5 Tips for Taking Dreamy Instagram Photos

Do you find it impossible to create dreamy photos like your favourite Instagrammers? Are you struggling to create a feed that is both engaging and eye-catching?

In all honesty, I had the same issues too when I started out. Everyone's photos looked so natural and easy, but why did mine always look so flat and boring? Over time, I learned that these magical photos don't just happen candidly; they actually require a little bit of work!

Every post us Instagrammers share on our feeds is usually the end result of a creative process which includes planning, execution and post-production. Sounds complicated, but I promise you it's not rocket science! There are only 5 main elements that make up 80% of the final product.

If you want to learn what they are and receive a special gift from me, read this post until the end ? So here are my tips:

1. Capture Soft and Enchanting Light

Lighting is one of the most important elements for any photo. For most pictures, the best time of the day to shoot is during the first and last hours of daylight. This will give you a soft and glowing light as the sun rises or dips below the horizon.

Some of my favourite pictures were shot during the early morning hours of the day or just before sunset. No matter how hard it is to wake up at 5 am to shoot, or fight for a prime location during sunset, it has always been worth it!

Magic hour lasts for a little less than an hour so it's essential to plan ahead. I use the Magic Hour app and SunSurveyor app on my phone. The Magic Hour app gives me the exact start and end times of the magic hour and the SunSurveyor App shows me where the sun sets and rises. Both of these apps allow me to plan my location and concept the day before the shoot and not leave anything up to chance.

2. Find a Mesmerising Location

The location you pick can make or break your picture. That's why I often look to nature or ancient architecture as the backdrop for my photos. There is something so magical about being surrounded by a field of wildflowers or a historic building that has weathered through the storms for centuries.

3. Pick an Elegant Pose

Did you know that 55% of our communication is done through body language? Consequently, only 38% are tone of voice and 7% are what we're actually saying. That's how powerful body language is!

Knowing this, it makes sense that the way you pose for a photo can tell a story without saying a single word. If you want to shoot a dreamy picture, try to include a sense of wonder through how you pose. The best way to achieve this is by remembering a moment when you were truly inspired by something. Another way to improve your expressions is by practising in front of a mirror, it feels awkward in the beginning but you'll become great at controlling your face muscles incredibly fast.

In the beginning you might find that it's easier to not face the camera and focus on your gestures instead.

When posing your limbs make sure your arms and hands move softly and gracefully. Lastly, keep in mind that your feet should be pointed for a more elegant look.

4. Tell an Inspiring Story

If a picture says a thousand words then your job as a photographer is to capture it and tell its story.

It's important for you to think about the protagonist of your story, her hopes and dreams, and where she is and what she does. Simply put, you need to create the feelings you want your audience to feel when they look at your photo.

To do this, you need to direct your model to show certain facial expressions or interact with different elements in the picture. Consequently, everything up to this point, the lighting, the location, the pose contributes to the story and need to support it.

Keep in mind, anything that doesn't support your story can be a distraction and you should try your best to remove it.

Telling a story is the most difficult part of being a photographer, but it's also the most rewarding. It requires a ton of creative energy, but when done well, these beautiful memories will live on forever.

5. Use a Dreamy Editing Filter

If you've followed my tips up to this point, you'll have a unique picture that tells a story through its light, location and the model's expressions. However, chances are the picture you see on the screen doesn't radiate the aura you had in mind.

This is where post-production comes into play. Tools like the free Lightroom CC mobile app are amazing helpers to tease out the final bit of magic that is hidden in your photo.

Here is the trick: when editing, opt for soft shadows and lower contrast. Play around with the tint and HSL (Hue, Saturation, Luminance) options to add hints of purple, pinks or greens and reduce distracting colours that don't match the colour palette of your shot.

Once you've developed your own dreamy editing style, you can simply save your editing settings as a preset and reuse them for future images. If you have no idea how to edit at all, you can purchase presets for a quick and easy way to up your editing game. If you love my edits you can get my presets here.