Why We Don’t Need Fancy Backdrops To Take Instagrammable Photos

Discovering the photo-worthy potential in everyday places

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 5This photo was taken at a pasar malam outside Boon Lay MRT Station.

Whenever we think of photo-worthy places in Singapore, the same few often come to mind. So in order to have unique photos that set us apart from the rest on Instagram, we’re constantly on the hunt for photo ops in new cafes, pop-ups, and events, which aren’t always easy to find.

The solution? Take a closer look at your everyday surroundings instead – there are plenty of opportunities to impress your feed with, even at an unassuming pasar malam.

A case of skill over view

It doesn’t take much to transform a less-than-impressive place into a picture-perfect backdrop either – just keep these general tips in mind and you’re good to go!

1. “Messy” backgrounds that have many elements going on might be slightly difficult to work with if you’re not a professional photographer, but so long as they are of the same colour palette, you’re good to go.

The place:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 7
The potted plants look messy, but they’re all green in colour!

The photo:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 15
Just make sure to cover up the empty spaces in the frame!

2. Create depth to make your photos look interesting and more than just 2-dimensional! Simple acts like placing props in the foreground and background will automatically make your photo more appealling to viewers.

The place:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 10

The photo:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 3Market nursery to an ethereal garden.

3. Switch it up a little and change your perspective! Instead of snapping a photo from the front and at eye-level, take it from the side, which is a viewpoint that people normally don’t have – this will pique more interest in your photo.

The place:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 9

The photo:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 14

4. Go towards the light. Always let your subject face a light source, no matter artificial or natural, or else his or her face will be too dark to be seen and even the best-performing DSLR won’t be able to save your shot.

The place:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 12Notice the lights at the top?

IMG_9211Play it to your advantage and angle the subject’s face towards them!

5. Always look through the eyes of the camera and frame your photos accordingly, because our eyes often take in way more than what our camera can capture. Similarly, don’t hesitate to crop out unnecessary elements that’ll distract viewers from the subject!

The place:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 8Nice colours – but others don’t have to know that it’s from a spin wheel.

The photo:

IMG_8050

6. Symmetry and repeating patterns tend to make for great backdrops because they lead from outside of the frame to the subject, which ensures that the viewer’s attention is drawn to the latter.

The place:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 11

The photo:

Boon Lay Pasar Malam 5

Jazz up your Instagram feed

You don’t always need to be in a place filled with quirky or dreamy vibes to be able to take a great photo of yourself – give the overused cafes and photo hunts a miss and catch eyeballs with these one-of-a-kind backdrops instead that can be found easily in your neighbourhood!

Choy’s guilty pleasures include reading dog encyclopedias for leisure, prancing to songs by Kollectivit and The Lonely Island when she’s home alone, and eating the skin off her chicken nuggets before biting into the meat. Mmm...

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