Fall into the new season with these creative Autumn inspired photo ideas 

As the seasons change new colours wash across the landscape, the light changes and there is loads of creative inspiration to be found. Regardless of how dark or cold it may get outside, in every season you can find something beautiful to photograph. 

Autumn is no exception and in this article we have collected the best ideas to kickstart your idea bank for a season of fun fall photography:

Leaves and Foliage

The first thing that may come to mind with the arrival of autumn is the changing colour of falling leaves. Green, yellow, orange, gold, red and brown leaves rain from the skies and blanket our streets. They arouse all of the senses with their vibrant colours, earthy smell, and crunch underfoot. 

There are many ways to photograph leaves on the trees or fallen on the ground, here’s some ideas to get your started:

  • Use the carpet of fallen leaves as a backdrop

  • Pluck a bouquet of leaves

  • Hold a huge leaf in your hand

  • Show the gradation of color from a green leaf to a red

  • Cover your eye or hide half your face behind a leaf

  • Hold a cup of coffee on a background of foliage

Forage in forests and parks

The changing seasons are most reflected in nature and outdoors. The best locations to photograph this is within gardens, forests or parks. Keep an eye out in your local area for the time in which the landscape is particularly vibrant before all the leaves are fallen. 

Ideas for taking autumn photos in the forest and park:

  • Snaking paths covered in a multi-colored carpet of leaves

  • Houses, palaces and estates surrounded by crimson foliage.

  • Arrange a whole leaf or other shape from the fallen leaves. 

  • Create a video or boomerang as you throw leave in the air

  • Some large parks have boats for hire. Take a boat out or throw leaves on it and just sit near the river.

  • Look on the ground for cute mushrooms


Cosy Cafes or Restaurants

If outside is too cold, then run into your favorite cafes and restaurants to keep warm and use that location to take a couple of shots. Many cafes will have seasonal interior decor and will help do some of the styling for you. All you have to do is choose a cafe with a beautiful interior, a hot drink and some treats and try and sit near a window to get the best light. If you go before October 31st you may even be able to take advantage of Halloween decorations from spooky decor to cute pumpkins. 

Fall inspired Flatlay

You may even prefer to tackle your seasonal photos from the comfort of your own home. It is simple to create an Autumnal feel by gathering certain props to help convey the mood of being warm and cosy indoors. Think about using warm hued colours that reflect the colour of nature along with snuggly textiles and hot baked treats.

Here are some ideas of some items to use that will make your flatlay perfect for this season:

  • Colorful autumn leaves

  • Acorns

  • Dried flowers

  • A cup of coffee or hot chocolate

  • Cashmere scarf or chunky knit

  • Books

  • Candles or string lights

  • Mini pumpkins or gourds

  • Legs in socks

  • Apple pie, baked apples or cinnamon rolls

Make yourself Miss Autumn

If you’d like to celebrate the season and get in the frame yourself there are ways you can make yourself look extra Autumnal! 

  • Create a crown of leaves or place a sprig of in your hair.

  • Experiment with more gothic looks, such as a black long bell-shaped dress, dark lipstick and any candlelight

  • Use an umbrella as a prop. Pick a colourful one or try attaching string lights to a clear one for some beautiful reflections.

  • Collect some pumpkins or seasonal vegetables to pose with

Convey the feeling of the crisp Autumn weather by wearing: 

  • fine or chunky knit sweater

  • large wool scarf and coat

  • Knitted hat with pom pom, bright beret or felt hat.

  • Autumn inspired makeup such as wine, brown and purple hued lips

Regardless of where you live, there are plenty of ways you can get creative with seasonal locations and props. Which of these Autumn photo ideas were you most inspired about? 










Selfies for shy people: 7 ways to take a self-portrait without showing your face

Showing your face on social media doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It has taken me a lot of courage and quite a few years to show more of myself on my profile. You might be shy or you might like to retain some sense of anonymity whilst still having a public profile on Instagram. There are clever ways to bring the human element to your images without giving up your identity.

  1. Using props

The strategic use of props is a clever way to conceal your face. They can add a styled element to your image and can help tell a story and show some of your personality, depending on the prop you use. It also helps with having your photo taken because it helps you to not feel so exposed and vulnerable if you are holding something. There are so props you can use, from flowers to the camera itself, here’s some inspiration!

Hats are always handy when you don’t have your game face on! Source:  @pattischmidt

Hats are always handy when you don’t have your game face on! Source: @pattischmidt

Flowers make a beautiful styling addition. Source:  @pattischmidt

Flowers make a beautiful styling addition. Source: @pattischmidt

Books are always a handy prop, and very handy if you don’t want to show your little one’s face. Source:  @pattischmidt

Books are always a handy prop, and very handy if you don’t want to show your little one’s face. Source: @pattischmidt

Take advantage of your long locks if you are lucky enough! Source:  @alexandriaslens

Take advantage of your long locks if you are lucky enough! Source: @alexandriaslens

You can even use your camera whilst taking a ‘selfie’ in the mirror. Source:  @naaaasyi

You can even use your camera whilst taking a ‘selfie’ in the mirror. Source: @naaaasyi

TIp: Note the use of the mirror too, another handy prop!

You can use both the camera and a mirror! Source:  @mygreyhome

You can use both the camera and a mirror! Source: @mygreyhome

There are so many more props you could use…experiment and have some fun!

