There are many things to hate about the new Instagram algorithm (and I’m sure most Instagrammers could rattle off a list a mile long), but one thing that I love about it (yep, I said love!) is that it has forced me to be more creative with the photos I take. I used to post mainly lifestyle shots, aka non-staged (well apart from the throwing the mess out of the frame lol), just everyday moments with my two kids. But then the algorithm changes happened and posts were being seen by fewer and fewer people. I was able to stay relatively on top of the algorithm for the first year but then, this past June, I took a hit as well and, no matter what I did, my engagement kept going down and my growth more or less stopped. Even if I posted the types of shots that people used to love (even just a couple of weeks earlier!) it was no good. My photos never got picked up and promoted in the explore feed which, ultimately, is where you need to be to grow and keep your engagement high (read more about how to grow your account organically in my 25 tips post here).
To cut a long story short (the long version is for an updated IG growth post I’ve got in the works – stay tuned!), I started trying more creative photos over the summer and they are what helped me get back on my “Instagram feet”, growth and engagement wise. So now I’m always looking for new + creative ways to take photos and something that I landed on (thank you Pinterest!) is rotated perspective photography. I love, love, love giving people something to think about when they look at my photos – a “wait, what?…” moment, if you will. And this style of photography does just that! When I post one of these yoga photos, I always get so many questions asking how the heck I managed this shot (especially when I write that it isn’t Photoshopped!). Quite a few people have suggested I do a tutorial post, so here it is!
So far I’ve just done yoga photos (because those are so much fun with Isabelle) but this style of photo can be applied to so many different “poses”. The whole setup and taking photos takes me about 15 minutes from start to finish. The first time I tried, it of course took a lot longer but now I’ve done a few and know which items work and how I need to place them, so it’s really not that difficult of a shot for me.
[ Step 1 ] Tape photo backdrops to your wall + floor
This is entirely optional, of course. I’ve seen a lot of rotated perspective photos that show the actual floor as the wall and vice versa. Personally I love to make it a little trickier on the eye so I use photo backdrops to achieve a truly rotated perspective. I have this seamless white backdrop (also available in Canada here), which is basically a giant roll of thick paper that I’ve cut and laid side by side to create double the width. For the wood floor, I have this backdrop (can’t find this particular one on the US amazon site, but they have plenty of other wood backdrop options). It’s not the best quality but it was cheap, doesn’t wrinkle too badly + looks fine in a photo. Everything is taped to the wall / floor with standard painter’s tape.
[ Step 2 ] Set up a small piece of furniture to trick the eye
I always use a side table or stool with a couple of items on top to truly give the illusion that this photo is taken right side up. By far my most frequent question (after how I managed this shot) is how in the world I got the bottle and candle in the photo. My solution? Kids blocks! (Bet you didn’t expect that one haha.) The blocks my kids have include this ingenious bridge piece that works really well for holding rounded objects in place (see the photo above). I can only use very specific pieces to hold up like this because of the whole centre of gravity thing but an empty water bottle and candle work well. I’m sure flat rather than rounded pieces will work really well here too, I just love that rounded pieces are even more confusing than flat pieces, so I’ve only used round so far. (Clearly I’m all about confusing people! Haha.) I use the blocks to raise the top of the side table a bit too (so that all four legs are on the wall).
[ Step 3 ] Lay down some “wall” art
This one is pretty easy since it just means laying things down on the floor. I love using a letter board to write a little message and then I’ll add some mini house shelves / other artwork / etc. Just make sure that you will fit around / underneath your wall art! I actually use my camera’s iPhone app (see step 4) to preview my setup and make sure everything looks straight and is in the frame and that Isabelle and I will both fit underneath.
[ Step 4 ] Tape your camera to the ceiling
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ll know I love taping cameras to the ceiling (ha!) – check out my top down photo tutorial or my how to take self-portraits with kids post for more details on how I make this work, but essentially it’s a little cardboard shelf that I tape to the ceiling with painter’s tape (one of my most used photo taking “accessories” :P) and I then use my Sony’s iPhone app to preview the image and then press the shutter remotely.
[ Step 5 ] Have fun!
Try different poses to see what you like / what works in the space. I love having my phone app to see the photos without having to get up every time. Often I’ll have Isabelle sit there and press the button (which she loves to do) and then show me the result before I get her in the frame (and the phone just outside of it). Some poses work, some not so much. It’s all about practicing and seeing what you end up liking.
That’s it! As always, if you have any questions please leave me a comment below. Or if there are any other photo / Instagram tutorials that you’d be interested in seeing, I’d love to hear what those might be.