Tips Archives - Page 4 of 12 - Photojojo

10 Editing Tips for Making Killer Instagram Videos

Extra vids for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

When it comes to movies, editing is kind of a big deal.

Without it, we wouldn’t have twist endings. (Looking at you, M. Night.) We wouldn’t have out-of-order movies to entertain our brains (Marty McFly 4ever). We wouldn’t even have beginnings, middles, and ends!

Frankly, movies would be pretty weird and probably not very good at all without editing.

Thanks to Instagram’s 4.1 update, you can now upload videos to Instagram, meaning a whole new world of video editing has opened up!

Sound, filters, transitions, sequencing — there is so much you can do to an Instagram video before uploading it. And awesomely, you can do it all on your phone.

Consider this guide an editing workshop that’ll turn your Instagram videos into cinematic artworks served 15 seconds at a time.

10 Tips for Editing Instagram Videos

Use Computer Errors to Make Your Photos Amazing.

Photos: Maria_Naverno, JuanCarlos87, Stasyaposhkute, Brianvw1, Juliefab.

Datamoshing sounds kinda like that fun thing you used to do when Slipknot came on the radio in 2002.

While pushing some punks around is totally fun, pushing pixels is fun and less likely to get you elbowed in the face.

So how do you push the pixels around in your photos? Glitché. It’s an app that lets you warp your photos using computer errors and bugs.

You get to pick from eight different types of glitches, each of which you can manipulate to your liking. Swirl, tap, and paint different effects like slit-scanning, 3D renderings (!!!), psychedelic color inversions, and datamoshing.

Within a few minutes of your first glitches, you’ll see why some call Glitché “the Instagram for digital psychedelia.”

In other glitch news, Year of the Glitch is selling glitch art blankets (Thnx, Doc!).

Glitché — Turn Phone Photos into Glitch Art [Thnx, Darby!]

p.s. We’re hiring for an amazing opening at Photojojo. Apply and learn more to be our Editorial & Community Lead.

Dog Days of Summer: Tips for Shooting in the Midday Sun

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Whoever said “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen” probably wasn’t aware we would be making such a liberal interpretation of the saying.

Heat comes from sun. Summer sun is bright. Bright light is tricky to photograph.

It’s no secret that bright midday sun is one of the more challenging types of light to expose properly. We’re talking blown out highlights, harsh shadows, squinty subjects… oh my!

Don’t sweat it, friends. This guide will show you how to get the best shots in the midday sun.

We can wrangle those top-down rays with quick easy fixes to soften harsh light, resolving your bright light issues before you even have time to hashtag them.

How else are you going to document that tan you’ve been working on all summer?

Pro Tips for Midday Shooting

Why It’s Cool

Summer is a great season for shutterbugs… between the golden mornings and evenings we’ve got, like, 2 extra hours of daylight to bask and snap in. And nothing says summer like bright, colorful, high-contrast photos! So why are you spending this extra shooting time inside?

Light is everything to photographers, so take the camera outside and stop actin’ like it’s not. It’s always high noon somewhere, so you might as well turn down those ISO settings and learn how to beat the heat.

Use these tips and tools to improve your lighting skills by shaping, bouncing, blocking, and even adding it back afterwards. You’ll perfect your sharp shootin’ so you can keep exposing when bright light is unavoidable, anytime of year.


  • Any kind of camera
  • Lens filters – polarized, neutral density (ND), or your own DIY
  • Fill light – a reflector, foam board, or flash
  • Shade
  • Photo editing software or app
  • A friend or model



Think of lens filters like a sweet pair of shades for your camera. They come in all shapes and sizes (including phone sized), so no man or machine will be left squinting in the sun.

Generally – exposing for bright daylight requires some combination of small aperture setting and high shutter speed. Your camera’s sunnies… or, er… filters are one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of light entering the lens and re-gain creative control in harsh lighting conditions.

Yep. That means shallow depth of field and slow shutter speeds are no longer out of the question! Since they’ll reduce your exposure by a few stops – neutral density (ND), polarized, or DIY filters will be your best bets for softening a case of the midday brights.

Need a FILTER hack? Try using your own sunglasses as a filter on your phone, point & shoot, or DSLR (depending on the size of your lens). Play with the composition a little and use your glasses as a frame within your photos.



There are two great ways to fill in and break up harsh shadows caused by overhead light: Bouncing light and flashing it.

