With the rise in sneaker culture and the evident flexing of sneaker heads on Instagram, it is important you get the perfect shot of your kicks.
The reason you’d want the perfect shot could be varied. Maybe to build your follower base of hypebeasts or just to show off your collection of kicks.
Here are a few pointers to get you guys started on the journey of curating some great sneaker shots on your Instagram.
- Make sure the sneakers are fresh : Nobody wants to see scuffed, dirty or creased sneakers. Not unless they are Vans or Converse. You need to ensure your kicks are clean as fuck before you can shoot them. What I do every time I get a new pair is first shoot the unboxing and stills and then slip them on. That way, I don’t have to do no touch up or heavy editing to clean them up after the shoot. Same goes with laces. How you tie them is critical and if they are flat laces you don’t want them all twisted up.
- Use good equipment to shoot : Although an iPhone camera works just fine to get your sneaker shots, using a DSLR expands your range of possibilities. You get to change the settings on a DSLR like ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed which help improve the quality of the image. While a lot of people might think shooting on Auto mode can still get you the same results, that isn’t really the case. Auto mode over compensates at times for the light available and thereby the images end up lacking depth.
- Time and location : I prefer shooting at the crack of dawn because the light is perfect when the sun rises and also when it is about to set. Any time after 10 in the morning and before 4 in the evening, casts harsh shadows and ruins the background of the image. Called the golden hours, right after sunrise and before sunset is perfect to shoot. In terms of location, I would recommend shooting with contrasts. You don’t want your sneaker to blend with the background. And at the same time, it is critical that your location is not messy and has too many distractions. The eye of the viewer should be naturally drawn to your sneaker and not the background. If you are feeling lucky and have experimented a lot with daylight shots, then try some in a studio with controlled lighting or some night shots.
- Angles : When you shoot, angles are what matter the most. You can’t shoot a sneaker standing up. The photographer will need to drop down to the level of the sneaker. So if it is on the ground, then he/she would need to be lying down to capture the perfect shot. Also, what is recommended is either shooting a full side profile or shooting it from 45 degrees in the front or back. That is when you get a proper view of the entire sneaker almost. Full frontal shots of the toe box are alright to show the details but they come only after the side and 45 degree profile pictures are done.
- Editing : Editing the images to attain the right colours of the sneakers and bring out the details is an important post shoot activity. This enables you to get the feel the sneakers just right. At the same time, over editing and excessive use of filters is not desirable because it only makes the image too noisy and takes away from the experience of the viewer.
- Bring in some fun : Instagram is inundated with sneaker images these days. Everyone with a Yeezy Boost or Jordans has images on feet in shorts or joggers and your images won’t really stand out. Sure, they may be appealing but to stand out, you need to get creative. Do some levitation shots or variations of the jump shot. Throw in some fun effects to add to the appeal. Something your followers or the Instagram universe haven’t seen before.
- Time of upload and hashtags : The best time to upload your images is when your feed is constantly being updated. You might have just finished editing your best sneaker image on a late Monday night and dying to upload it. But if the rest of your followers are all asleep, then it defeats the purpose. At the same time, while you upload that picture when your feed is active it gets viewed by all of your existing followers. If you want to catch the attention of the sneaker community, the use of appropriate hashtags is critical.
So there you go folks, some useful pointers on how to curate your sneaker collection on Instagram. Keep at it and who knows, eventually your shots may get featured by Hypebeast!
Sneaker images by Jagath Venkat and Vishal Dey for Bowties and Bones.
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