Perfecting the Gram
Do you ever spend hours scrolling through Insta wondering how people seem to take some effortlessly cool photos? Well wonder no more because we’ve roped Rachel into a tutorial on how to take the perfect Insta snap in another entry to our series of ‘We Asked’.
Before we get into that, we’ll tell you a little about Rach! Sure you know she’s one half of Francesca, but what does she actually do? The answer is anything and everything that’s creative, which is probably why her title is Creative Director. To be honest, it might be easier to list what she doesn’t do, but we’re not going to do that. Basically she’s an all round creative queen; she designs - jewellery and graphics, she styles, she sings and of course, she takes photos. One of those is a lie. But just how does she get those snaps looking so good? Well read on below to find out!
You got in the Insta game quite early and then picked up regular photography a little later. What inspired you to start photography?
I guess you could say my love for photography began during my Franc store days! On Saturdays I had the store to myself and between customers I would select different products to flatlay and shoot them on my phone, before uploading them straight to Instagram. With my passion for photography it made so much sense to upskill instead of outsource!
I’ve learned so much since then and am way more technical now, but I have always been obsessed with capturing an image and then taking it to the next level with editing! It blows my mind some of the before and afters you see - from capture to fully edited - and the journey is SO satisfying.
What kind of camera do you use? What would you suggest for people wanting to start photography?
Canon Mark III for our campaigns
Leica D-Lux 109 for on the go adventures
iPhone camera on the reg
I would definitely recommend an SLR camera of some sort to start off with. You have a lot more control over manual shooting and the settings, once understood, are easy to use. My advice is to not get overwhelmed with all the numbers and confusing buttons - just do a little beginner’s theory lessons before you start. The three technical details to start with are how aperture, ISO and shutter speed interact to give you your shot!
You’ve shot the Franc campaigns for the past two years, have you got a favourite campaign and why?
To date my absolute favourite campaign I have shot is our Capris Collection shoot. The reasoning behind this is because everything that could have possibly gone wrong during this shoot, did in fact go wrong. Sounds weird? But it was through complete failure that magic happened. Our planned location in Bali was a flop and we were left wondering how we would move forward. Then out of nowhere we were walking along a dirt road in the back streets of Bali and stumbled across this magical treehouse belonging to Gill, a retired New Yorker. Seeing us in complete awe of his property and hearing our predicament, he invited us in to shoot, and the results were better than we could have planned.
There’s a term in photography called ‘golden hour’, where the sun’s setting and the hues of the sun are perfectly golden, flattering and magical. It was in Gill’s garden that I experienced my first campaign golden hour experience - enough said!
Have you got any advice on setting up your shot? We’re talking phone only.
I have a lot of respect for the iPhone camera - so many photographers turn their noses up at it, but I’m all for a quick snap. So when it comes to setting up a shot, I say composition is everything and good lighting!
So you’ve got the Insta snap, what’s next in terms of editing?
LIGHTROOM!!! Oh my wow am I obsessed with this app on my phone at the moment. I usually edit all our campaigns on Lightroom on my desktop, but it was only recently that I downloaded it on my phone for quick iphone pic edits. This was life changing and there are a few hints I’ll give to get your pics looking perf! If you want something a little easier to use I’d say VSCO!
Colour theming for your gram - HUES. You’ll notice a lot of amazing gram accounts have nailed their overall “look” for their gram. That’s because they are aligning all of their colour hues to match. You can’t just slap a filter on any image and think it will look the same - because everything is shot in different lights etc, etc.
So my tip is to manipulate the hues in your images to be similar (each colour has a colour spectrum: I.e navy - turquoise). One I always focus on is blue. I always push my blues to be more turquoise and this keeps all my images looking more consistent. You can do this for all colour tones throughout your pics.
Blacks & Whites - You can create great contrast pushing your blacks down to get them to pop more, and your whites up to brighten your image without changing the overall exposure.
Clarity & Dehaze tool - You can bring things to life in your images that you never knew even existed with this tool. Take this image of Wineglass bay for example - in the background I could barely see the detail of the mountains, with the selection tool of lightroom, I targeted this area to reveal it.
Top tips to become an overnight Insta photographer (not photographer photographer).
Choose your style! As much as I would LOVE to edit all my images to what I think would look amazing for that particular image, you sometimes have to just stick to your vibe (lol). But for real, it does help and it makes you unique. Maybe you’re into the more pastel tones and exposed look like I am, or maybe it’s deep black contrasts and moody looking images - equally amazing! Just find a look that you think you could recreate with all your images and start editing like that!