If you’re like us, then your saved feed on Instagram is likely overflowing with oh-so-dreamy snapshots of interiors so inspiring they just might motivate you to cultivate, capture, and share your own aesthetic with the rest of the world. Whether you’re on a mission to master the art of the #shelfie or are solely obsessed with doortraits, there’s more to the perfect shot than first meets the eye.
To help you nail your best interior ‘gram yet, we asked a few of our photo-savvy editors for the tricks they swear by—from how to style the perfect scene to the best apps for editing. Want to really impress your followers? Keep these nine fail-proof tips in mind the next time you whip out your phone.
Cleanliness is key
“Hide the clutter. No, I don’t mean hide all of your things so you can appear to be a 'minimalist.' It’s okay to own things and fill a space with what you love. More importantly, hide unnecessary things like power cords, internet routers, etc.,” says assistant photo editor, Aaron Bengochea.
His pro tip for disguising unsightly electrical outlets? “Style things in front of them to give off the appearance of an extra clean interior space.”
Cleaning up your space for the sake of Instagram might actually make you a tidier person in general, as Domino’s social media editor, Alyssa Clough, can attest. “When photographing my own home, I find that I can always see scratches on walls, dust bunnies in corners, random clutter from the week, etc. Which can get annoying, but it definitely helps keep me accountable when it comes to cleaning.”
Stick to natural light
For Lahaina Alcantara, Domino’s digital photo editor, lighting is everything. “This is one of most important elements of taking any photograph," she says. "Stick to natural light and make sure all other lighting sources, like lamps and overhead lighting, are turned off. Because not all lighting sources have the same color temperature this causes funky color casts—usually orange or blue. Sticking to daylight will ensure the light in your image looks natural.”
Be mindful of angles
“The angles that translate the best are the ones that are the most natural to how you see things in a space,” adds Alcantara. “Avoid shooting from too high or too low or too wide (this looks more real estate listing and less editorial).”
“Vertical images fill up the screen on phones better, while horizontal images look almost smaller in the feed. Which is why you might have noticed your favorite ‘grammers only sharing vertical or square photos,” explains Clough. “This is, of course, a personal decision, but it’s something to keep in mind.”
Double-check your lines
When you look at a photo and have to turn your head, you know that something is definitely off. To ensure that your perspective is always on point, let the lines in the room—created by walls, windows, and other objects—lead the way.
“In your image preview make sure your camera is level and shooting at the right height so that the lines of the walls are running parallel and aren’t starting to create a “V” shape,” explains Alcantara.
Still need a hand? Bengochea suggests using the app SKRWT for correcting perspective after shooting an image.
Shoot on a tripod
“Sometimes shooting with natural light requires a slightly longer exposure so this will keep your camera steady and your image in focus. It will also help keep your camera or phone level to aid in getting cleaner angles and straight perspectives,” says Alcantara.
Capture the details
Having a mix of close-up vignettes and wide angle shots gives you a nice range of options to work with. “I like seeing both vignettes, like one wall or a nightstand, and photos that show off entire rooms,” notes Clough. “Sharing a mix of the small moments and also how everything comes together is fun to see in your feed.”
And it’s not just tighter shots of personal knick knacks and other accessories that you should intend to capture, but also special moments that might happen upon your space simply by chance.
“If you notice an interesting strip of light falling onto your couch, floor, or countertops, capture a nice detail shot (this opportunity won’t last forever). These types of images complement wider shots nicely and are sometimes more interesting for the viewer than a larger descriptive image,” says Bengochea.
“When possible, it’s nice to show what’s outside the windows of this beautiful interior you’ve created,” says Bengochea. “For shots that have windows in the background, try capturing a nice enough exposure that has some detail of the outside world.”
Apps, apps, apps
“The majority of photos you see shared on social media (taken on phones) use editing apps,” explains Clough.
The editing apps worth trying? VSCO, A Color Story, Snapseed, SKRWT, Cortex, and Retouch grace the top of our must-have list.
“If you need to shoot and edit on your phone, my favorite app to use is VSCO,” says Alcantara. “It’s not only great for applying nice color treatments (presets) that are easy to adjust, but it also has tools that allow you to correct perspective, color temperature, exposure, etc. Also if you use the in-app camera, you can shoot with more manual settings if the auto exposure on your built-in camera isn’t cutting it.”
“Snapseed is a great app for adjusting sharpness and to adjust specific points in your photo,” explains Domino photographer, Cody Guilfoyle. “Cortex, a powerful app that works best when on a tripod but can also be used handheld takes 100 exposure in seconds and combines them to give you a very sharp well-balanced photo. The final app on my list is Retouch, for all those plugs and small dings in the paint—an easy-to-use app the lets you remove those blemishes fast.”
Get more photo tips:
How to Photograph Fireworks (With Your Phone)
The Art of Photographing Flowers
The Interiors Photographers You Need to Follow on Instagram
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