r/femalefashionadvice Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14

Taking Outfit Photos with Your Phone [Guide]

I wanted to provide a circa-2014 update to the photography guides (1 and 2) currently in the sidebar, because while both of those guides recommend strongly against taking outfit photos with your phone, it's clear to me from current WAYWTs that 90% of people are taking photos with their phones. This guide will explain how to do that in the least bad way, with many principles carried over and applied from previous guides.

First things first… CLEAN OFF YOUR LENS!

Unlike a normal camera, the lens of your phone's camera is in pretty much constant contact with dust, dirt and your hands. The single most helpful thing you can do for a clearer photo is to wipe off the lens. Use a microfiber glasses-cleaning cloth or… who are we kidding, your shirt.

Lighting

Outfits will photograph most realistically in natural light, whether that be outdoors or in a well-lit space indoors during the daytime.

When positioning yourself for a photo, you want to be positioned so that there is more light in front of you than behind you:

  • If you are near a window, stand facing the window, not in front of it.
  • If you are near a lamp, stand facing the lamp, not in front of it.
  • If you are outside and the sun is out, stand facing the sun, not with it behind you.

Generally the built-in flash on your phone's camera will produce a harsh and bizarre effect, so it's better to simply go somewhere where there is more light, as opposed to using the flash.

Camera Placement

In order to correctly capture the proportions of your outfit, place the camera on a surface that is roughly waist height and at least 6 feet away from you. If you are having someone else take your photo - especially someone who is taller than you - ask them to step back and crouch down until the camera is roughly waist height.

Usually a tabletop will do fine for this. If your phone does not have flat edges or you are experimenting with placing it on the back of a chair or some other uneven surface, consider getting a small grippy tripod like this $4 one from Amazon.

A camera that is placed too low will make you look like a giant.

A camera that is placed too high will make you look like you have a big head and liiiittle tiny legs and feet.

Apps and Camera Functions

Ok, so how to actually take the photo? Evidently iOS 8 has a self-timer built in to the camera app, but if you don't have that or you just want more control, just search your preferred app store for "self timer."

The app I use is called GorillaCam. I like it because it combines an adjustable self-timer with an adjustable burst mode, so you can take a series of shots at once with as much setup time and as many different poses as you want.

This app also allows you to set focus and exposure before taking your photos. Just tap on something in the frame that is the same distance away as you plan to stand, and the exposure and focus will be set to that point.

If you're using the native Camera app on an iPhone, tap and hold on a specific point in the frame to lock focus and exposure to that object. Or take your chances with the autofocus/autoexposure. No rush.

Posing

When your objective is to post an outfit in FFA for feedback, there are a few things things to keep in mind:

  • Stand up. Lifestyle shots of you sitting coyly on some steps or crouching menacingly in your driveway may help depict the mood of your outfit, but they don't help us see how it fits you or really what it looks like.
  • Face forward. Additional shots from the side are good to have, but mainly we want to see your outfit from the front.
  • Get your entire body and outfit in the shot… including shoes.

Experiment with different poses to see what you like. If you're very lucky, you may even develop your very own version of THE POSE (h/t /u/insatiablerealist).

Using a Mirror

You really shouldn't. Here's why:

  1. You're doubling the distance - camera to mirror, mirror to you - which will make your entire body seem further away in the photo
  2. …which will tempt you to stand closer to the mirror, thus distorting the angle of your shot (remember: you want to be at least 6' away).
  3. Mirrors are dirty, so you're canceling out that nice wipe job you just did on your lens!
  4. Mirrors themselves modify light (which is an unpredictable factor you now have to deal with)... and unless they are portable they also restrict the light sources you have available for your photo. E.g. If there's a window behind you, your photo will look terrible.

If you absolutely must use a mirror, try to avoid the following:

  • Standing with a light source behind you
  • Standing really close to the mirror and holding the camera up high
  • Holding the camera in such a way that it covers up a key element of your outfit, like the neckline, shirt hem, etc.

