditioning for victims to feel the need to blame themselves. But let me explain.

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When He’s Not Your “Type”

Everyone has a type, right? That specific kind of person that they constantly date over and over again? My roommate had dated three different guys, all of whom were reserved and quiet and wore glasses. My friend seemed to only be interested in blondes. And my cousin had a weird fixation on dentists. And me? I always found myself being drawn to loud, obnoxious chatty types.

Now I’m all for self-awareness. I think there is a lot of importance in understanding yourself and understanding what you want. It gives you direction, drive, and ambition. But let’s be real here: I didn’t really know what I want. As a person who had never been in a relationship, I really shouldn’t have restricted myself to a specific genre of people. And yet, that’s what I did.

When I met him, I couldn’t help but be attracted. We were introduced by some mutual friends, and my initial impression was one of hope. He was sweet, silly, and very attractive. But he was reserved. Quiet and conservative. He wasn’t nearly as upfront as the other guys I’ve been interested in. Didn’t have the same swag or demeanor. Didn’t share that obnoxious level of confidence. He just wasn’t my “type”. Nope. Not at all. And yet, I found myself wanting to see him more, happy in his presence.

This happiness, however, just didn’t seem justifiable to me. How could I be happy with this guy who was so different from what I was used to? I admittedly spent way too much time thinking about our relationship. I compared him to other guys and obsessed over our “lack of compatibility”. He was way too quiet. He wasn’t flirty enough. His sense of humor just wasn’t right. It came to the point where I harassed my friends for advice that I never took anyway, where I demanded reassurance from them before every date, where I would second guess the legitimacy of my own happiness, where I was contemplating breaking things off with a guy who made me happy. All because he wasn’t my “type”.

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