2. Crop the frame

This is an obvious one but you can simply crop your image frame to suit how much you want to show. You might want to crop the frame at your shoulders down so your face remains hidden, just get your legs out or only show your hands interacting in the frame. It is whatever you are comfortable showing and what you are trying to convey to your audience.

A beautiful, personal bumpie without showing your face.  @bethanympoteet

A beautiful, personal bumpie without showing your face. @bethanympoteet

Check out our blog ‘Top tips for nailing that hands in frame shot’ for more inspiration on how to include your hands.

3. Turn your back

Your positioning to the camera can be instrumental in revealing yourself to the viewer without revealing too much. Unlike the theatre, turning your back to the camera, perhaps to a view or scene, suggests a reflective moment you are inviting the viewer to join in and engage with.

A reflective moment in a field of flowers and ‘butterflies. Source:  @kutovakika

A reflective moment in a field of flowers and ‘butterflies. Source: @kutovakika

Even though you can’t see Steph’s face in this capture, you can feel the sense of excitement and wanderlust. Source:  @memyselfandsteph_

Even though you can’t see Steph’s face in this capture, you can feel the sense of excitement and wanderlust. Source: @memyselfandsteph_

4. The looking down capture

This is a very popular way to be present in your images but not be too present so to speak…and curate a beautifully styled image too. From holding tea cups or flowers to capturing a fabulous floor, take the opportunity for the viewer to see what you see from a your own perspective.

A morning tea view good enough to drink! Source:  @my_lifestyle31

A morning tea view good enough to drink! Source: @my_lifestyle31

Flowers are always handy too! Source:  @my_lifestyle31

Flowers are always handy too! Source: @my_lifestyle31

5. From a distance

Another easy way to add a human element to your image is to place yourself in a scene and invite the viewer along. Experiment with this by immersing yourself in a dramatic landscape, a field of spring flowers, an avenue of autumn trees or a beautiful wall. Strike a pose and have some fun!

Tip: Take note of your outfit. You can wear an outfit that complements the scene or one that will stand out against your backdrop, like Alexandra’s yellow raincoat! Also props like big hats, bicycles and umbrellas are handy for these captures too.

6. The bokeh effect

Play with the depth of field and focus on something in the foreground of your composition allowing yourself to be blurred in the background. Try lowering the f-stop on your camera or use the portrait mode on your smart phone to achieve this bokeh effect. This allows for human interaction in the image whist still remaining incognito.

Autumn leaves in focus. Source:  @r4s

Autumn leaves in focus. Source: @r4s

A lightbulb in focus. Source:  @visualsoflumina

A lightbulb in focus. Source: @visualsoflumina

7. Creative editing

You can get creative with showing yourself in your images with some clever editing. You are only limited by your imagination, and perhaps your Photoshop skills but this is definitely a skill worth practising. Just experiment and you never know what you might create!

Source:  @imagineamy_

Source: @imagineamy_

I hope this has inspired you to get in front of the camera and add a human element to your images, or perhaps given you some different ideas to add some variety, style and creativity to your ‘selfies’. I can’t wait to see what you create!

Happy faffing!

Marisa from @marisa.young xx

Community Manager for @creativelysquared


Please join us for our September 16 - 22 creative challenge ‘Human interaction’. Patti from @pattischmidt will be our mentor. She will be featuring her favourite entries and feedback on the @creativelysquared Instagram account. You can find Patti at @pattischmidt on Instagram. We invite you to join Patti and the rest of the Creatively Squared community to add a human element to your images. Hit the button below for entry information and full resources.

Top tips for nailing that hands in frame shot

A simple way to add an element of human interaction to your images is to use your hands, or someone else’s. Using hands in your shots can show the viewer the functionality of something or create an emotive response by inviting the viewer in. Here are some simple ways to get hands on!

  1. The action shot

There are so many actions you can photograph your hands doing from pouring, typing, writing, drawing, reading, eating…the list is endless! Take note of the simple actions you do everyday with your hands and see if you can style them into an image or two.

Pouring a cup of tea. Source:  @herinternest

Pouring a cup of tea. Source: @herinternest

The art of eating, flower art that is. Source:  @herinternest

The art of eating, flower art that is. Source: @herinternest

The art of old school typing conjuring a nostalgic sentiment. Source:  @herinternest

The art of old school typing conjuring a nostalgic sentiment. Source: @herinternest

Cofee anyone? Source:  @herinternest

Cofee anyone? Source: @herinternest

Tip: When photographing a pouring shot, use the continuous mode on your camera so you can capture a series of photographs of the action and choose the best one, or put them together into a stop motion. The self timer mode or a remote are handy tools here too!

2. Hold on

This may seem obvious but a simple way to get hands on is to hold something to the camera. From flowers to your coffee cup, a book to even your phone, there’s always something to hold on to.

Alexandria has taken holding flowers to a magical level. Source:  @alexandriaslens

Alexandria has taken holding flowers to a magical level. Source: @alexandriaslens

A simple grasp of a flower with morning tea. Source:  @katherinedorrington

A simple grasp of a flower with morning tea. Source: @katherinedorrington

Tip: Make sure your nails are looking good when you are getting hands on! Now you don’t have to rush out and get a manicure. I sometimes just paint one or two nails if I’m time poor and I know these will be in the frame. It’s that little attention to detail that can go a long way.

3. Playing with depth perception

Playing with the depth perception of your composition and the scale of the objects within it is a clever way to get hands on. In this technique, your hands serve a purpose as the tool to showcase the obvious ‘illusion’ you are capturing. By doing so you can make an object appear larger in the foreground in respect to the background. You can use anything from fruit to leaves, teacups to polaroids. You are only really limited by your imagination.