Yeah… we said “flash”.  Sure, the concept of fighting light with more light may sound like an idea from another galaxy, but it’s actually necessary to get the right exposure on a backlit subject. Oh, and diffusing said flash will help to produce a more flattering end result!

Similarly, a reflector or white foam board will bounce the light, filling in shadows caused by an overhead light source (like that giant one we call “the sun”.) Pretty much any flat, white object can bounce light. You could even use a pocket-sized version in your phoneography.

Need a FILL hack? Look down! Lightly colored surfaces (like sand or concrete) will bounce a nice glow on your subjects. Scout out a spot near one of these bright patches when you’re lacking the extra arms to hold a reflector in place.



When you’re getting scorched or just plain fed up, scour the area for a patch of shade. It can be manmade or au naturale, just watch out for spotty light! Buildings and trees are a good place to start your quest.

When there’s no shade to be sought, there are a couple easy ways to create your own. Keep an umbrella or a sheet on hand for such occasions. Not only will you soften that pesky light, you may even earn yourself a cool nickname like “MacGyver of the Shadows”.

Once your shade is in check, position your subject in front of an equally shaded background (near the edge of the shadow they’re under). Now when you shoot you’re getting the best of the shade AND the light. Like a boss.

Need a SHADE hack? Try using a bed sheet as a scrim. Throw it over something tall and place your subject beneath it. Or have a photoshoot while your beach towel is hanging out to dry!


beforeKinda like a bad sunburn – there’s not much you can do after the fact to fix it an overexposed picture. No… not even with aloe vera.

It’s much easier to recover underexposed areas of a picture using photo editing software. That’s like photography SPF, dude.

To underexpose photos on your phone, tap the screen to focus on a bright area of your shot before hitting the shutter. Snapseed and VSCOcam are great apps that will help you edit your photo. You can change your exposure, adjust fill, and fix your photo’s highlights all from the comfort of your palm.

When shooting from your camera, play it safe by bracketing for exposure, underexposing back-lit subjects, and shooting RAW.

Two great ways editing software can help recover a photo taken in tricky bright light are:

1) Adjusting the levels to take back the shadows in the foreground of your photo, and

2) Using layers and masking tools to combine 2 images of a correctly exposed foreground (with an overexposed background), and vice versa.

Taking It Further

  • When you salvage important details (like eyes), deliberate overexposure can give your photos a surreal, dreamy look.
  • When your background is interesting and noteworthy, silhouettes are a great way to add drama and tell a story.
  • Some filters can reduce your exposure enough stops to create a really long exposures… wait for it… in the DAYTIME. Check it these out and give it a go!

Jenny Sathngam is a tutorial writer/photographer for Photojojo. She is based in Austin, TX – where cloudless, triple-digit summers last most of the year and shooting in the midday sun is more practice than theory. (Model: Sanetra Stewart)

How to Photograph a Kiss without the Awkwardness

Is this real life or are you in a Taylor Swift music video? You’re in the middle of one of the best kisses of your life!

Amidst the fireworks, stars, and confetti, you catch a glimmer off a camera lens five inches from your face, followed by the sound of a shutter. Moment. Ruined.

Cameras might be notorious kiss-ruiners, but they don’t have to be! Our pal Haley Sheffield is a fantastic wedding photographer who’s a master at capturing kisses that look real, natural, and downright beautiful.

Haley’s tips will show you how to get your couple comfortable and how to direct them to get the best kissing photo possible. Most couples aren’t used to kissing in front of a camera, but they’ll be on-camera kissers in no time.

Now you can have the best kiss of your life and catch it on camera, too.


Pro-Tips for Shooting Better Instagram Videos

Extra vids for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

“Well that’s weird,” you thought. “My Instagram photos are moving.”

What you thought might be the coolest side effect of downing too much coffee turned out to be Instagram’s latest major app update — Instagram video!

Just when you were totally kicking butt on Vine, Instagram video showed up with its 15 filters, extra long video length and the fact that you get to share your videos with all your friends on Instagram.

Now is the time to put your cinematographic moves into high gear, which is why we’re here to bestow on you, dear readers, a heap of Instagram video pro-tips.

Learn how to edit your shots, get better sound, and make your friends say “ooooh” at the creative ways you’ll be playing with video, all in the confines of 15 seconds.

Now you can sip your coffee with ease ’cause all you need is a tap to focus.

