Q&A | How To Take The Perfect Instagram Photo, Where To Stay in SF, & My Camera Kit

18 August

Happy Friday! I’m excited to introduce you to a new personal installment where I open up the floor to any questions you may have. I love getting to know readers better and am always thrilled to see emails and DM’s come in asking my two cents on style, design, photography–you name it. It’s a role I’ve loved playing most my life with friends and family, so I hope you know I’m an open book and always here to help or answer any questions you got! I will be selecting 3-5 each week, so be sure to send along any you may have in an email (include ASK AWAY in the subject line). So, let’s dive in!

What’s your advice on taking the perfect Instagram photo?

First things first, lighting is key! I’m always moving the subject around a bit and will shoot a handful in a few different angles to find the perfect light. Once I feel out the angle, I try and take 10-20 shots for variety to narrow down which vibe I like best.

When it comes to editing photos, my go-to always is Snapseed. I used to use VSCO so much more, but these days I’m really loving editing myself. Snapseed is the closest mobile tool to LightRoom which is what I use to edit all my DSLR images on my laptop. If it’s a pretty bright and airy image that could use some pop, I will explore a few filters in VSCO and Color Story, but not as much as I used to. Probably a slightly annoying, non-helpful add-on– I also used to have certain filters I would always use, but that got a bit boring for me so I test out a bunch when I do use filter apps. I like experimenting with new vibes for a certain story I’m trying to tell.

My vision of a perfect Instagram photo is to look effortless, like I’m not trying too hard. I don’t like an overly-styled look, I like things to look real and lived in. I’m personally drawn to raw and real, so I try and remember that even when I am taking an “in the moment” but not really photo. I also love color stories. Like the photo above, I love the bright poppy paired with the shade of rose and a pop of yellow lemon. To me, the color and the placement of the subjects is what makes a photo sing!

Overall thoughts: play with lighting, stick to your style and aesthetic but have fun with it, and remember that people want to see what’s real. Instagram is redundant these days so keep things spicy!

I also shared this post a couple of years back if you’re interested in editing a bit more!

I’m Planning on Visiting San Francisco soon, where should I stay?

I always tell people to find an AirBnb in the Marina District, Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights or North Beach. San Francisco is 7×7 miles, so very easy to get around. I feel like these areas are pretty walkable or a 5-10 min uber to other spots around the city, safe, and have so much to do. If you’re coming for a bit longer and like the idea of a hotel/having a tidy room to come home to and maybe indulging in robe life, etc. I love the Palace Hotel! I have an entire San Francisco food and drink guide here as well.

What’s your favorite, everyday camera and lens combo?

I get this question a lot, so I’m excited to have it up on the blog to reference going forward! I need to do more photography stuff, huh? It’s been awhile. Anyway, here we go: I use a Canon 5d Mark iii and my 24-70mm (which by the way… WTF. I paid double than the price it’s listed at now. Good times!). These two are a powerful combination, I hardly use my other lens which was the first one I bought (50mm, which I need to start using more for detail shots because the aperture is super powerful). I also have my Olympus E-PL7 which is great for on the go/traveling for crisp shots (and it has wifi!), I also got this lens for it as well.



earlier this week….

Jean Shrimpton: My Style Icon
Dining Room Tour
#WhereToFindMe feature on One Kings Lane