When you’ve spent time, money, and effort getting a room in your home looking just right, it feels like a shame to keep it hidden behind closed doors. Luckily, the age of social media offers an easy way to share your space through Instagram photography.
But things don’t always look the same through a camera lens as they do in person, and getting an Instagram photograph just right can be tricky. Follow these four home-staging tips to capture Instagram-worthy photographs of your space.
1. Get the Right Light
Good lighting can make or break an Instagram photograph, so take a moment to consider the light sources in the room you’re photographing.
Two key things to keep in mind:
Keep it Natural.
Artificial light can take away from the true colors and natural shadows of your space by making the room look unnaturally yellow or blue. Warm, natural light is the golden rule for home photography — in fact, your best bet is to turn off all other lights and shoot in natural light only.
Another benefit of natural light is that shadows come from natural angles, whereas artificial lighting can create harsh shadows that distract from the photo’s focus.
Also, avoid using flash; it can make the space appear flat and can cause an ugly glare on countertops, cabinets, and appliances.
Watch the Clock.
Time of day can make all the difference in how a room reads through the camera lens. Optimal times to shoot are dawn and dusk, when the natural light is ample but still soft.
To keep your photo from being blown out, try to avoid times of day when the sun shines directly into the room you’re shooting, or use sheer curtains to mute the bright light. Similarly, cloud cover can be your friend.
2. Focus on Framing
Scan the architecture of your space for natural frames for your shot. Walls, doorframes, and windows are safe bets, and but based on the angle from which you’re shooting, rugs, tables, and lights can also serve as unexpected and interesting frames for your Instagram photograph.
Lines and perspective are fundamental in photography, so keep your smartphone at right angles in relation to the rooms to keep lines sharp. And be sure to shoot straight by aligning your camera with the frame that’s guiding your photo. The photo will look cleaner, and you’ll thank yourself if you have to crop it later.
3. Clutter Carefully
Your space should be clean, but that doesn’t mean it can’t look lived-in. Folded sunglasses, an open journal, or a pair of earbuds snaked around a keyboard can add charm and a breath of life to your Instagram photographs.
That said, be cautious of over-styling. The best way to get your space to look lived in is to get comfortable in it before shooting. Sit down, relax, and create a space you truly enjoy — then snap a pic.
Lastly, mind the difference between organized clutter and a straight-up mess. Make the beds, empty the garbage, and take the time to clean your surfaces. The camera has a way of picking up the smudges in sinks and crumbs scattered across your kitchen countertop may not be immediately noticeable to you.
The Power of Negative Space
When you try to cram too much into a shot, the viewer can get lost — especially with Instagram photography, when your viewer will likely be looking at your image on a smartphone screen.
Consider snapping shots of specific parts of the room — a striking kitchen island, pretty shelf, or cozy corner — rather than the entire room. Then, post your photo series so your viewers can scroll through and get an up-close look at your styling.
4. Know and Use Your Tools
Your smartphone camera itself has a slew of handy tools, so take the time to familiarize yourself with them. For example, by tapping the screen while using your iPhone or Android camera, a focus tool will appear, which you can use to alter the exposure of your photo — a great way to set the mood of your shot to match the space.
Outside of built-in smartphone tools, there are countless apps that can help improve your Instagram photography. Using the temperature tool in an app like VSCO or even Instagram itself can soften the tone of your photograph if you get stuck using artificial light.
Like anything else, practice makes perfect, and the best way to learn to take eye-catching Instagram photographs is to experiment. Arrange and rearrange; snap photos at different times and angles and see which you like best. Soon enough, your favorite Instagrammers will be pinning photos of your space for inspiration.
Gorgeous surfaces, floors, and mantles are a step in the right direction for your home photography. Find a Santamargherita dealer near you to start exploring your options.
Abby Kinsinger is a managing editor at D Custom, a Dallas-based marketing agency, and formerly the associate editor of American Airlines’ in-flight magazine, American Way. She’s traveled across the globe to unearth stories about travel, design, celebrities, and more, but picture-perfect Italy remains her favorite place on earth.