Make the most of fall and use autumn leaves as wings. Source:  @kutovakika

Make the most of fall and use autumn leaves as wings. Source: @kutovakika

Or perhaps an autumn leaf as a skirt. Source:  @sienna.and.i

Or perhaps an autumn leaf as a skirt. Source: @sienna.and.i

Tip: Peruse the hashtag #objectsforoutfits on Instagram or read our blog post Objects for outfits: A fun creative project for the whole family for more inspiration.

4. The artistic pose

Hands can bring a theatrical element to your image. The pose and position of your hands is important in conveying the mood of your image. Try different positions until you get the right pose, and of course a flattering one. Treat your hands as a styling object too and faff about until you get it right.

A beautiful, delicate hand shadow pose. Source:  @herinternest

A beautiful, delicate hand shadow pose. Source: @herinternest

Making shapes with your hands can add a beautiful touch. Source:  @herinternest

Making shapes with your hands can add a beautiful touch. Source: @herinternest

Hand shadows are a wonderful tool to add that theatrical element to your image. Source:  @aimeeriver

Hand shadows are a wonderful tool to add that theatrical element to your image. Source: @aimeeriver

I hope this will inspire you to get hands on in your styling and add an element of human interaction.

Happy faffing!

Marisa from @marisa.young xx

Community Manager for @creativelysquared


Please join us for our September 16 - 22 creative challenge ‘Human interaction’. Patti from @pattischmidt will be our mentor. She will be featuring her favourite entries and feedback on the @creativelysquared Instagram account. You can find Patti at @pattischmidt on Instagram. We invite you to join Patti and the rest of the Creatively Squared community to add a human element to your images. Hit the button below for entry information and full resources.

Take better photos of your kids with these top 5 tips

Anyone who is a parent is likely to agree that their favourite photography subject is their own children. The only problem is that when it comes to capturing those magic childhood moments, babies and children rarely stay still long enough to get a clear shot. 

Small children don’t take direction well and are unlikely to cooperate when you need them to position themselves in a certain way for your photo. If your child does stop moving for you the results can often be unnatural with a forced smile or pose. 

It’s no wonder everyone can relate to the saying ‘never work with children or animals’. Taking photos of children is a challenge but it’s not impossible. We’ve compiled a selection of recommendations to help you get the best results for your next photoshoot with your kids:

Capture them at play

Children are at their most animated and expressive when they play. If you are casually observing your child as they go about their games you can often only see the top or back of the head, especially if they are really focused on their activity. 

Depending on the type of image you want to take, some activities will be more suitable than others. It is very difficult to focus your camera on a high-energy, running and jumping child. On the other end of the spectrum, an activity that is too calm like drawing or lego may not produce the most engaging results. To be able to get their delighted face in frame you need to create a suitable activity or game that will position your child in the right place looking up at you.

While you man the camera it helps to have someone else on hand to engage and play with your child. Select an appropriate game such as throwing a ball or hide and seek where you can focus your lens on your child’s expressions and the adult helper can interact with them while remaining at a distance. 

Alternatively for more candid images you can just follow your child like the paparazzi and take photos during their everyday games. Try to take pictures at their eye level and not distract them from their activities.

Take your time

Taking photographs of children requires next level patience. Your little models will likely need a bit of time to warm up to being photographed. You may even have chase your kids around and  take hundreds of shots just to get one that isn’t blurred and has your entire child in frame. 

Make this process easier by choosing familiar locations where your child feels comfortable like at home, on the beach, on your favorite playground or in the sandbox. If you are taking them somewhere new you may need to give them some extra time to get used to their surroundings. Encourage them to explore, play around and relax. Take photos from a distance and zoom in so that they don’t feel like they need to perform for the camera. 

Ensure their basic needs are met

This probably goes without saying but most little models will be at their most cooperative after a nap and a feed. Some are even great at posing for photos during their nap. If your child is a deep sleeper you may find it easy to get them into position without disturbing them. 

You may also wish to try some small bribes or rewards to encourage them to cooperate. This technique generally works every time and you don’t need to resort to offering food or sweets. You can play cartoons next to the camera, tell them that you’ll visit some places that they love or just do something fun with them after after the shoot.

Find a way to make them laugh

Everyone who has photographed children knows that most of them can crack a smile when someone asks them to do it. Unfortunately these on-demand results can often look a little forced and it is much nicer to try and catch a genuine smile or giggle. 

There are many ways to make your little laugh such asking them to pull some funny faces. This can create some amusing results itself but the magic happens in their expression when they respond to your reaction to their funny grimaces.

You can try asking them to act out particular emotions or characters with their poses and facial expressions: angry, silly, dinosaur face, the face of the prince or princess, hungry, tired, surprised and happy face - which can also lead to sincere smiles and laughter.

Have your camera out regularly

How often have you noticed a beautiful moment you wished to capture, you try to whisk out your camera but your kids see you in action, are completely distracted and the moment is lost. 

The last thing you want is your kids to change their behaviour every time they see the camera. The best way to avoid this is to try and photograph them more frequently so that the camera just becomes part of the scenery. Allowing them to forget the camera is there will make them more comfortable to continue being children and play more candidly. 

Overall when you want to take photographs of you kids make it fun, don’t set high expectations and when all else fails bribe, bribe, bribe!

Shoot solo: How to master your next self-portrait

Ever wished you could be on both sides of the camera at once?

