If you’re reading this then you’re probably just like me, always trying to improve your Instagram and photography skills!😄 In this post, I will be sharing with you some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the past years in which I’ve taken lots and lots of braid photos. I’m also still learning in this field, which is why I won’t claim these to be ‘rules’ of any sort. Just see them as some useful tips that you could keep in mind while taking pictures for Instagram or other purposes! I will focus mostly on braid pictures as these are the type of pictures I take most often, but you might be able to get something out of this even if you take other types of pictures!
- Choose the right background
Finding a suitable background is always a challenge and is what takes us most time while taking pictures. When looking for a background, I always keep a few things in mind. I like backgrounds that aren’t too dark and that are filled with nice and bright colours. Furthermore, a background shouldn’t have too many different objects and/or colours in it as this can get very distracting.
In these pictures you can see a lot of different colours and structures in the background, which can be distracting.
Here, I’ve found a more suitable background which isn’t really taking the attention off of my braid. It might be hard to tell, but there are actually lots of branches in the background. The second picture shows what it looks like without me in the shot. This background still works well however, since all of the colours are very similar and so they blend together nicely when out of focus and in the background. Moreover, the horizontal lines formed by the branches create a nice-looking structure for the background.
- Camera and lens
The quality of your pictures is of course very dependent on your camera and especially lens. This makes a big difference. I use my Nikon D5300 for braid pictures and my favourite lens to use with it is my 85mm portrait lens. However, I do want to mention that you can still take great pictures without a very high-quality lens or camera, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have either of them at this point. I had to mention the camera and lens, but the rest of these tips will focus on alternative ways to create better pictures.
- Distance between the subject and the background
A great way to make sure that your background gets more out of focus, is by creating a larger distance between your subject and the background. I used to take pictures, standing right in front of bushes to ‘fill the whole background’ but I can tell you this is not the solution. Just take a few steps back and you’ll be able to notice the difference!
This first picture is me standing right in front of the plants. In the second picture, you can see the same background. However, this time I took a few steps back and there’s a big difference. The background in the first picture is very distracting, while the second background isn’t.
- Consider subject position
In order to allow the full focus to be on your braid, it’s a good idea to make sure to center your subject in the picture. Sometimes however, it can give a nice effect to position your subject slightly off-center. Either way, make sure not to position the subject too far away from the center. Furthermore, make sure to keep your subject (in this case the braid) in-frame completely and don’t cut off random parts of the hair in the shot. Make sure not to take pictures that are too zoomed out either as this might take away the attention from the braid.
In these picture, the braid clearly isn’t in the center. Additionally, it is taken a little too far away. The background is also very ‘messy’ with a lot of different structures and colours. Lastly, the large tree is very distracting.
It isn’t necessary to wear very fancy clothes all the time to create good braid pictures. There are a few small things to keep in mind though. First, make sure your clothing doesn’t have a hood as this may position the braid in a funny way, which could be distracting. For the rest, just try to make sure there are no weird folds or bumps. Of course choosing a certain style of clothing may enhance your braid picture.
- Choose the right angle
The angle of the picture is important to keep in mind as of course you want to present your braid in the best possible way. There definitely isn’t one correct angle, so there are many options! What mostly works best for me is to make sure the camera and the hairstyle are on the same height. For the rest, I always experiment with my head and body position and check the pictures regularly to see what works best.
The first picture was taken from below and doesn’t represent the braid very well. The second picture has been taken from above, not doing the braid justice either.
- Camera settings
If you have a camera, try playing around with the settings in manual mode. It allows you to adapt different functions which can help you with the lighting for instance.
In this picture, the settings weren’t suitable for the light, causing the braid to be too bright. Additionally, you can see a lot of fly-aways showing up against this background. Also, I’m wearing a coat with a hood which places the braid in a weird position.
- Make use of natural light
Besides altering your camera setting, make sure to make use of natural lighting. Don’t take pictures in spots that are too dark, but make sure not to be in direct sunlight either.
These pictures were taken in a dark spot, underneath many trees. You can see that the camera has a hard time focusing and the subject is barely visible. With some editing, you can create a brighter picture but it’s still hard to create nice colours for the picture in this way.
- Edit your pictures
Last but not least, editing can improve your pictures. However, keep in mind that a lot of editing definitely isn’t always necessary and over-editing isn’t a good idea either. I just want to say that it can make a large difference if done well. It will allow you to easily brighten your pictures a little or enhance their colours.
Here is an example of the before and after of an edited picture. Editing isn’t necessary but in this case I feel like it does improve my picture.
Wow! That was a lot of text! Let me know if you’ve read everything till here, by commenting down below! Do you have any additional tips to share?
It was really fun and actually quite challenging to take these pictures! Half of the pictures of me trying to take ‘bad quality’ pictures actually turned out surprisingly well! It’s weird how it seems like when you try so hard to get the perfect picture, it’s so challenging and then when you don’t even try it seems to come easy!😅
Oh and I almost forgot this! The braid I am wearing is inspired by Jordan! It’s a french lace fishtail, combined with an elastic braid!
Hope you enjoyed this post! Feel free to share it with others 🙂