5 Skills Every Instagram Photographer Needs

01/10/17

5 Instagram Photographer Skills

Location: New York City
Photographers: I’ve worked with a few when it comes to my blog post shots. But just from the outset, this is written more for the blogger’s looking for a photographer, than any photographers already in the profession; unless they are looking to get into blog photography. And, this is more for those struggling bloggers, looking to take someone on full time, whether that’s their boyfriend, mum, friend, mutual friend or new acquaintance. There are a number of traits that a photographer needs if they’re going to enable the blogger or instagrammer to progress and constantly up their game. This blogger game is big business now and there are so many instagrammers especially, who are totally killing it. They wouldn’t be killing it half as well without their photographer. So if you’re looking for one, these are the 5 things I’d say you need to look for in your picture taker.
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1.

Don’t be easily offended by criticism

I will shoot maybe twenty photographs before having a peek at the DSLR camera myself. I’ll be scrolling through the camera faster than I can actually see the photos properly, and I’m looking for one thing: what is my face doing?! If my face looks okay (aka my eyes aren’t shut, my jaw isn’t hanging open etc), then I look at my body shape. If that is acceptable, than I’ll look at the background, and then if you can see my accessories and so on. I’m not looking at the photograph specifically and critiquing it for its professionalism or excellence. In honesty, if someone wants to take your pictures on a professional level, they should already have that down. I am literally checking whether the photo is usable on my channels first and foremost, and it takes someone who gets this business to not be offended by that. They need to realise that blogging and instagram is primarily about the person in the shots, and even if the background and the sunset is beyond perfection, if my face isn’t looking it’s best, that photo is going in the trash.

2.

They need to be patient

If I need to shoot again, because the photo’s don’t quite work, for reasons mentioned in point one… then I need to shoot again! There needs to be no huffing and puffing, or ‘these photo’s are absolutely fine.’ They’re not fine, or I would now be sat down, with my heels off, drinking my iced latte. The blogger or instagrammer also doesn’t want to be shooting photographs in the street, with curious bystanders all day either. And therefore it’s a collaborative effort. If there needs to be a reshoot, or the photographer needs to wait two minutes whilst you brush your hair or reapply lipliner, then they need to wait for you. If you’re not ready, the photographs will never work and then everyone wastes their time. A good photographer will wait for you if you’re paying them. If you’re not paying them, then at least buy them a coffee to say a big thankyou. Oh and of course, tag your photographer or there is literally nothing in this for them apart from being an extremely lovely person.

3.

An eye for location scouting

You need a photographer who is almost your second eye. They are constantly looking around, evaluating areas that they spot and analysing whether particular streets would make a great backdrop for a shot. The best thing is when a photographer turns to you and says, “I saw this awesome street just up here that could work for a location”. They’re helping you do your job, and for me that’s gold. Someone who is looking for brownie points, will google, instagram search and also save location ideas in their notes, so that they have a list of cool spots in their particular city to take gorgeous photographs. As I mentioned in point one, it’s primarily about you and your body/shape/face in the shot. BUT if the location behind you is uninspiring, really boring or just plain drab, then your photo isn’t going to inspire anyone. I’ve learned this numerous times – no matter how desperate you are to take a photograph of your outfit, save your time and energy. Wait until you stumble upon a better location and overall you’ll be far more satisfied.

4.

Quick to shoot and edit on demand

I’m dressed up, heels on, bag ready and I find a place I want to shoot. There may be people around, cars up and down the road, but you know –  in-situ, fast paced shots are often some of the best. Your photographer needs to be able to act on demand and in these pressured situations to get the very best out of that location. I don’t care if people are walking past, we can wait until the traffic of people subsides and then click click click until we get a shot we love. I remember in Hong Kong, it was hard work, BUT we persisted to take a shot on a super busy street and the photos were so great afterwards. Both of you just need to keep your calm, stay cool and don’t get mad about how frustrating it might be. Trying to photograph or be photographed when you’re in a bad mood is one of the worst times you’re going to have. So stay collected and think of how cool the end photographs are going to be.

5.

Your personal location stylist

A blogger is every staff member of their own business. They’re sometimes the photographer, but they’re definitely the model, stylist, makeup artist, hair stylist, location scout, director, light analyser etc etc, you name it. We fulfil so many roles when we’re trying to shoot with just us and our photographer. A good photographer will help with as much as they can; but one of the key things a photographer absolutely does need to do, is be your mirror. That piece of hair you’ve tried to volumise and is now sticking out of your head at an angle. The lipstick on your teeth. Your collar that’s turned under behind your neck. The button that’s opened or your mascara that’s transferred to your under eye. We can’t see that when we’re stood in the street, and the majority of these issues the photographer can’t change in post production. SO make sure they keep an eye on your look and your style as they’re shooting. Otherwise, you may find your photos are completely unusable and you’re not going to be a happy bunny. Believe me.

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And if you are looking for a photographer in the London area, just for a shoot or two when you’re in urgent need of some incredible shots, definitely check out @kylegalvin_ for something more editorial, @amberrosephoto for something fashion and beautiful, @michaelatphotos for something cool and street style and @joegalvin for anything edgy and fashion.

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