Composing and capturing an image by yourself is challenging enough, even more so when you are the model and the photographer at the same time. It may not be easy shooting self-portraits but the results are so rewarding. Mastering the art of solo-snapping allows you to fully realise your own creative ideas and execute them exactly as you see fit.  

Taking self-portraits is made a lot easier with a couple extra pieces of equipment and a little planning before you shoot. Choosing the right location where you have the time and space to execute your shot is vital, as is having the right props on hand to set your scene. 

We’ve compiled our top tips to help you prepare and master your next self portrait:

Support your camera

The first step in taking a great self portrait is to have something to hold or support your camera so that you don’t need to. You can sit it on a ledge, chair or stack some boxes or books but if you are actively taking lots of photos you may wish to invest in a tripod. If you use your mobile phone for photography there are many affordable versions that will do the trick. For example Creatively Squared CoFounder Ruth recently spent $20 on this model and loves how lightweight and portable it is for taking photos on the go. Of course, you can always compose your photo and ask a friend to hit the shutter for you but doing it yourself allows you more time and freedom to get it exactly right. You don’t want your creativity to be hindered out feeling like you are being watched or inconveniencing someone else. 

For more reasons why you should invest in a tripod see our blog post: 5 ways using a tripod can improve your photos

Activate the timer

Using the timer function on your phone and camera is an effective way to be able to frame and set up your shot and then get on the other side of the lens. Most timers have timings between 2 and 10 seconds which allow you enough time to get into position before the frame is captured. The only problem with using self-timer is that the autofocus may not work as well without something static to focus on. To work around this you can use a placeholder item or focus the camera on something directly behind where you will be posing to ensure that you are in sharp focus when the shot gets taken.  

Another great function of the self-timer is the burst mode which takes several photos in quick succession - perfect for capturing a range of expressions. Setting the timer with burst mode buys you more time to strike a pose and get a variety of images to work with.

Press the remote control

An even better option than the self-timer is to buy a bluetooth remote or sync your camera with your phone so that you can shoot with a wireless shutter release. These remotes are relatively inexpensive and you can purchase them online for under $10. Thanks to the remote control, you don’t have to hurry to run from the camera to the shooting location which creates a much more comfortable experience and allows you to get better results during the shooting process. When using remote control, you can pre-accurately select the focus area. Focusing will be carried out during half-pressing the button on the remote control.

Choose a beautiful background

Selecting the right background can have great impact on the look and feel of your portrait and give you something to interact with in the frame. If you are photographing outdoors, then select a flowering plant or a beautiful forest for the background. In autumn, you can capture the changing color of the foliage of trees in the background, and in winter - a brilliant combination of snow and ice. If you are shooting at home, then you can pose against the background of something interesting that will not shift the focus from you. Before shooting, make sure that there are no unnecessary objects or people in the background that may distract the viewer.

For more tips on how to take great self-portraits see our blog post: How to look less awkward in photos with ‘staged candid’ poses

Use flattering lighting

When it comes to portraiture, good lighting is the key to obtaining a high-quality picture. It is best to use soft, diffused light by positioning the light source to be facing you and just above eye level. If the light falls on you from behind, then unpleasant, hard shadows can appear on your face. To soften bright or harsh light, you can use a diffuser or even a sheet or curtain. Soft and balanced lighting will help to make your facial features softer and more attractive. Using natural light allows you to reproduce color more accurately than artificial sources. If necessary, you can make adjustments to the camera settings to achieve the desired lighting effect in the photo.

Get your focus on point

One of the main problems in creating a self portrait is achieving a perfectly focussed and sharp image. While it is easy to set the focal point through the viewfinder or LCD this is a more challenging situation when you have to shoot a self portrait. Without having something to focus on the camera can be confused as to which area or point in the frame to focus. Luckily there are a few ways to solve this problem. Firstly, the use of the remote control, as we mentioned earlier, which allows you to pre-focus. Secondly, for the correct focusing, you can put any object in the place where you plan to shoot yourself. Height does not matter here, the main thing is the distance to the object. Lastly you can experiment with auto and manual focus options to increase the accuracy of focusing. 

Even if no one ever sees them but you, taking a self-portrait can be a truly exciting and liberating experience. You have full creative control over how you would like to be seen and the freedom to execute that vision on your own terms. You can take your time to alter the lighting, change settings or experiment with your position and ways to move your body. There are no time frames or limits on what you can do, just switch on your imagination and enjoy the process.








We compare the best apps for creating animated posts and Instagram stories

Snackable content and Instagram story consumption is on the rise. Animated images allow you more storytelling power and the ability to better catch your audience's eye with moving elements. 

A whole new guard of smartphone apps have entered the market designed to help everyday users create professional looking video clips. There’s apps that have sleek design templates with moving elements, ones that animate text and those that overlay fun video effects. 

With so many new entrants to try out it can be hard to know where to start when you want to put your images in motion. We’ve reviewed the top performers and compiled a handy list for you to compare and contrast to discover which is right for you.

1. Adobe Spark 

App Store Editors’ Choice. #1 Best New App. There’s not much that Adobe can’t do. With Spark there is no need to be a designer with their free graphic templates, stock photos, filters, fonts and more. Animated posts and stories are created quickly and easily with customisable options and basic editing.

Why we like it

  • The platform is designed with a user-friendly interface that makes it simple to use.

  • It is easy to create and share attractive web and social content.

