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How to Get Your Non-Photographer Buddy to Shoot Your Travel OOTDs

Instagram boyfriends and friends alike, take note.
How to Get Your Non-Photographer Buddy to Shoot Your Travel OOTDs Instagram boyfriends and friends alike, take note.

Documentation is a vacation requisite. It’s a rule that does not choose its location—be it a secluded island, a trip around Europe, or a countryside village in Asia. Weaving a creative travel diary as you make your journey is not even meant to satisfy the “pics or didn’t happen” rule. Rather, it is a chance to relive the experience. Because let’s face it, the souvenir shop’s surplus key chains and the sand-filled bottles fall short of capturing the memories. Luckily, this world dominated by hypermedia has made the #travelgram photo the modern-day memento. 

Nothing gives you a piece of a faraway paradise than your own virtual postcard. But for the nomadic fashion girl, it is not enough that the getaway photoset includes the tourist spots, local delicacies, or the witty hashtag to match. In her case, the outfit holds the same importance as the destination. There is something about the artistry of seeing your ensemble come to life against a foreign landscape and how the elements of where you were juxtapose perfectly with what you were wearing to tell a story.

However, those with an eye for fashion are not always blessed with travel buddies who have the same eye for their aesthetic. I can attest that there is a certain sense of frustration that comes with a travel OOTD gone to waste. So instead of letting your disappointment dampen your vacation high, why not equip your companion with the skills to lens your outfit? 

Below, we’ve culled tips on how you can help your non-photographer travel mate (help you, really) capture your look. But before you begin, please remember to ask nicely. 

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Have a shot list ready


If your outfits were meticulously styled to match the visual theme of the tourist attraction you’re headed to, then I can ascertain that you already have a creative direction in your head. In order to achieve the look you’re going for, prepare a shot list beforehand prior to asking your travel buddy to take your photo. This will help them have a better understanding of what angles and mood to set the picture in without your instructions getting lost in translation. Your curated pegs can either be in an album in your phone, or compiled in a joint Pinterest board with your prospective photographer. (Excessive? Maybe. Effective? Absolutely.)

Choose an interesting background

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Remember, this is a vacation. It’s not everyday that an iconic monument or a chromatic line of houses is only a few blocks away from you. Take advantage of both your outfit and your scenery by choosing an unconventional background. Other than highlighting the landmark, make sure you pick a spot with elements such as graphic lines or landscape architecture that complement your ensemble.

(Kindly) ask your photographer to squat



Unfortunately, I wasn’t kidding. There is a saying that goes, “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” I can confirm there is little truth to that statement because I am surrounded by photographers in my midst yet I am in no way qualified to be one. As per one of the most creative shutterbugs I know, Heidi Sarol, a squatting photographer makes for a modelesque subject. Apparently, this is a fool-proof trick to create the illusion of longer legs and works wonders on anyone. 

Play with the shadows



Be the shadow play in this world of flat lay. It adds depth, drama, and texture to the shot. And that is an undisputed creative fact. Now the question is, how does one catch the shadows on a mobile phone? Manipulate the manual focus and press the most highlighted or brightest portion of the photo then dial down the exposure icon accordingly. This will allow the shadows to reflect all the way. Focusing on the darker spots would only wash out the entire image. 

Look for the light



While the level of technology mobile phones today exhibit is still quite astounding, I would personally like to see a future where the camera, sans sunlight, does not result in a dark and gritty picture. The best phone-captured photo is always a result of natural lighting. For superb OOTD results, make sure your travel buddy takes the image closest to the light. And for indoor circumstances, opt to pose by the window.

Don’t zoom in 



For a clear and crisp shot, it is imperative that whoever is traveling with you does not make use of the zoom in option. Instead, ask your companion to move closer and get a better view of your look. Phone cameras have a digital zoom instead of an optical zoom. This means that as the camera lens approaches a tighter distance, the quality of the image significantly lessens. And that’s a blunder that can’t even be redeemed by a filter.

Shoot from a different perspective



The same outfit against the same background can be shot multiple times. Take advantage of the elements of the setting around you and experiment on the vantage point of your photo. Get a distinct and ingenious portrait by asking your friend to take your picture through the peepholes of the stair railing or with a slight view of blurred foliage in the corners. 

Turn on the grid



One of the core basics in the world of photography is the rule of thirds. It is a composition technique that segments the photo into three lines that laterally shoot across met by three lines formed vertically. Majority of phones have a camera that features a grid, which makes this method easy to follow. The rule dictates that the main elements you wish to be emphasized must hit the points of intersection. With the grid in check, your travel buddy can guarantee that the most stylish parts of your ensemble are not only within the frame but are also rightfully highlighted. 

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