One of the things that draws me to photography is trying to capture something you see everyday – something completely common or mundane, if you will – in a different way. I’m always looking for that unique angle that catches the eye and draws you in. One of my favourite ways to take Instagram photos these days is from way up top, looking down. Whether it’s a shot of Nicolas sleeping in his crib, wrapping presents on the bed, or sitting on the sofa, I love the perspective of watching the scene unfold as if you were a fly on the ceiling.
I get quite a few questions on how I take these top-down photos on Instagram, so I figured I’d write up a quick how-to post. And good news: My method requires no #InstagramHusband or fancy camera equipment. Just some painters tape and a piece of cardboard. Oh and a free iPhone app.
[ Step 1 ] Fold your piece of cardboard into a little shelf. I just took an Amazon box (I order my entire life off of Amazon) and cut off a strip hence my perfectly rounded sides. (I’m not that OCD.)
[ Step 2 ] Tape your little contraption to the ceiling, place your iPhone on your “shelf”, et voilá, you’ve got yourself a phone holder. It might not look pretty but it gets the job done and doesn’t ruin your ceiling.
[ Step 3 ] If you don’t already have one, make sure to get a self-timer app for your phone. I use Photo Timer+ (free) and it works pretty well. It let’s you set up how many photos you’d like to take and the interval between photos (I do 10 photos with 3 seconds in between). It has a set countdown of only 3 seconds before taking the first photo so you will get some lovely setup shots like these:
There’s probably a better app out there that gives you the option to extend that countdown to let you get into position before it starts snapping away, but I’ve honestly been too lazy to look. This works just fine for me and I just delete the less-than-stellar first couple of photos as I’m getting into place. (If you find a better app, let me know!)
Note: The native iPhone camera lets you self-timer a photo but (as far as I can tell) there’s no way of doing a photo burst (aka taking more than one photo at a time).
That’s it! Easy peasy. I also love that, since the phone isn’t handheld, you don’t need quite as much natural light to get a decent photo. The light in my living room is generally too dark for iPhone photography but these self-timered shots come out pretty decent!