  • It is fast and fun to use

  • Responsive resizing is excellent

  • Platform is accessible both on mobile and desktop

What could be better

  • Each design contains a watermark. Although this can be removed by upgrading to a premium user, it is yet a drawback for users who intend to use the free version only.

  • The webpage builder does not support embedding HTML elements.

  • Video formatting is limited

  • Animation effects are limited to text

  • Some social media outputs are not available

Avaliable on Android and iOS

2. Hype Type 

Hype Type enables you to add stylish animated text to your photos. The application is simple to use with basic functionality. Snap a new photo or select from your gallery, choose the font and color, add text and put in position.

Why we like it

  • Easy to use

  • Multiple color combinations and fonts

  • Blur effects

  • A range of gradient backgrounds available

What could be better

  • Free version has limited functionality

  • Could be undone by a future Instagram feature update

  • The options can be a tad confusing

Available on iOS

3. Life Lapse 

In Life Lapse, you can create Stop-Motion animations for free. They look original and stylish and the app stitches all the clips together for you. All you have to do is select a filter, song, video ratio and you're good to go!

Life Lapse Pro subscription provides access to the entire collection of songs, ability to add your own music, save videos with imported photos, in-camera square and vertical crop guidelines, 4K Video and watermark free videos. 

Why we like it:

  • Best app for creating stop motion videos

  • Ghosting tool for easily aligning image sequence

  • Camera Timer

  • Re-arrange clips in a project by holding down the clip and dragging to a new spot

  • Customizable Sizing

What could be better

  • Being able to pre-load edited images into the app on the free version

Available on iOS

4. ImgPlay 

ImgPlay enables you to create a short clip or animation by converting videos and live photos into gif-format. It has sophisticated video editing abilities and you can adjust the speed, apply filters and easily create looping videos. The pro version enables the user to access individual frames, stitch clips together and customise text animation effects.

Why we like it

  • Simple interface and resizing

  • Add layers of text and stickers

  • You can easily convert Live photos into a video file

  • Customisable file export options

  • Pro version is affordable (outright purchase not subscription) and has some powerful features

What could be better

  • It got confusing fast once we explored some of the Pro features. 

Avalable on Android and iOS

5. Storybeat

Storybeat is designed to easily bring stories to life with music and add a simple zoom effect for photos or videos. The application allows you to add built-in sound effects, download your favorite tracks, record your voice and make slide shows for moving images.

Why we like it

  • Super easy to create a video or slideshow with music

  • Convert your Live Photos into a video and add music to it

  • You can add your fave music from Spotify

What could be better

  • Could have more configuration options

Available on Android and iOS

6. Mojo

Mojo allows you to make animated instagram stories and turns any picture and text into animation. Templates are divided into categories: Fashion, Travel, Photography, News, Pop, Marketing and Classic. There are more than 100 text effects to pick from. All of them are beautifully animated and fully adaptable to your content. You can customize fonts, colors, sizes, positions, alignments, etc. In Mojo, only some of the templates is free, the rest is available after subscription to Mojo Pro. New Templates and New Text Styles are added every Month.

Why we like it

  • Beautiful animation effects

  • Gorgeous free templates

  • Customisable file export options

  • The result will look as if a whole team of designers worked on it.

What could be better

  • Hope, with time we will get more customization such as an undo/redo button

  • Pro subscription could be more affordable

Available on Android and iOS

8. Impresso - Video Story Maker

Impresso allows you to create high-quality video content with no previous experience. Impresso has ready-made video templates that allow you to create videos that are designed for posting on all social networks. With over 100 professionally designed custom templates, Impresso also lets you use any video or photo to create content.  You can unlock all of the eye-catching video styles and remove watermark from videos with Impresso Pro.

Why we like it

  • Make eye-catching videos in minutes

  • Simple interface is incredible easy to use 

  • All design elements are individually customisable

  • Customisable file export options

  • Responsive resize feature

What could be better

  • Pro subscription could be more affordable

Available on iOS

9. VIMAGE

VIMAGE is a program for adding video overlays onto your image to create a cinemagraph effect. With this application you can spice up your pictures with 3D effects: a fluttering butterfly, flying soap bubbles, steam from a mug, colored smoke and others. VIMAGE has over 100 options available, some of which are free.

Why we like it

  • Very easy to use

  • Quick sharing options for social media

  • More than 100 effects available

What could be better

  • Full version comes with a subscription fee

  • Results often have a rather generic feel

  • Few customisation options

  • Editing tools not very accurate

Available on Android and iOS

How these apps stack up at a glance

Spark

✔️Customisable designs 
✔️Good quality free templates 
✔️Adjustable canvas sizes 
✔️Music/Sound effects 
❌Doesn’t work with video files
❌Visible watermark (Can be removed with subscription
❌In-app purchases (Spark Subscription - Monthly $9.99 / Yearly $99.99)


HypeType

✔️Customisable designs 
❌Few quality free templates 
❌Cannot adjust canvas sizes 
❌No Music or sound effects 
✔️Does work with original video files
❌Visible watermark (Can be removed for $1.99)
❌In-app purchases (Unlock all features $19.99)

Life lapse

✔️Customisable designs 
✔️Good quality free templates 
✔️Adjustable canvas sizes 
❌No Music or sound effects 
✔️Does work with original video files
❌Visible watermark (Can be removed with subscription)
❌In-app purchases (Life Lapse Pro Yearly $35.99, Monthly $7.99)

