Photo Styling: Way Different Than Photo Editing
There's a science and an art when it comes to planning your photo content. And I mean like, an actual formula.
Some people would call me a control-freak, some think I'm high-strung, and others could think I'm a genius - who effing knows. But I am completely, 100% Type-A when it comes to my photo styling. So particular, that I actually created a grid-formula for my Instagram photos. I've also been blacklisted by my friends when it comes to photo-ops because I'm "that girl" who will ask you to take a photo of me, but have 500 tips of advice on where to stand, how to angle the phone, what should be clearly visible in the background, etc. etc., before you even get to take the photo, of me.
I think methodically, and like a creative director rather than an eager micro-influencer, about my photo content. I do so in a way where I really have to extract my personality and creative ability from the loud noise of comparison and the over-saturated feeds of pastels, Starbucks snaps and cutesy poses. Because quite honestly, it's basic and over done. And I yearn for something more expressive, that's more me.
Fast-forward to the photo planning. A disclaimer to "planning" my photos is that I am in no way organized, like at all. I'm a notorious procrastinator who dresses to my mood, and I consistently have clothing clutter on a chair or my bed.
I must be a nightmare to live with.
But I think staying true yourself, loving your habits and just doing the damn thing lends character to the photos. I work with my bad habits, not against them.
My official, unofficial photoshoot prep:
1-2 days prior...
I'm mindful of my salt intake (makes you bloat in photos) and I drink lots and LOTS of water. I also make sure I'm not touching my face, or picking at blemishes (a guilty pleasure of mine). TMI.
I do a sheet mask treatment and prep my hair. I think it always looks best when it's slept on, and not too-done in the morning. But that's my personal preference.
I think of the poses and shots I need for my grid, and what I might want shot for filler-content and my blog's posts. I'll gather an idea of what I want the vibe to be, what I want to write about, and gear my looks towards that. Once I have a mood, I look to my handy-dandy Instagram Grid Formula for the types of shots/angles I'll want photographed.
I prep my skin, do a de-puffing eye mask, and dry shampoo my hair to give it lift. I plan my looks in the morning before the shoot or I give my photographer an idea of the looks I'm going for so we can pick a location beforehand.
I always, alwayssss refer back to screenshots of #INSPO pics from my phone for posing. Now, with the pinning capability on Instagram, I created a Collection on my phone "Photoshoot Inspo: Pose and Styling" so I can refer to this instead of having 4,000 screenshots in my camera roll. #Blessed.
I'm very specific when I add and pull from this pinned section on my Instagram. I save only truly unique poses that I know I'm comfortable doing, or that I know may be uncomfortable but will look great for my body type or feed in a photo. I consistently ask myself what my brand image is, what my vision is for my blog's feed, and how I will shine through these pics, before I save them to the pinned folder.
Just because you "like" a particular style, pose, or photo, doesn't necessarily mean it's right for your brand, your image, or your body type. Know your angles and practice your posing. Once I learned what did and didn't work for me, I felt more confidence in front of the camera and was able to be more playful in the imagery.
For the 'Gram
I've screened some of my favorite bloggers to see what they have going on that makes them so appealing. Aside from a consistent and cohesive color scheme, I noticed a pattern of their styled posts. They'll do an assortment of full-body images, half-body images, detail shots, and scenery whether its coffee, a city, flat-lay or florals.
Collecting a chunk of screenshots from the best grids I found, I created my own personal grid formula for my Instagram feed that I use as a guideline, but not a Bible. Sometimes I stray, and my feed looks fine but when I do truly follow it, I find that my engagement goes up. People like patterns and repetition; they like color variation and coordination. When you're able to create a visual feed that combines the kind of consistency, they become followers.