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Instagram Tips and Tricks: Guest Blogger

Have you ever wondered what you would eat for your last meal? Melanie Dunea has. When she’s not interviewing people for her site My Last Supper, she spends her time as a freelance portrait photographer and casual instagramer. And this week, Melanie is sharing her favorite beauty, food, and photography tips on the Birchbox blog. 

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I’m a professional photographer and I love Instagram. Thanks to the ingenious app, I can check out what’s cooking in April Bloomfield’s kitchen or see how my pal’s holiday is shaping up. Sure, I have fancy cameras for work and a little point and shoot for recreational purposes, but most of my day-to-day snaps are taken with my iPhone and uploaded straight to the site. When budding photographers want to talk cameras and equipment, I always tell them the tools don’t make the photo. Naturally, there are benefits of better, longer lenses and good camera bodies, but none of that will help you catch what Henri Cartier Bresson called the “decisive moment.” A moment is a moment, you either see it and it moves you to click, or you don’t.

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Of course, there are some simple tips for looking good in a photo —Instagram or otherwise. At the risk of sounding like your mother, sit up! No one looks good slouching. Never allow yourself to be photographed from below. Eye-level or a little from above is the way to go. You know how cute animals looks when they peer up at you with cocked heads? The same goes for humans! A little tilt of the head will make you look instantly more endearing. And if you think a shot of tequila is a good idea before posing for a pic, think again. Alcohol instantly creates blood shot eyes and exploding capillaries on your face.

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As for food, a lot people favor snapping from above. I say, move around. Pull back or get close. Just shoot what looks delicious. Ina Garten (a.k.a. the Barefoot Contessa) once told me the photographs in her books are meant to depict the mid-point of a party, with dishes and glasses all around. Fun!

I don’t take my Instagram too seriously and nor should you. I follow friends and chefs (not to mention Madonna!) and I post everything from what I’m making for dinner to a silly shadow or flower I spy on the street. Filters and crops can jazz up even the lamest latte or protruding plane wing. Use them. It just makes the photos all the more appealing.

We’re a little obsessed with Instagram ourselves. Follow us to get a behind-the-scenes look at all things Birchbox

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