Your friend hands you her phone and asks you to take a “good” photo of her for her Insta feed. Suddenly you tremble at the thought of pushing that capture button and the photo comes out blurry, your hands forget how technology works, and you soon realise that taking just one photo was going to be a much bigger task than you expected.
Sound familiar? If so, you can swipe left on all those fears, because we have the answers. Here’s your guide on taking photos of your bestie, with help from a pro photographer.
Meet Tegan Smith, a Cape Town based fashion photographer. She photographs online content and campaigns for well-known brands as well as digital content for bloggers and celebs. When she’s not photographing fashionable personalities, she’s probably enjoying the outdoors, trying new restaurants or wine tasting. These are her tips on bestie-photography.
Scenario: I’m out with my bestie and she asks me to take a photo of her. How many should I take? And why? Please help.
“Take as many pics as you can until she thinks you’ve got the shot! I’d say 5 – 10 options so she can go through them and choose her favourite one. Taking a few all at once will save you the time of back and forth ‘ok just one more please.'”
Here are four different types of photos that you’ll likely be asked to take (and how to approach them):
The profile picture
“Profile pictures require a portrait taken at close range. People want to see your face so be sure to hold the phone closer and frame her body from torso to head. Remember, as this is a close up you’re going to want to take the photo from a higher angle to avoid the dreaded ‘double chin’ photos.”
The outfit shot
“You’re going to need a full length photo for this so be sure to find a good background (she’ll help you with that). She’s going to want to look a little taller in height so be sure to take the photo from a low angle – go down on one knee, sit on your haunches.
“This angle will give the illusion of height. Ask her to extend her one leg out in front of her or diagonally – this will add even more length and a bit of ‘bad-ass’ to her pose. Lastly, ask her to turn her hips diagonally away from you and twist her waist so her shoulders are facing you – this will add a beautiful shape to her body and give the illusion of a smaller waist.”
The foodie photo
“Just like the profile picture photo, you’re going to want to take this photo from a slightly higher angle. Remember to get the food/drink in the photo, too. Make sure the lighting is good and the food looks appetising.
“Try to angle the photo so that there aren’t too many “photo bombers” in the background. Maybe ask her to lean one arm on the table and angle her shoulders slightly… look at the camera, look away, look at the food.”
READ MORE: This SA photographer with 270K Instagram followers will teach what you need to know
The beach bum
There are two ways to take this photo…
“Use the guidelines for an outfit photo mentioned above. Make sure her head is tilted up towards the sun to avoid harsh shadows on her face. Get her to arch her back and point her toe to add shape and length.”
“Make sure she’s pointing her toes and have her legs at different lengths. Ask her to lean back and tilt her head towards the sun to avoid those harsh shadows… sunnies are always a bonus to add a bit of sass and avoid the worry of harsh shadows on the eyes.”
Bonus: “in the moment” candid photo
When you’re snapping photos and she stops to fix her hair, don’t stop snapping, she’s probably wanting you to capture that “in the moment” shot while she’s “not ready for the photo”.
Top 3 mobile photography tips
- background – I see so many beautiful photos that are ruined by the background. A random person staring at the photo being taken, a toilet in a bathroom selfie… be sure to have a look at what is going on in the background first.
- angle – Remember, high angles for portraits and close ups, low angles for full length body shots.
- lighting – Good light can make any regular photo look like a Vogue fashion editorial! Always face the light source like a window, a door, and avoid harsh sunlight directly on the face as much as you can!
Favourite photo editing apps/programs
“For my professional shoots I use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. I adjust my lighting and colour in Lightroom and then retouch in Photoshop,” says Tegan.
“For my mobile photos I use Lightroom and VSCO cam. I like my photos to be as natural as possible and try to keep the same style of photo throughout, so I rarely use different filters and trending apps, I try and stick to the same filter on VSCO cam (usually F2 or A5). Adding a filter or adjusting the lighting and colour will add a nice contrast to your images. Sometimes you lose that punch of colour and need to bring it back with a little bit of editing.”
This article was originally published in Women's Health SA.