ImgPlay

✔️Customisable designs 
✔️Good quality free templates 
✔️Adjustable canvas sizes 
✔️Music/Sound effects 
✔️Does work with original video files
❌Visible watermark (Can be removed for $2.99)
❌In-app purchases (ImgPlay Pro $4.99, Unlock New Features $1.99)

Storybeat

✔️Customisable designs 
❌Few quality free templates 
❌Cannot adjust canvas sizes 
✔️Music/Sound effects 
✔️Does work with original video files
❌Visible watermark (watch an ad to remove it)
✔️No in-app purchases

Mojo

✔️Customisable designs (with Pro version)
✔️Good quality free templates 
✔️Adjustable canvas sizes (with Pro version)
✔️Music/Sound effects 
✔️Does work with original video files
✔️Removable watermark on free version
❌In-app purchases (Mojo Pro Free Trial, Monthly $9.99 / Yearly $39.99)

Impresso

✔️Customisable designs  (with Pro version)
✔️Good quality free templates 
✔️Adjustable canvas sizes (with Pro version)
✔️Music/Sound effects 
✔️Does work with original video files
❌Visible watermark (Can be removed with subscription)
❌In-app purchases (Monthly subscription $9.99 with 7 days free trial)

Vimage

❌Cannot customisable designs
✔️Good quality free gallery 
❌Cannot adjust canvas sizes 
❌No Music or sound effects 
❌Doesn’t work with video files
❌Visible watermark (Can be removed for $1.99)
❌In-app purchases (Premium: Month $2.99, Year $27.99)

5 ways using a tripod can improve your photos

Photographers of all skill levels can benefit from using a tripod. This handy camera accessory will help position and stabilise your camera enabling you get better quality shots.

Tripods come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes for smartphones and cameras alike. There are tripods for every taste and budget and selecting the right piece of equipment for you depends on how and where you plan to use it.

In this blog we will outline the top reasons why you should use a tripod and 5 ways it can improve your results:

1. Sharper low light photos

Taking photographs in the evening or at night can be a challenge and photos often turn out blurry and grainy. To get a sharp image you often have to increase the shutter speed to get enough light for a good exposure. Even if you think you have a steady hand, a tripod is necessary to hold the camera still to open the shutter long enough for a well exposed and focused image. 

2. Creative long exposure images

Smooth running water, light trails or motion blur are all creative photography effects you can achieve by using a long exposure. These images create a fascinating artistic contrast between the elements of your composition that are moving and the parts that are standing still. A tripod is the best way to keep your camera still while the shutter is open for longer to take these shots. 

3. Frame first, shoot later

Using a tripod allows you to set your shot up and have the camera ready and waiting for the right moment to hit the shutter. You can adjust the settings ahead of time and know that with the camera steady in place your exposure and focus is perfect. Having your photo framed ready to go also enables you to step back and enjoy the moment and not be experiencing it through your viewfinder. 

4. Easier portrait and self portrait photography

There are plenty of ways using a tripod can help you take better photos of people - or yourself! A tripod allows you to be both the subject and the photographer giving you full creative control over what happens on both sides of the camera. You can also use it to improve portraits taken in low or harsh lighting situations by strategically bracketing the exposure of your photos to combine in post production. 

5. More detailed macro shots

Taking higher quality closeup photos is significantly easier when using a tripod. Photographing very small objects requires a bit more precision to ensure your subject is in sharp focus. Even the push of the button in handheld shooting is enough movement to blur your image. 

Using a tripod can also help you get your camera into some awkward spots that may be difficult for your body to position or hold itself. Holding the camera still for longer also enables you to try more advanced techniques such as focus stacking. This is where you take an assortment of photos focused on different areas of your subject extending the depth of field to be combined later in Photoshop.

In addition to these benefits, another advantage of the tripod is that it gives you a break by relieving you of the weight of the camera. If you prefer to alternate between freehand shooting a tripod can also be helpful to hold lights, flashes, or reflectors, if necessary.

Before you rush out and buy a tripod you might want to experiment with other ways to stabilise your camera at home first. Many resourceful Creatively Squared community members have fashioned their own tripods out of household items or used stacks of boxes or books on furniture to get the perfect height. Be resourceful and use what you have on hand first to see if it’s something you’d like to invest in.

Top 10 in-situ lifestyle shots for photographing beauty products

Beauty and bathroom products are the inspiration for many a stylish square on Instagram. Who hasn’t wanted to teleport themselves into a blissed out pampering scene or start swatching all the colours from a stylish cosmetic flatlay? 

When working with brands or photographing your fave items it’s handy to have an arsenal of go-to shots that you know look great. To discover interesting ways to style your product think about how  it is dispensed, where you use it, how the texture or contents feels and most importantly — how using it makes you feel! Anyone can take a photo of a product but the best content creators know how to convey a moment or the feeling of using an item in just one frame.

These situational shots —  or in-situ as it’s often referred to — are in high demand from brands due to their authentic and relatable nature. To give you a head start in your next photo shoot or brand collaboration we’ve compiled our top list of the best in-situ shots for capturing engaging images of beauty and bath products:

Getting hands on

Simply holding a product in your own hands, or getting a friend or family member to help out, adds instant warmth and context to your image. You can use your hands to share how a certain product is used or dispense some into your palm or fingertips. 

Image for AHC Beauty by Creatively Squared content creator Vanessa

Image for AHC Beauty by Creatively Squared content creator Vanessa

Pro tip - Make sure you position the item in a way that the label is clear and be careful not cast shadows that may obscure details of the item you are photographing.

