As many of us know, social media and photography are some of the quickest growing industries out there, so it only makes sense that I'm receiving more and more questions about how the heck I self-shoot for Instagram. It's the perfect combination of a) the right equipment, b) an eye for what looks good and what doesn't, and c) lots of patience.
Ahead, you'll find a guide to all the exact equipment that I use to take photos for Instagram, a video showing my exact process, and many tips + tricks that I've learned along the way.
In my opinion, having good equipment is one of the most important things. I used to shoot with my iPhone — nothing wrong with that — but eventually, I craved a more professional quality image to post on my feed. As someone who is a full-time photographer, I started handing off my camera to my mom and Andrew to get the shots I needed, but it was hard to not feel annoying when I asked them "Can you do it one more time but like this?"
Eventually, I met up with my friend Stephanie (@theblondegirldaily) and she showed me her magical little set up that she uses when self-shooting. I instantly went home, spent $1000 on a new lens, a solid tripod, and a shutter release. I have to give her credit for completely changing my photo routine. If it weren't for Stephanie, I'd definitely still be bugging Andrew to "get down to a lower angle" and he's probably have killed me by now.
THE CAMERA + LENS
Obviously, this is important. I use a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body with a Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for 99% of the images you see on my Instagram. Sometimes I'll switch it up to my Mark III (which, in my opinion, is almost the same in terms of photo quality, but the Mark IV offers MUCH more for video in case you're debating between the two).
The lens is really one of the most important things with the quality + style of my photos. You'll notice that in many of my photos (especially the full body shots) that my legs can appear very long. That is due to the wide-angle lens. In the behind the scenes video in this blog post, I do explain how I pose in order to get that long leg look.
While this is the largest investment for taking Instagram photos, it is one that I calculated very much in-depth, but since I am a full-time photographer, I justified it as a business expense.
While some may think "Oh, any tripod will work!" that could not be further from the truth. In my day as a photographer, I have broken tripod after tripod and investing in a solid, amazing quality tripod is completely mandatory in my opinion — especially if you're self-shooting.
I use the Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head which is incredible for self-shooting because it offers plenty of different adjustments and movements that make it easy to shoot at just about any angle you please — all by yourself.
THE SHUTTER RELEASE
After you have your camera set up on a tripod — no matter which camera or tripod you choose — the shutter release is really where the magic happens. I use the Neewer 6-in-1 Timer Shutter Release that I got from Amazon.
If you've ever used a regular self-timer before — whether that be on your iPhone or your actual camera — you know that normally, you have to hit the self-timer, run to your spot, let it take a photo, and then repeat that motion about 100 times until you get The Shot.
With a shutter release, you can program it many different ways to help you shoot multiple shots without you having to run back and forth to the camera. I set mine up with a 5-second delay (that gives me 5 seconds to get into place after hitting "Start"), about 35-50 shots (that means it will click the shutter button that takes the photos 35-50 times without me having to go back to the camera), and a 1 second interval (this gives me 1 second in-between photos to move my pose).
Instead of trying to explain myself without visuals, I created a video that walks you through my entire process.
If you have any other questions, feel free to direct message me @kbousq!