For the final chapter of our Summer Photography Series please welcome my good friend Kristen of Dine & Dish who is sharing with us one of her favorite ways to express herself through photography – Instagram. She’s sharing her favorite tips and tricks for getting the most out of the this rapidly growing social network.
If you love photography and aren’t familiar with Instagram, you should be. Instagram is a mobile photo sharing application and social network in one. It allows users to take photos with their mobile device, upload it through the app, add instant filters and then share the end result with their followers. Followers can then “like” the photos as well as can leave comments on the photos. You can also link your Instagram account to other social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter. It’s a visual way to keep up with what is going on in everyone’s life. For a visual person like me, it’s a social media dreamland.
I use Instagram to capture little moments going on in my life, but also use it as an additional way to take a look through a different lens when it comes to food photography. The following are some of my favorite tips for using Instagram when it comes to food photography.
Get a Birdseye View
With your camera phone being so much lighter than other cameras on the market, it’s easier to maneuver around and get a view you might not have been able to with a big, clunky DSLR. I take a lot of overhead shots with my iPhone, simply because I can do it easier. I don’t have to climb on a table or put myself in precarious positions to get the shot I want. My phone is light and simple to move around so I can come at my shots the direction I want to, with ease.
With your mobile phone by your side, you can take pictures in public places a little more discreetly than you can with a normal camera. It’s small, pocket size and inconspicuous nature makes it a great tool for taking photos in public places, like restaurants.
Back to Basics
I don’t know about you, but sometimes with my DSLR I get so hung up on making sure my settings are just right that it makes photography unenjoyable. Having to constantly worry about your f-stop, ISO, shutter speed, etc can be daunting. With your phone, all of that goes out the window and you simply just focus on getting the shot. Use your mobile phone for those pictures that overwhelm you when it comes to settings on your DSLR, but involve a moment you still want to capture. Your mobile phone is a great tool for capturing movement, taking great pictures in lower light settings, and more.
Give Your Favorite Brand a Shout-Out
I love this about Instagram. If you have brands you use often and want to give a shoutout to, Instagram gives you a natural way to incorporate your favorite products into your photos. When you upload these photos to Instagram, make sure to use the brand’s Instagram or Twitter handle in your commentary so they can see how passionate you are about their products!
Find Your Hashtag
So, if you follow me at all, you probably know that I have a slight obsession with taking photos of coffee. I have Instagram to thank for that. What I didn’t know until Instagram is that there are a whole bunch of you out there who have that same obsession! When I discovered that I have comrades in taking pictures of coffee, I decided to create a hashtag #ShotOfCoffee so we could all connect and share those pictures when we take them. Now, thousands of people have shared their #ShotOfCoffee pictures…through that, we’ve found our own little coffee loving tribe. The hashtag has gotten some attention and through it I’ve been offered speaking gigs at conferences, opportunities to work with brands, and more. It’s made enjoying my #ShotOfCoffee each day even more fun!
Tease Your Readers
I often use Instagram to tease my readers… I’ll take a picture of what I’m working on or what they can expect to see soon on the blog. It’s a great way to get them excited about what might be happening in your kitchen before your blog post even goes up!
I could go on and on and on about Instagram but I think the most important thing to remember is to use it to capture the ordinary, everyday moments you might not have lugged out your DSLR for. Connect with others through photography, capture the moments, and have fun. I’d love to follow you on Instagram so if you have an account, definitley leave your handle in the comments. I can be found there @DineandDish… usually behind a #shotofcoffee. Enjoy!
As much as I love using Instagram, I have also enjoyed exploring apps and sites outside of Instagram. There are apps out there that do just about everything, and you’ll find what works for you based upon your own personal preferences and style. Here are a few of my favorite:
- VSCO Cam (99 cents): This app for the iPhone has become my most used app. I was introduced to VSCO Cam 2 months ago and love how perfectly the filters and editing tools fit with my style. From Fade and Fill (my two most used filters) to Temperature and Saturation, you can make simple edits to your iPhone pictures that will create a big impact.
