Ellie Koleen is cool. Let’s just get that out of the way. But what makes her particular brand of cool so appealing is that it’s 100 percent real and involves really gorgeous photographs.
Koleen is a wedding photographer by trade. Schooled by her dad, a commercial photographer, Koleen started earning a living shooting weddings about a year ago, having become a wife herself not too long before that. And when she’s not capturing the nuptials of couples up and down the state of California, Koleen is snapping shots on her cellphone for her Instagram account. There are feet selfies and pictures of her pets (including a hedgehog named Hashtag); food pics and candid shots of giggling girlfriends side-by-side with scenic coastlines, abstract cityscapes and still lifes of some of her favorite things (from flowers to notebooks, reading glasses and stationary).
But what sets Koleen’s account apart from the accounts of other twenty-somethings who use the app, is the immediate impact of Koleen’s perspective, and the synergy between all of her photos. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. And what might otherwise come off as a haphazard jumble of daily minutiae becomes a mini digital art collection….with more than 6,000 followers.
Even better for Instagram lovers in Fresno, in particular, is that a lot of Koleen’s pictures are taken around the city, giving us a fresh perspective and making our city just a little bit cooler by association. Koleen says her account allows her creative freedom, but also serves as a portfolio that is much loved by her Insta followers. It has led to collaborations with major blogs like Design*Sponge and Green Wedding Shoes.
Below, Koleen shares her top five tips for taking better Instagram photos. Check them out and watch my interview with Koleen in which she talks about how she got started, what she likes about shooting weddings and her “24 Hours in Fresno, CA” collaboration with Design*Sponge.
1. Stick to natural light.
Take photos outside or by window light, and avoid artificial lighting. If you are taking photos inside, turn off all the artificial lighting in the room. This will give you an even color temperature and keep the light clean.
2. Sometimes less is more.
If you have a bunch of awesome, but busy, photos in your feed, try taking a more minimalistic one every once in a while to break it up a bit. Imagine scrolling through your feed full of visual clutter and stumbling upon a simple but refreshing minimalistic photo. It really catches the eye! Look for symmetry, color and pattern.
3. Don’t use Instagram to take and edit the photo.
Just like with my professional photography, sometimes it takes a few tries to get the perfect shot. Shoot with the normal camera app on your phone, this way you can take as many photos as you want and pick your favorite later. My favorite editing app is VSCO but there are so many good ones out there!
4. Use the same filter every time to give you feed a consistent feel.
I use the same 2 filters at about 75% opacity each stacked on top of each other in VSCO. Find your favorite combo and stick to it! I also like to mostly photograph only neutrals and light subjects. It’s what my eye is naturally drawn to!
5. Always use the square format while shooting.
It helps you to frame your shot best for Instagram!
Ellie Koleen: @elliserochelle on Instagram