Getting the Perfect Instagram Shot of Your Partner
From nailing a location to experimenting with angles, here’s how you can go pro with your Instagram photography to capture your partner’s photogenic best.
By Clara Tan
BEFORE THE SHOOT
Scout for a location
We may not have gorgeous flower fields or stunning beaches, but there are plenty of photo-worthy landmarks and iconic buildings. Want a pop of colour? Check out the vibrant Peranakan houses at Joo Chiat, or the former house of Tan Teng Niah, located in Little India. Similarly, Haji Lane is lined with bright murals at almost every corner.
The new Jewel Changi Airport in particular is great rain or shine, no matter the time of the day. This impressive nature-themed complex has a couple of lush, attractive installations that are perfect as Instagram backdrops, like the HSBC Rain Vortex and the Shiseido Forest Valley.
Other stellar locations in Singapore to consider include Gardens by the Bay and The Helix bridge for their futuristic vibe, or go to CHIJMES for some vintage-inspired shots… the list is endless!
Plan your outfit
If you’re planning to shoot at the beach, opt for light, flowy clothing such as summer dresses for the ladies or bermudas and short-sleeved linen shirts for the guys.
Shooting around the city? A flattering pair of jeans paired with a simple white top will do the trick, as it won’t fight with the backdrop for attention. Also, colours should complement the skin tone. For fair to medium skin tones, earthy and blush shades work the best. For darker skin tones, try berry hues.
Use lighting (and timing) to your advantage
As Singapore’s weather is scorching all year-round, shooting under the afternoon sun could be a nightmare, and may result in the photos being over exposed. The best time to shoot would be during the golden hour – an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset. Not only will the golden hour remove unwanted shadows in the picture, its warm hues will illuminate your partner’s face in a flattering way. And finally, be mindful of where the sun is facing so that there’s enough light on your subject. If you shoot against the sun, you’ll get dark photos that appear grainy when edited – not ideal.
Pro tip 1: Good lighting vs bad lighting – always face the sun or you’ll have a dark shot
DURING THE SHOOT
Experiment with different angles and poses
For full body shots, always shoot from a low angle as this will elongate your partner’s legs. If you’re taking the photo at eye level, avoid tilting your phone or camera downwards as this will create a distortion and make your partner look short. Instead, take a few steps back, squat and tilt the camera upwards. As for poses, get your partner to try the over-the-shoulder glance or sideways strut for a slimming effect.
Pro tip 2: Don’t be afraid to get down, low to the ground, to take the shot!
Pay attention to framing
Ever wonder how some images just look fantastic? That’s because many photographers follow the Rule of Thirds. Simply put: the Rule of Thirds refers to using compositional guidelines to highlight your subject, while also drawing attention to other elements in the surroundings. Imagine your photo divided into nine equal parts using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines. Think about what elements of the photo are most important and try to position them near the lines of the grid. If you’re a fan of symmetrical shots, use the grid to position your subject in the centre.
Sounds complicated? Don’t worry – if you’re an iPhone user, there’s a grid feature within the camera app that you can switch on. Go to Settings > Photos & Camera > Grid. If not, there’s always the ‘Adjust’ tool on Instagram (under ‘Edit’) which shows the grid so you can crop the image accordingly.
Pro tip 3: The photo grid is your best friend when it comes to composing a shot
Direct your partner
Unless you have some sort of mirror tool or selfie stick, seeing how you look while you’re in front of the camera is impossible. So, being the one behind the lens, try to direct her. Suggest poses, or just help point out things like messy hair, awkward hand placements, or a part of the outfit that needs adjusting.
Getting the perfect shot may require time and several retakes – it’s normal. In fact, Singaporean blogger, Andrea Chong, once shared that she took over 700 shots for an #OOTD photo. But don’t let that freak you out. To speed up the process, get your partner to frame the shot for you so you have a better idea of what she wants, or scroll through Instagram’s Explore feature for inspiration.
AFTER THE SHOOT
Get down to editing
Once you’ve got the perfect shot, it’s time to edit the photo. Some popular apps include Snapseed, VSCO, and even Instagram itself. Snapseed’s selective tool function allows you to edit certain parts of your image (for example, brighten particular spots in the picture) and VSCO acts as an image enhancer with its various filters and preset tools. The best part? Both apps are free!
Don’t underestimate Instagram’s filters either – you’d be surprised how much they can amplify your pictures. A popular one is Clarendon, the filter that “cools down” your photo with warm mid tones, allowing your skin to look natural.