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Have you ever caught yourself scrolling through Instagram and said, “How on EARTH did they take that picture? What’s their secret?” (You don’t have to answer, I know you have.)

Most of those seemingly flawless images are actually the product of thoughtful staging and sometimes, a significant budget. But don’t let money deter you. With a little creativity you can turn you run of the mill selfie into an Influencer-worthy gram.

Don’t believe me? Check out these 13 “the Setup vs. the Shot” photos to inspire your inner photographer.

1. It’s all about the angles:

And taking advantage of that Golden Hour lighting.

2. Have I died and gone to heaven?

This seems almost too beautiful to be real.

3. All it takes it a little ingenuity:

DIY mermaid photoshoot:

4. A little smoke and mirrors:

Finally, a use for all your old CDs!

5. Color me impressed:

Taking advantage of that natural, outdoor lighting really makes a difference.

6. Literally just a blanket and a patch of grass:

AND a reflector. Consider purchasing one of these for your next shoot.

7. Fierce AF:

The shadows hitting the yellow background really add dimension.

8. It helps to have an attractive subject:

Can we see some more from this shoot?

9. You don’t necessarily need a ton of money:

This setup shot looks a little sketch, but the finished product is bright and peaceful.

10. Just a sheet and some sunlight:

And the right makeup look.

11. A good camera makes a difference too:

The right technology can turn beautiful, vibrant flowers into sad, melancholy blooms.

12. Creativity is key:

This one is absolutely stunning.

13. Creativity AND commitment:

Feeling inspired yet?

Don’t feel bad if your pictures don’t look this impressive yet. And don’t think you HAVE to go out and immediately buy a bunch of equipment.

People make entire careers on creating painstakingly curated content and images to sell products or promote brands. If you’re just looking to up your Insta game, try experimenting with different lighting techniques, or investing in a cheap and simple backdrop. The more creative you can get, the more satisfying it is to share the set up vs. the shot!

Do you have any photography tips for aspiring influencers?

Let us know in the comments!


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