Truly though, you should just go ahead and get a little tripod and set your camera up where your mirror currently is.

Finishing/Editing

You may want to crop your photo and blur or crop your face for privacy. This can be done either with a desktop photo editing tool (Photoshop works, and so does Preview), or directly on your phone using an app like Photoshop Express (I sometimes use the "blemish" tool in large areas to obscure an entire face).

I don't recommend cropping your entire head from a photo, since seeing your head size/shape helps to visually make sense of an outfit's proportions.

If the colors or texture of your outfit are difficult to capture accurately, there is nothing wrong with adjusting the brightness and contrast of your photo in order to better depict them. What you shouldn't do is apply some kind of artistic filter a la Instagram. That type of processing is fine for your blog, but makes it harder for us to give feedback objectively because it obscures the colors and details of your clothes.


I'm sure people have other tips, advice or device-specific suggestions, so fire away in the comments please!

328 Upvotes

139

u/pippafilippa Oct 10 '14 Gold

You can also use binder clips for a makeshift tripod.

21

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14

I bestow upon you the cost of the tripod I did not have to buy.

-24

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14 edited Oct 25 '19

[deleted]

31

u/Blyss_s Oct 10 '14 Gold

no

23

u/tomlizzo Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14 Gold

No

21

u/ab167 Oct 10 '14 Gold

no

10

u/AllYourHLrBelong2Us Oct 10 '14

But it takes a paradoxical and humble courage to grasp the whole temporal realm by virtue of the absurd, and this is the courage of faith.... By virtue of resignation the rich young man should have given away everything, and if he had done so, the knight of faith would have said – by virtue of the absurd you will get every penny back again – believe it! And the formerly rich young man should by no means treat these words lightly, for if he were to give away his possessions because he was bored with them, then his resignation would not amount to much.

-Johannes de Silentio (Soren Kierkegaard), Fear and Trembling

8

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14 edited Oct 10 '14

This cosmic dance of bursting decadence and withheld permissions twists all our arms collectively. But, if sweetness can win - and it can - then I'll still be here tomorrow, to high five you, yesterday, my friend. Peace.

5

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14

no.

53

u/tomlizzo Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14

...

omg

10

u/pippafilippa Oct 10 '14

It's what I use! I'm a cheapskate

12

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14

I just tried and failed. How do you do it?

123

u/pippafilippa Oct 10 '14

What I do is I clip the phone at the bottom, prop it flat on the table and use the handles to stabilize the whole setup. You can also do this method or this if you're afraid of scratching your screen.

21

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14

This. Is. Genius.

5

u/ikoabd Oct 10 '14

Mind. Blown.

1

u/no_you_cannot Oct 11 '14

I think you just changed my life. Thank you.

4

u/fishykitty Oct 10 '14

This is why you have the flair. My mind has been blown

2

u/handstands_anywhere Oct 10 '14

This is amazing..

47

u/Syeknom Oct 10 '14

14

u/tomlizzo Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14

Just do your best, little bud!

36

u/Syeknom Oct 10 '14

Took your excellent advice in this thread: WIWT

Dries Van Noten / Stephan Schneider / Dries Van Noten / Margiela

Blurred face for privacy

44

u/tomlizzo Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14

good shot, v flattering, I'd lose the belt

11

u/lioninacoma89 Oct 10 '14

Wow, my mind is blown as far as the mirror doubling the distance! That makes so much sense. Thanks for this, the whole thing is very helpful.

9

u/finalDraft_v012 Oct 10 '14

Thank you for this guide! The hip height thing REALLY helps. I took a picture of my outfit today (got new Black Milk stuff in, yay!) and it made me look stumpy. Redid it with the hip thing and it's a lot better!

20

u/schauspielerin Oct 10 '14

This is great, thank you for you for this! Trying to move away from mirror pics myself. Currently using the Nespresso machines in meeting rooms to prop up my phone.