Photojojo’s Guide to Instagram Video

p.s. We’re hiring for an amazing opening at Photojojo. We’re looking to re-invent what/how/where we publish online, and we’re seeking one amazing somebody to lead the charge. Learn more and apply for our Editorial & Community Lead.

p.p.s. Tell friends! READ MORE

Last Day to Update Your RSS Reader! RIP Google Reader

After today, Google Reader’s officially gone.

It’s a sadface situation (Google Reader was there for you day-in, day-out!), but you know what’s even more sadface?

Not being able to keep up with all of the best Photojojo stuff! Like our DIY projects, guides, photo inspiration, and new store goodies.

Good thing it’s an easy fix! All you have to do is switch to a new reader.

What other readers are out there?

Digg just made an awesome new reader.

Feedly‘s a good one, too.

Both will automatically switch your entire Google feed in one click.

How do I add Photojojo to my RSS feed?

To do it manually, log in to your reader. You’ll see an “add” or “+” button.

Simply click on that button. Then copy & paste this URL:

If you’re using Feedly, just hit this button! follow us in feedly Now wait for confetti to fall from the ceiling.

Wait, what’s an RSS feed/reader?

It’s a way of staying informed with updates happening on Photojojo’s site (and other sites).

Just list which websites you want to keep an eye on, and your RSS reader will show you the most recent posts from those sites all in one place.

You can get fancy and categorize them, or keep it simple and have them in one steady scroll. Read more about RSS.

How to Make a Mini Light Studio Using School Supplies

When school’s out, most kids are thinkin’ “Oh man, summer’s here!”

Us? We’re thinkin’ “What are we gonna do with all these binders???”

Staring at binders all summer long is no fun, so our buddies Chris Rutter and Jeff Meyer (of Digital Camera World) showed us how to turn them into a sweet light tent — perfect for casting beautifully diffused light onto your photo subjects.

That means your photos won’t have harsh shadows from the sun, and your camera will catch all of your subject’s details.

Everyone has a binder or two at home, so you can start this project today!

Plus, this portable light tent gives you great lighting on flowers, insects, and other small stuff without having to pluck them out of the ground.

Throw it in your bag, and you’ve got a mini studio wherever you go this summer.

How to Turn Binders into a Light Tent READ MORE

The Best Tips & Tools for Freelance Photographers

[Today’s guide comes from awesome photographer and Photojojo pal, Helena Price!]

Being a photographer is regarded as one of the coolest jobs on the planet.

That said, there’s a lot that goes into running a successful photography biz. Making good photos is just the beginning.

This year, I made the jump from my office job to becoming a full-time freelance photo-taker, and I’ve been lucky enough to do some really fun photo work for brands that I love (including Photojojo!).

These jobs don’t just fall into your lap. There’s an endless amount of helpful tools and resources out there for freelance photographers – you’ve just gotta go out there and find them.

After spending hours digging through the interwebs, asking freelance friends and compiling everything I’ve learned, I’ve put together this great beginners’ list of things to read/use/do if you’re making the jump into freelance photography.

Great Tips & Tools for Freelance Photogs



Three Tricks for Faking Depth of Field in Your Photos

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

There was a time when you’d want to stare at a photo for hours but couldn’t quite put your finger on why.

Then you taught yourself a little bit about photography and realized it was a photo’s dreamy depth of field that reeled you in — razor sharp details with a background that slowly fades to a wonderfully creamy blur.

To get really fantastic depth of field, photographers invest in pricey lenses. The good news is there are ways to create the illusion of depth of field without forking over the moola.

We’ll show you three totally accessible tools that’ll help you get a similar effect and will be fun to experiment with, too!

How to Fake Depth of Field

p.s. WE ARE HIRING A WEB DEVELOPER. If you love photography and San Francisco and codes, APPLY HERE.


7 Photo Projects to Start on January 1st

Photo credit: Melina Souza

As soon as the ball drops and you’re done kissing your sweetheart, you are probably already wondering: What in the world am I gonna do in 2013?

How about starting one of these seven photo projects with the New Year? Project 365 is a classic choice, but you might want to peruse these twists on that classic long term photo project as well.

Find something just right for you this year, no matter what sort of commitment you’re looking for. Take a peek at these ideas and select the perfect one to help your creative juices flow like champagne on New Year’s Eve.

7 Project Ideas to Start off the New Year

p.s. We’re re-posting our most favorited Tweets of the year! Follow us on Twitter to see what our best photography projects, stories, and tips of 2012 were. READ MORE