How to take the best Instagram Photos

On Instagram, not every photo is created equally. There are great images, and there are not so great images. I want to make sure none of you ever find yourself on the not-so-great side of Instagram.

Instagram tips

Be picky: First and foremost, Instagram is a curation of your best moments. So go ahead and flaunt your best photos, girl! However, it is best to only post once or twice a day, and try to keep mirror selfies to a minimum.

essieGet Creative: Think of fun and unique ways to take pictures of every day things. Try using fun backgrounds and cool composition to really take your photos to the next level. Don’t be afraid to get inspiration from other Instagrammers. If you search #coffee on Instagram, you will find at least 1,000 unique ways to photograph coffee that you never even thought of!

nycThis might take a while: Capturing the perfect Instagram photo usually requires more than one take  (full disclosure — I take between 7-10 images before I decide on the perfect one). To accommodate all your snapping, it is best to take your picture on the camera app (in square mode) so you can snap multiple photos and choose the best one for Instagram.

Block IslandMake sure the light is right: Bad light can be detrimental to an otherwise great photo. Natural light is always best. I never use flash for Instagram photos as flash can add a forced, staged look to your images (not to mention the risk of zombie eyes *shudder*). Try taking pictures by or near a window for the best light (For a portrait, make sure the light is in front of you, not behind you).

Modifying the focus can also help you make the best use of light. To do this, tap on different places on your camera screen to focus on those areas of the image. This will also change up how much light is allowed into your lens.

photo (1)Make it pretty: Lately, I have been ditching Instagram filters entirely and using their creative tools (click on the little screwdriver on the upper right of the screen to use these.). These features allow you to straighten your image perfectly, and also tweak the brightness, saturation, contrast, shadows, highlights, etc. of the image. I am obsessed with these tools as they help to make my images look just right, and not too filtered. I highly recommend you explore Instagram’s creative tools!

kate spadeThe world is your stage: The best part of Instagram is the part when you get to arrange your stuff into something worth taking a photo of. I like to call these images, “staged photos of random things”. They are fun to do and great practice for getting light and focus right. So get to shooting your random stuff!

Screen shot 2014-08-25 at 3.47.04 PMWipe off your lens: Okay this should have come earlier, but I wanted to end with an obvious bang. You know how sometimes your pictures look like they are dusty and weird? Well it’s probably because your camera lens in dirty. Wipe off you lens before you take your pictures. You can thank me later for that tip.

 

 

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Birthday Lady

full skirt and a crop topIt’s my birthday today! I am old.

details

floral crop top

strappy heels

full red skirt and a crop topShoes: Necessary Clothing (super sale!) | Skirt: Choies (similar) | Top: Express (similar)

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Wearing Out White

white dressLabor Day is oh so soon! So better get your white in while you still can. If I’m honest, I consider this dress off-white. I would totally put a blue blazer over this and where it through Fall.

kate spade pumps

white aline dress

white dress and pearlsShoes: Kate Spade (on sale!!) | Dress: Zara (love this) | Necklace: Kenneth Jay Lane

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I saw the sign

black dress leather detailHere’s a fun story about this dress. I got it a few years ago, and even though I love it and think it is super cute, I rarely wear it because it is impossible to get off. I am not sure what happened with the design of this frock but it has no stretch and this weird, worthless side zipper. So while it is easy to put on, taking it off is always an ordeal to the point where I stress about it the entire time I am wearing it. I like to avoid stress at all costs, so I only wear this dress when it’s absolutely necessary.leather detail black dress

black dress with leather detail

black dress

leather detail black dressShoes: J. Renee (sale!!) | Dress: Zara (old — this one is similar) | Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters (similar)

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A definitive list of the books I read this summer in rank order

So I am really, really, really into reading. I usually read about two or three books a month. I would totally nerd out and read more if I didn’t limit myself to reading only when I am ‘in transit’ (i.e. on the subway or otherwise traveling). I am also, admittedly, a huge book snob. You will never catch me reading any Nicholas Sparks or some ridiculous drivel by a celebrity (except Bossypants). I also don’t really do self-help books much (Though I did like He’s Just Not That Into You). I am a novel/memoir purist to my core, peeps.

Summer is a big reading time for me because I travel a lot and I find myself waiting for the subway to come a lot. Below are the books I read this summer (so far) in order of least favorite to most favorite.