In the bathroom

Photographing beauty products in the bathroom is almost a no-brainer. Most of the time we are using beauty products we are over the sink or in front of the bathroom mirror. You could sit on the side of the bath or photograph your item on a caddy while you enjoy a soak.

Image for Neutrogena by Creatively Squared content creator Sophie

Image for Neutrogena by Creatively Squared content creator Sophie

Pampering in bed

Nothing captures the feeling of a luxurious pampering session better than staying in bed. Style your product on the covers or a breakfast tray. Add props that send relaxing cues like candles, eye masks, cups of tea and don’t forget some blissed out reclining legs. 

Image for Rosy Sands by Creatively Squared content creator Blazenka

Image for Rosy Sands by Creatively Squared content creator Blazenka

Take it outside

Transport your viewer on their next holiday by channeling some serious summer vibes and photograph your product on location at the beach, park or poolside. Simple props are icy cold drinks, tropical fruit and some sunglasses or a swimsuit. 

In-situ lifestyle image for Tropic Labs by Creatively Squared content creator Ali

In-situ lifestyle image for Tropic Labs by Creatively Squared content creator Ali

Coffee shop corners

If your home doesn’t have the right aesthetic for your photo why not head out to a local cafe instead. You can choose one with the right decor to suit the brand you are photographing and enjoy a coffee and some cake while you work.

In-situ lifestyle image for Ponds by Creatively Squared content creator Charmaine

In-situ lifestyle image for Ponds by Creatively Squared content creator Charmaine

Pro tip- Select a well lit seat in the cafe and maximise any props you have available to you. Grab magazines or flowers from around the cafe and use the contents of your handbag to add some extra decorative elements to your shot.

The texture shot

Don’t be afraid to get a little messy because nothing says in-use like a spritz, squirt or swatch of your product. If you don’t want to use your hands try dispensing it into a spoon or small bowl. Our customers love seeing the texture of their products being used to help activate the senses.

In-situ lifestyle image for Rosy Sands by Creatively Squared content creator Blazenka

In-situ lifestyle image for Rosy Sands by Creatively Squared content creator Blazenka

Pro tip - It helps to have two items on hand, one for dispensing and one to keep full and intact so that the packaging will photograph better. 

It’s in the bag

Nothing says ‘I use this product daily’ more than the bagspill. This shot conveys the feeling of taking your item with you everywhere and how handy it is to use on the go. Style your bag with everyday items like keys, sunglasses or your purse. Have it spilling onto your countertop or take a snapshot as you pull your item out/

In-situ lifestyle image for Ponds by Creatively Squared content creator Melinda

In-situ lifestyle image for Ponds by Creatively Squared content creator Melinda

Doing it on the desk

Although we don’t often apply our cosmetics on the job, workspace setups do make an attractive backdrop for a beauty photo. Monochromatic computer equipment and stationery effortlessly allow your item to stand out and be the hero of the shot.

In-situ lifestyle image for Glam Pack by Creatively Squared content creator Blazenka

In-situ lifestyle image for Glam Pack by Creatively Squared content creator Blazenka

Break a sweat

Get those visual endorphins flowing by adding a fitness element or workout context to your photo. Grab some colourful workout gear, use a yoga mat as a backdrop or head to the gym for your next shoot.  

In-situ lifestyle image for St Ives by Creatively Squared content creator Alysha

In-situ lifestyle image for St Ives by Creatively Squared content creator Alysha

On the road

For many people, being in transit or commuting to and from work is a large portion of their day. Due to their relatable nature, cars and transport can be an interesting and under-utilised location to photograph products. The windows allow natural light and most car interiors are dark which can create a nice contrast and allow your product to really pop

In-situ lifestyle image for Ponds by Creatively Squared content creator Charmaine

In-situ lifestyle image for Ponds by Creatively Squared content creator Charmaine

There are many other creative ways to depict beauty products but the aforementioned shots are some of our favourites. The great thing about styling most beauty products is they are portable and don’t require specialist props or equipment to create great images.

If it’s suitable, we recommend toting the product around with you in daily life and really get a feel for all the different times and places you use it throughout the day. Plus you never know when you might find yourself in a photogenic cafe or bathroom and can snap a shot or two on the go.

How to scout the best photography locations without leaving your house

How easy would it be if we could just find the most beautiful photography locations right from the comfort of our living room? I’m here to tell you how to do exactly that! You don’t need to hit the streets to scour the best spots, all you need is to jump online and explore using Google Maps. I’ve discovered some of my favourite photo locations this way by simply roaming the city from my couch and finding interesting spots to visit.

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I’d seen images of insanely colourful basket ball courts from Hong Kong while browsing on Pinterest and Instagram. Living in Hong Kong myself, I had always wondered where exactly they were located. I figured the best way to spot them was by digitally roaming around the city through online maps. I found this method so successful and through this technique I was able to discover many prime photo locations. It’s so simple!

How to find your next photography location using Google Maps

1. Narrow down an area you wish to explore on google maps

2. Switch to satellite view

3. Now you have an amazing birds-eye view over the city, almost like you are flying a drone! It’s quite magical seeing your city in a completely different perspective and it allows you to easily spot some really colourful and interesting locations.

4. Once you spot somewhere of interest you change it to 3D view and get an idea of the entire landscape and plan how you would want to capture it. I use this view to make note of the surrounding colours and plan my outfits accordingly before I go there to shoot.

Colourful basketball court spotting in Hong Kong

Colourful basketball court spotting in Hong Kong

5. You will find an icon of a small yellow dude at the bottom right corner. Once you pick him up, you will see hot spots everywhere on the map. Drop him and start walking along the streets to get a closer viewwithout breaking a sweat in humidity .