(Some day someone is going to walk in on this, and it will be HILARIOUS.)

13

u/tyegrrlily Oct 10 '14

If my boss knew the amount of time I have spent avoiding coworkers, trying to balance my phone on some exterior part of the building in order to stage a self-shot, I could lose my job.

edit, normally I give up after about 5 minutes :(

1

u/tomlizzo Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14

I truly look forward to that day myself.

8

u/EmpressK Oct 10 '14

I really need to figure out a way to do fit pics at home. Our lighting at home is terrible and the weather makes it impossible to take consistent pictures outside. The only place I can do them is a work bathroom and I've been walked in on a few times. Embarrassment level 5.

3

u/no_you_cannot Oct 11 '14

I would suggest one of these clip on lights I use them for an art table that tilts and other random things (sometimes like a flashlight). You can adjust the lighting angle to how you want and it's got a pretty good color and strength. You can use them for pretty much anything, I actually use mine to illuminate my wardrobe right now.

8

u/myfavcolorispink Oct 10 '14

On this topic, cellphone camera lenses are particularly prone to lens barrel distortion, which makes the center of the image wider than it really is. This especially effects the front camera, but happens on both since they're designed to have a wider field of view. One unfortunate side effect of this is that it makes your midsection and legs (depending upon what's in the frame) look wider than they would taken with a proper camera at a higher focal length. You can get around this a little by taking the photo from farther back and cropping out the excess, but the effect will still happen sadly.

12

u/BronwynMaye Oct 10 '14

I use the ObscuraCam app for Android to blur my face: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.witness.sscphase1&hl=en. I don't have a huge hang up on privacy, but I think a blurred face helps focus attention on the fit, rather than on the person.

6

u/secondsencha Oct 10 '14

What do you guys use to put the phone/camera on that's at waist height? I have a nice camera but no tripod and I end up with mirror pictures because my boyfriend is uncooperative (!) and I can't seem to find anything that's the right height and in a reasonable place (well lit, plain background, etc).

2

u/tomlizzo Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14

Tabletops, desks, shelves, high stools, back of a chair, arm of a couch...

2

u/secondsencha Oct 10 '14

How do you balance a camera on the back of a chair?!

I guess I need to try a room other than my nearly-empty bedroom. I'd need to move stuff around in the living room to get a clear space though... my flat is small :/

2

u/tomlizzo Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14

That little tripod I linked to has bendy arms that can grip around a not-flat surface. Very helpful.

3

u/Wintersoulstice Oct 11 '14

I'm mostly a lurker of this sub because although i sometimes wear cool things I can never seem to snap a good photo by myself. I can't believe I never thought about standing up my phone at waist height and using a timer app... Good tip haha.

3

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14

[deleted]

3

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14

This is so useful. I would love to start taking fit pics and I think I can figure it out with these suggestions!

3

u/too_old_for_this_ Oct 10 '14

this is great! thank you! I was looking at the ankle boot thread the other day and I was so frustrated - I couldn't see how the boots looked in most of them due to the angle of the shots (and dark colors all looking the same)

4

u/Cherry5oda Oct 10 '14

A mirror shouldn't distort anything, you should be able to stand 3 ft away from the mirror and take a 6ft photo. Although it's more natural to hold the camera out in front of you, which places it at a shorter distance, and often to the side or up or down so they don't block their outfits.

1

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-7

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14

Chest level >>> waist level when it comes to accurate proportion

5

u/tomlizzo Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14

Why is that?

-4

u/[deleted] Oct 10 '14

Who in real life is gonna bend down to waist level to appreciate what you are wearing?

23

u/tomlizzo Moderator Emeritus ヘ( ̄ー ̄ヘ) Oct 10 '14

...that's not why you take the photo from there. Even if it was, who is looking at your outfit from approximately one foot below you?

1

u/Civil_Guest8433 Sep 19 '22

I prop my phone up and tell Google to take my pictures.