- Super Retro ($1.99): When I want my photos to have a little more color and life to them, I turn to the Super Retro iPhone app. The Super Retro has some funky filters but it also allows users to create their own filters by combing the ones they have available and saving them. Feature rich and easy to use, the Super Retro app is a great addition to your iPhone arsenal.
- Camera+ (99 cents): The Camera+ app was one of the first, additional camera apps I added to my iPhone. I love Camera+ because it allows users to take control during the actual shooting process. The Stabilizer feature gives you an opportunity to take the most steady shot possible with your iPhone. Burst mode turns your iPhone into a great vehicle for capturing action shots. The Timer feature allows you to get in the picture, which I think every photographer should do often. Camera+ also boasts a lightbox with a multitude of options to enhance your photos in the editing process. It’s an app jam packed with great features.
- Statigram: Statigram is not an app for your phone, but it’s a website for managing and monitoring your Instagram activity. Through Statigram you can like and comment on others photos, find information out about your followers and find specific stats about your Instagram photos. It’s a pretty cool site for managing Instagram from your desktop.
- Postagram: I am the worst about printing off photos. Postagram makes sending printed postcards of your favorite Instagrams to friends and family incredibly easy! What a great way to keep in touch and share your photos, with others!
- Keepsy: My most beloved possession in my house is the 2011 photo book I made through Keepsy. If my house caught on fire and I had to grab one thing (besides my family) I would probably grab my Keepsy book. Keepsy makes it easy to put all of your Instagram pictures into a beautiful album. Looking through my 2011 book is a fun and reflective journey of memories. Inexpensive, easy to compile and excellent quality, everyone with an Instagram account should look at this unique way of holding on to the memories you’ve captured. (And yay – Sylvie and I are both giving a Keepsy album away… see below for details!)
Kristen is a freelance writer and photographer, the mom of 4 young children and the face behind the food blog, Dine & Dish. Kristen loves to entertain, has a passion for photography, and believes in keeping things simple. An avid reader, an almost runner, a horrible gardener, and the wife of an outstanding man, Kristen’s goal is to connect and create meaningful relationships with others. Connect with Kristen on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and through her blog at Dine & Dish.
Thanks to Keepsy, Kristen and I are both giving away a Keepsy photo album to showcase your favorite Instagram photos!
Keepsy lets you transfer photos directly from Instagram. Just drag-and-drop and Keepsy will automatically create your album, and place your photos in the layout. The big, beautiful 11.5″ x 8.5″ (29 x 21.5 cm) books are printed on 100# acid-free paper. (Keep an eye out for the upcoming Keepsy iphone app, coming soon!)
*In addition to the giveaway Keepsy is offering all Gourmande in the Kitchen readers a chance to discover their photo books with a 20% off discount on any order. Simply enter : GOURMANDE20 at check out. This offer is good for a limited time so hurry!
* And don’t forget to visit Dine & Dish for another chance to win a Keepsy Photo Book.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
The winner is Jessica. Congrats and enjoy your book!
HOW TO ENTER:
Required Entry: For a chance to win leave a comment here, whatever you’d like. For example tell me for what you’d use your Keepsy Album?
The required entry must be done otherwise any extra entries will not count.
WANT MORE CHANCES TO WIN?
2. “Like” Gourmande in the Kitchen on Facebook.*
3. Follow gourmandeinthek on Instagram.*
4. Subscribe to Gourmande in the Kitchen updates by email, or subscribe to my RSS feed.*
PLEASE REMEMBER: Leave a separate comment for EACH of your entries or only one entry will be counted.
*If you already follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and/or already subscribe to Gourmande in the Kitchen let me know as well, since this counts as an entry.
Giveaway starts on 8/13/2012 and will run until 8/20/2012 at 11:59 pm PST.
To enter leave a comment.
One winner with a valid entries will be selected at random. I will email the winner and they will have up to 3 days to claim their prize or another winner will be selected.
One winner will be selected at random to receive a Keepsy Photo Album worth $29.95.
Sponsors are as follows: http://www.keepsy.com/
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED
Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of a Keepsy Album.