Screen shot 2014-08-11 at 9.19.44 PMNote: I didn’t read this book.

 

11. Under Observation: Okay, I am only 75% through this book. So this might be a premature statement. If you have any interest in true, unbiased stories about mental institutions and psychology, this is a good read. This book is very clinical, though and a little dry (like reading a text book that desperately wants to be cool).

10. When The Nines Roll Over: I am a huge David Benioff fan. His books The 25th Hour and City of Thieves are two of my favorites. So I had to pick up this collection of short stories. Some stories were really, really great — some I got to the end of the story and I was like, ‘uh, what?”. I think longer novels are David’s strong suit. I will stick to those from here on.

9. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: Yo, this book starts off so slooooow. It does heat up (thank ya lawd), but overall this book is a slow burn to an unsurprising end. The story telling is superb and Junot builds characters that are unforgettable. But I actually can’t get over how slow this book starts.

8. The Bell Jar (reread): I hadn’t read this book in so long. It’s a classic, very powerful but still easy to read.

7. Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids: I bought this book because it won the Nobel Prize forever ago. It was intense, but what else would you expect with a title like this?! If you dare, you can read this little book in a day or two — but it will leave you thinking for days after.

6. The Yellow Wallpaper: I borrowed a friend’s Kindle and read this short story on the subway ride home. It is a powerful look at how women with mental illness were treated not so long ago. This book is a definite must-read.

5. We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda: So if you haven’t noticed, my reading choices skew bleak. Not sure why, but they always have. This particular bleak book is a super in-depth look at the Rwandan Genocide. This non-fiction story is eye opening to say the least. It gives a full 360 picture of what happened in Rwanda starting with the disastrous colonization of the country all the way to the aftermath of the horrific genocide hundreds of years later. It is a fascinating and heartbreaking read.

4. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (reread): I have read all the David Sedaris there is to read, but I still have to reread at least one thing by him a season. His story telling never gets old. He is one of the few authors who can make me ‘lol’… loudly… and usually in public.

3. Where’d You Go, Bernadette?: This book is hilarious and sad and heartwarming and so great. I also love how it was written. This is a perfect travel book.

2. Prep (reread): OMG, I loooove this book. It is literally (no joke) like reading about my high school experience (well, the second half of it). If you are a girl and you went to high school and you ever once felt even a little bit like an outsider, you really need to read this one. It’s like the author read your diary and then published it. Fo’ serious.

1. Drown: This was my favorite book of the summer. You know how a book just reaches out and grabs you and you’re just along for the ride? No? Is that just me? Well this book is amazing and a half. I am obsessed with it, and you should really read it. Junot Diaz is just the bees knees.

 

The end.

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Mirrored

mirrored vintage style sunglassesI have officially jumped on the mirrored sunglasses bandwagon. I got these cheapy-cheap ones on Amazon. After a tragic accident with a pair of RayBan aviators, I now know I can’t spend money on sunnies. I break, lose, or otherwise maim most pairs of sunglasses within the first month.

mirrored sunglasses grey sweatshirt long length shorts

mirrored sunglasses

sweatshirt and black long shorts

mirrored sunglassed and a grey sweatshirtShoes: J. Crew Factory (similar) | Shorts: Asos (similar) | Sweatshirt: J. Crew Factory (on sale) | Sunglasses: Amazon

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OMG, it’s time to shop Pre-Fall

It seems like yesterday I was writing this same post last year. This summer has just flown by (way, way, way too fast). But all good things must end.

So guess we gotta start talking about Fall. Blergh.

sweater season

The Essentials

The Non Essentials that are way more fun anyway

  • This dress because you always need a new fancy dress — and girl, you better treat. yo. self.
  • This floppy felt hat because everyone will have one this season, and you want to fit in, don’t you? But seriously, this hat is only $28. Don’t think, just purchase.
  • These flats are just purrrrfect. They are a splurge, but they are cat flats!
  • But wait, this dress is perfect.
  • This crisp white crop top is as classy as it is  perfect.
  • And you can always use another full skirt.

And now for the really impractical

  • This tulle skirt for all the parties you plan to attend this fall.
  • This tee that you can probably really only wear once or twice before you have to retire it.
  • You could just spend all your money on these shoes, too. No judgies.
  • A necklace that’s intense, overpriced, and entirely necessary.

What do you have your eye on? Leave a link to the things you love below.

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