A Quick Guide to Capturing Beautiful Detail Shots (with Annie!)
Don’t you love those simple, detail shots that draw you in when you scroll through your Instagram feed? The ones that show the details of life in an artful and beautiful way? Me too. I’ve been trying hard to capture these linger-worthy shots for ages and have always struggled, so I reached out to the most talented little ‘grammar I know for advice. Enjoy!
Hi pretty! I’m Annie, of the MontgomeryFest Annies. I was completely delighted when Margo asked me to share a little insight into how I get my detail shots. I think I audibly said heck yeah and then closed my email and thought – what IS my detail shot process? So, what happened was is that I overanalyzed every photo I took or watched friends style this week. I also scrolled through my Instagram feed and relived table shot after table shot from Brussels to Morocco to San Francisco. In my extensive research, I’ve come up with your Full Proof Guide to Detail Shots.
Oh, by the way. When I asked Margo where she was headed off to on this holiday, she replied, “the French Riv.” Oh, the life. *wink* Which only means that we should take insanely gorgeous photos of where we are this week and make people want to travel to where we are, okay? Let’s go –
1 | White space
White space can be a powerful thing. (It’s not necessarily white.) It guides the eye and points your viewers to only the raddest areas you want them to look. The rule of thirds is a biggy here. That area that you want them to check out, that should be on or fill one third of your image. Let the negative space shout out the main subject.
2 | Add life
Add a plant or a hand, something that gives the feeling of movement. You’ll notice it brings it more to life, like we’re interacting with the photo more. This is also really helpful when your friends are hungry and they’re all grabbing for the chips and salsa while you’re trying to snap your insta-moment. Let them! I prefer lived in, real photos over posed any day.
3 | Balance
A little symmetry goes a long way. It’s pleasing to the eye, yada yada. We know this. We’ve got this. Let’s get a little creative with it, shall we? Above all, let the balance of your photo feel comfortable.
4 | Frame angles
Sometimes your subject begs to stand by itself. It’s beautiful and loud, but you want to take it to the next level. Take advantage of angles. Floorboards or plank tables, even brick walls or light rays provide natural lines. Line them up at a steep angle to give interest. Work those angles!
5 | Use ingredients
Use ingredients to pepper your shot. If it’s a food shot, get a little messy! Scatter ingredients from the main subject to tie it all together. If it’s florals, use leaves or petals or even the string that holds (or would hold) the bouquet together.
6 | Color
We’re looking for colors that pop on camera. Are there tones that can be pulled out? I love a good gold tone. Are you (or your friend) rockin’ a particularly great shade of nail polish? That’s six AND seven of our guide – WIN.
7 | Shooting angles
Remember when we talked about angles? Consider from where you shoot. When shooting with a DSLR, it’s easier to shoot from a whole plethora of angles. When shooting on your phone, straight on is the most flattering. So, either perpendicular with the table, looking directly at the side of your subjects or parallel to the table, directly above looking down at your subjects. If you’re the one with the great nail polish shade, ask your friend to take it or use a tripod.
8 | Lighting
Sometimes lighting speaks for itself. A strong ray of light can make the whole photo. And we should always let it. If its mediocre, that’s why they made filters! Crank up the exposure and shine on.
9 | Shoot multiple
Take more than one and move around! I’ve been known to do that awkward arm up above the head move. Take some close-up. Take some further away. More often than not, the one I take further away will let me zoom in exactly how I want it. That’s the sweet spot.
You guys. This was so much fun. Thanks for humoring me and thank you, Margo, for having this amazing lifestyle that allowed me to help you out. If you want to chat about photos some more or brunch agendas or just life, come say hi at MontgomeryFest.