Want to step up your Instagram game? Who doesn’t!
When it comes to taking photos of products for Instagram, there are some angles that just work better than others. Maybe your product looks incredible from a three-quarter view but completely uninteresting straight on.
Your feed is only as good as the product photographs you take, so even if you know the basics, like how to use a tripod and the value of a light box, you can make your photos really shine by using the right angle.
Front Three-Quarter View
This view is at a slight downward angle. For example, you arrange some products on a flat surface, such as a table, perhaps propping some up on the wall behind, and take the image so that the angle is from the top. While the viewer can’t see the back of the items, she can see three-quarters–top, front and side. This is an extremely popular view for product shots that you’ll see frequently on Instagram. It works well with groupings of products that go well together, such as the example of journals and writing tools in the image below.
To get the right angle, you may want to kneel on a stool or stand on a chair and shoot from a slightly downward angle. To edit these shots, make sure there are no strange shadows cast across the products and crop anything outside the frame of the products.
A flat lay is a top down shot. Start with a flat surface, such as a table, counter or tray. Create your background and then lay the products flat on the surface. Because you are shooting straight down, don’t be afraid to arrange the products at different angles or to add a bit of texture by using velvet or lace as your surface covering/background. A nice pop of color can go far, too!
Because you are taking the photo from a birds-eye view, it can be difficult to get the angle just right. If you stand too far away, the items might look tiny and if you get too close, they may look huge. You may want to take these photos with a phone or camera that has a built-in grid system. Otherwise, take the photos from several angles so you can be certain everything looks in proportion during edits. You may need to stand on a ladder or chair and arrange your items on the floor to get the right angle, since the shots need to be straight down.
If you want your photo to look organized, a straight on shot is a good choice. The background should be very straight with clean lines. This angle is great if you have an item you can attach to or put against a wall. Some examples would be framed paintings or jewelry hanging on a hook. This angle is very popular in interior design photography.
The camera lens looks straight on the subject, so this is probably one of the easier photos to take. The trick is going to be in the setup. For example, if you are 5 feet, 6 inches, then you don’t want to hang a framed photo at 5 feet and take the shot–unless you’re planning to stoop. Instead, set the products up so they are at eye level to you. You will then be able to use a tripod or monopod to easily take the shot.
When editing a straight on shot, crop any white space above or below the product so the focus is on the items you’re trying to highlight.
“Low angle” is a worm’s eye, as opposed to bird’s eye, angle in photography. It’s typically taken straight on from the product, but also has the angle of the floor or flat surface and is typically shot with the camera pointing slightly upward.
Low angle shots often turn out better if you use a wider lens. A lens in the 10-22mm range for 1.6-crop factor cameras works quite well. You can also keep your camera level by placing it slightly up from the floor, such as on a hardcover book.
When editing, pay close attention to angles and see if you need to adjust the rotation of the photo by a few degrees to correct your horizon line and fully highlight the product.
Some extremely small items might call for a macro angle. This is an extreme close-up. It is easiest to take this type of photo with a DSLR camera with some power and the ability to swap out lenses, but you can take a macro photo with an iPhone by tapping on the screen on the area where you’d like focus.
Essentially, you are magnifying the object so it appears larger than it actually is and the viewer can see details. One issue with macro photography is shake, so you’ll definitely want to use a tripod or flat surface for your camera.
When uploading to Instagram, you can use the tilt shift setting to emphasize blur factor.
Out of all these views, the three-quarters and straight-on views are most popular because that is how we typically view the world around us. However, don’t be limited by this. Use the angle that presents your products in the best light possible.