Many of us dream of posting the ultimate Instagram picture. You know, the one that racks up likes in seconds.
Recently, I met up with pro photographer Jefferson Graham to find out how to do it.
“Eighty percent of the stuff you want to do, you can do on a smartphone right now,” said Graham, who spent over 20 years a tech columnist for USA Today. Now, he’s launching a new streaming series called Photowalks.
“I show you where to get the best shots: how when and where… and show you around as well, some of the places I love,” explained Graham.
The series debuts Saturday, February 27 on the free to stream app Tubi.
The series features the “hidden” spots to take the best pictures in various cities around the world.
We met up at a non-descript park bench in Los Angeles, which, when lined up properly, gives you an amazing downtown city skyline shot.
“This is a picture. This is a postcard shot right here,” said Graham.
He says a little Google research goes a long way into finding the best places to take pictures. He says to use search terms like “best photo spots in [city], “where to shoot in [city] and best instagram shots in [city].
There’s also an app called Explorest filled with ideas for places to take amazing shots. You can see nearby options or browse popular cities. The app gives you the exact directions and gear to pack – even if you plan on just using your smartphone.
Graham runs his own website called TheBestPhotoWalk.com, which has photographic hotspots in various cities.
Once you have your idea, it’s time to get a great shot. Early morning or sunset makes for the best lighting.
“Most people take the picture at two in the afternoon, which is the worst time of the day to do it,” explained Graham.
For selfies, use the timer feature on your phone for more flexibility.
“It gives you more time to set up your shot and then you’re not worrying about putting your thumb on the shutter since you don’t have to deal with it,” said Graham.
Also, don’t be afraid to move around for the best shot.
“Whether that be left, right, behind you, in front of you, keep on going – one of these angles is going to work,” said Graham.
Finally, Graham revealed the secret to the best smiles: ask your subject about something they really love. “Once they say it out loud, they tend to smile,” concluded Graham.
Worked for me when I said Pizza. Brought a big smile to my face.
Once you have your pictures, don’t forget to edit them. I watched as Graham upped the exposure, boosted the colors and darkened the sky for an eye popping shot.