You never know what you can discover in your own city. Using this method of discover is how I came across this amazing rainbow building which is a local primary school here in Hong Kong. Exploring the area online allows you to scope out potential vantage points to shoot from. As you can see below, I found a foot bridge across this school which would be a perfect spot to get a whole view of this rainbow building.

digital roaming1.jpg

It’s such an easy way to discover interesting places to explore and photograph. You can plan your entire shoot while watching Netflix and without leaving the couch!



Culture trip: The best ways to document your next holiday destination

The ultimate travel souvenir is a memory card full of beautiful images. Nothing beats being able to share your adventure and relive the amazing things you saw once you get home. Effective destination photography requires the visitor to dilute the on-duty "I am standing in front of ..." footage with more vivid and interesting images. To truly capture the location and the culture you need to learn to see what others do not notice. 

Imagine you are documenting your trip to relive later and take photos as if they were a diary snapshotting all the people and places you encounter. Capture the soul of the place you are in by taking pictures of locals at work, depicting how your travel companion moves to music played on the street or buying local food at the market. These are the stories that will reignite the feelings you had as you experienced your trip.

Top ideas for capturing beautiful travel photos

Shoot from an unexpected angle

Even the most popular and well known tourist attractions can yield interesting photos if you look at them from a different perspective. Look around, pay attention to the details, lay the camera on the ground and photograph the feet of passers-by, shoot from a high hill or from a low place. Reframing the location in fresh and interesting ways can make your photos unique and memorable.

Look for interesting reflections

The world around us is often mirrored in unexpected places, puddles, windows and shiny objects. Add a new dimension to your image by snapping the the road from in the rearview mirror. Photograph people in the reflections of shop windows and trees or mountains in the reflection of water.

Don’t let the weather hold you back

Clouds at sunset, the sky before a thunderstorm or after rain can all result in spectacular images. Photos taken on a clear sunny day often play havoc with your camera sensor and your subjects may be squinting. If the weather is fine, it’s better to photograph people at the border of the shade or wait for the “golden hour” before sunset when soft light helps to create very beautiful pictures.

Take artistic still life inspired photos

Take artistic still life photos of products at the market, bread in the bakery, fresh fruit or artisan cheeses to help convey the atmosphere of a new place.

Look for details

Sometimes an unusual doorway, a manhole or a wall of a house tells more about the city than a postcard style snapshot of famous attractions. 

Get up close and personal

Do not rely on the zoom of the smartphone or camera - if possible, get closer to the subject and focus in on the details.

Hello, World!

Shoot first, frame later

Make sure you capture moments as they happen and don’t fool yourself by thinking you’ll get to it later. On a trip, everything changes so quickly and you might not have an opportunity to photograph it again. Capture your subject quickly if necessary and even if you think you didn’t get the shot you may later be able to edit or crop it differently to find an interesting detail.

Create your own series

Some photographers create a compelling series of photographs documenting the same subject. Your specialty might be changing landscapes or you might get more creative and complement reality with paper-cut figures. Some creative photography series have become mainstream travel photos for example, when the photographer holds his companions hand.

Observe the interactions of people

People make the most fascinating photography subjects. Watch their interactions around you sitting at a cafe table or on a park bench, attending a city festival or sports tournament. Without intruding in their lives, try to catch the emotions of strangers in the lens. Nothing conveys the atmosphere of the city or event better than the people participating in it. 

For more tips on capturing compelling street scene photographs read: Life on the streets: The evolution of lifestyle photography and what we can learn from it today

The local people you meet in your travels can greatly enrich your experience in a new place. Whether they are new friends or strangers, when you photograph people try to capture them going about their daily lives. Try and be an unobtrusive observer to ensure candid photos and always respect local customs and privacy.

Taking spontaneous photos can often yield the most interesting results. A magic moment to photograph can happen at any time from the moment you leave home so let your camera always be ready. Let your instincts guide you to find interesting moments in everyday life.

Capture life in motion

Action photography is an area in which photography beats all other forms of art (except perhaps cinema). The camera’s ability to freeze dynamic movement is unparalleled. High shutter speeds make shooting movement accessible to everyone. You can set the camera shutter speed value in accordance with the speed of your subject and record people jumping, dancing and other fleeting movements.

When people are busy they often don’t even notice that they are being photographed. Shoot quickly and be sure to set a faster shutter speed so that the photo does not turn out blurry.

Take pictures of people at carnivals and festivals

To capture spirited photos head to local rituals, festivals and carnivals. Events brimming with jubilant people are a great place to try your hand at street photography. It can be a sports match, a religious event, or even an annual festival where you can take candid pictures of participants. To document and experience these occasions many photographers intentionally plan their trip on a date when there will be some kind of national holiday or sport event.

At parades and processions, participants move quickly, so be prepared to capture the action and not miss a candid opportunity. To ensure a sharp focus use a slow shutter speed, try experimenting with different shutter speeds of 1/100 second or less.

Festivals provide an excellent opportunity to create colourful and vibrant photographs. Participate and get involved to capture dynamic action and enjoy the moment.

Overall no matter what city or country you are in, photographing people can be a hugely enjoyable experience. Emotion and expression is key to conveying the atmosphere of your destination. Capturing locals or your travel companions in action, through candid shots and enjoying celebrations will help improve your visual storytelling and bring home better photographs than a postcard.