10 Ways to Level Up Your Outfit Photos

Tips, tricks, and apps to level up your outfit photos.

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Before You Start Your Photo Sesh

The pose of someone plotting the perfect outfit photo. Photo by Georgie Hunter/Getty Images
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Know Your Selfie Game-Changers

What's the difference between a selfie and a self-portrait? Nothing, technically, but it is easier to act natural when you aren't posing with your smartphone held aloft. Apps like Sony's PlayMemories, Canon's DSLR Controller, and Nikon's Wireless Mobile Utility connect your phone and your digital camera via Wifi, so you can stick your camera on a tripod, sit down a few feet away, and sneakily tap your phone screen to tinker with your camera's settings and snap pics.

Even light is good light. Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images
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Cell phone cameras are designed to work best in even lighting situations (like subtle shade, which also happens to be super-flattering). If your photo turns out a touch too dark, it's pretty easy to brighten it up in an app like VSCO. Which brings us to our next point!

#NoFilter Is the Best Filter

Amp up those shadows instead! Photo by Georgie Hunter/Getty Images

Dig deep enough in anyone's Instagram feed and you'll hit a layer of 2012 Polaroid corners and Mayfair filters (eventually, we all realized that we look better without the app's approximation of an Edison bulb glow). Most professional photographers steer clear of filters and go straight to Instagram's "Edit" tab. The three most important tools there: Contrast (bring it up 10 or 15 percent to make the brights brighter and the darks darker), Brightness (most images could use a touch), and Shadow (increasing this one a few notches really brings out a photo's details).

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OK, Photo Pro, Here Are Some #OOTD Ideas

Inception #OOTD. Photo by Ryan Duffin


Mix It Up With an Instant Camera

Instax Mini 8 Camera by Fujifilm, $70, target.com.
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A digital photo altered to look like it was taken on instant film = bad idea. A digital photo of actual Polaroids = great idea. You get to show off your outfit from all angles and set up a fun still life.

Get Yourself a Prism

Napping in a rainbow-strewn bed, as you do when you're Solange. Photo via Instagram.com/saintrecord
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Solange may be magical, but we have a feeling she got this cool rainbow eyepatch effect with something we can all buy on Amazon—a prism.

Light Crystal Prism by Tedco, $8, amazon.com.

Wave yours around until you catch a beam of light and focus those rainbow rays on your face (to highlight a new lipstick), or hands (to show off that ring stack), or neck (to shine a spotlight on your choker).

Recruit Some Imaginary Friends

Meet Pam. Photo by Ryan Duffin

Dilemma: you're excited about your new accessories, but you're not feeling camera-ready. Props are your best friend when you want to tell your followers that you finally bought those sunglasses you've been stalking, but a selfie just won't cut it. Tropical leaves are great here. This one is named Pam.

Play With Props

Yes, they actually grow like this! Photo by Ryan Duffin

When is a baby pineapple not just a baby pineapple? When it's a ruse to show off your fresh mani.

Turn It Around

When your Frank Ocean merch is DIY. Photo via Instagram.com/chantagold

Sometimes, the antidote to social media's endless stream of shoefies and dressing room selfies is just to take a deep breath, hand your phone to a friend, and have your buddy snap a pic of the back of your outfit. Especially if the back of your outfit involves hand-embroidery and you happen to be standing on the edge of a serene forest

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