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The World's Okayest Reptile Photographer

by Kyra Lopez about a year ago in how to
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How I edit my Instagram photos

Migi, my Redfoot tortoise, enjoying the warm welcome of springtime!

Ever since I created my reptile Instagram page, @socratesandmigi_, I realized that my photos were a little...mediocre. They certainly lacked in comparison to all the cute pet pictures that I constantly saw online. Whenever I scrolled down, most of these pet accounts had perfect lighting, cute clothes, creative backgrounds, and vivid colors all while possessing immaculate quality.

For the longest time, I was unsure of where to begin for the improvement of my photography skills. Day after day, I would see incredible setups of pet lifestyles that made me want to produce the same level of content.

There's just one problem: Im broke and a little bit overwhelmed!

Amongst those reasons, my editing skills do not excel past a basic understanding of iphone filter usage. I STILL have very little experience in photoshop and other mediums to help my cause.

Naturally, I am very jealous of those who could edit things to incredible lengths!

But... how could I recreate similar content with an old iphone and no tools?

I had to think out of the box.

Here are some ways I decided to change up my photos and make it look fabulous as a level zero beginner:

1. Need Props? The Target dollar section is your friend!

Instead of scouring the internet for expensive backdrops or tools, try to craft some of your own! The way I try to make my pictures unique is by brainstorming a theme on the spot. By using ordinary finds, it becomes easier to begin reinvinting them for the camera.

For example, I found some glitter paper sheets and cheap paintbrushes at Target. Around this time, they had mini fake greenery and other items that I could use for one of my favorite themes: cottagecore!

Hence, the creation of fairy wings! All you need is a pair of scissors and some tape to make these come to life!

No breaking of your bank account is needed.

Mr. Tusk, a garden variety fairy!

2. Mini Ring Lights

If youre like me and live in a room with terrible lighting, have no fear! The mini ring light from Amazon is here! In the search engine for Amazon, I typed in "phone-ring light" and ton of options popped up. Narrow these down to a range under $10, then pick one to your liking. Personally, I got a clip on light for $8. It was super easy, and came with adjustable settings.

Now I dont have to look for more expensive ring light setups! Nor, do I use my boring flash option on the camera when my torts are getting a photoshoot.

Look at the difference between the two below. I used no extensive editing besides a quick light change. To make the colors on my ring pop, I slightly tweaked the contrast, which can be found under your usual photo edit settings.

Even though its not much, it still looked like a great start to me!

Before

After

3. Play with Shadows

I cant get enough of intense shadows in pictures, but trying to make the background look cohesive is a bit challenging. If I make it too dark, it cancels out everything and the lack of detail can be unflattering.

However, if you change the focus using your built-in edit options for the iphone, this can draw an eye to the main person or pop of color. Here, I put the focus on my brown shoes and my tortoise. The colors in her shell pop, and my shoes stick out amongst the bright green grass.

Waiting for the right moment outside, my shadow was constantly changing. I was patient until it became the darkest background possible. This occurred when the sun was getting slightly blocked by the clouds, and proceeded to take pictures then!

Once this was done, I increased the contrast only slightly and thus created something that looked more intense to the viewer!

Here is my best go at it:

Before

After

Hope these easy tips help a struggling pet-ogprahper!

how to

About the author

Kyra Lopez

ghost with a keyboard ~

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