Welcome to our newest #holdersnotfolders challenge. A couple of weeks ago, Beth & I announced that we were bringing back our Holders Not Folders challenges! So many of you participated in our Summer 2014 series, and we had a blast cultivating a creative Instagram community with you all.

For this quick, six week series, we want to focus on teaching you something new (or reminding you of something you already know) to integrate into your phone photography. Each week we will announce the new challenge, share a quick tutorial and/or tips, and then encourage you to practice that skill in your instagrams! Make sure you hashtag #holdersnotfolders and interact with the others participating!

Are you in? We want to encourage you that you can create fun and inspiring photos with your phone and have a beautiful instagram that reflects YOU! Join the challenge and get creative.


We've talked about a lot the last couple weeks - composition, cropping, lighting, filters, and engaging a community but today we are talking about perspective. Your Instagram is essentially a big story book of your life. It is the pictures you snap on vacations, play dates, grocery store trips, graduations, celebrations, and all the little and big things that make up a life. You are sharing your story.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words - and wouldn't you agree? We can all look at one photo of a couple we have never met or seen before and let our imaginations run wild with their love story. We can look at a picture of our wedding day or the day our child was born and recall all the little details. We can see a picture from high school summer camp and remember the way the mountains smelled, the song you couldn't stop singing, and the boy that made your tummy turn to butterflies.
Perspective plays a large role in the story you tell. It adds depth, provides a new way of seeing things, catches little details, and brings life into your photo. There are four main perspectives - Up, Down, Straight On, and To The Side.

This is a perspective I tend to shoot in when I am trying to catch a sky full of fluffy clouds or a sunset but you don't just need to reserve it for those moments. Maybe you want to get up close with your object and look up or skim over the crowded Disney streets just to catch the details in the buildings. Tilting your camera up (at a variety of angles) can capture a intriguing moment. Each of these three photos, I cropped out crowded and cluttered streets of people by choosing to go above all of their heads. What do you see if you look up?

For full disclosure (and something you can figure out a second on my Instagram) this is my go-to angle. I don't know what I love most about the shot - maybe I have a thing with floors and shoes and the feeling of moving forward - either way, I've got bunches of these. Remember, looking down does not always need to include your feet - it may be looking down on a little one or a shot of your food from above. Tilt down and see what you can see. 

Another one of my favorites is the straight on shot. It requires you to step back and squat down most times so that your camera is facing your subject straight on. I love the story that this tells - it brings the watcher right into the moment. Sitting in front of the caramel apple with a friend on the other side of the table or reading a book title straight on. The fun part of this is that you can chose what you want to be straight on with - the first one I wanted the book straight on so I held out my camera and stood straight. The other two, I had to get pretty low to get the apple and the bowl head on. This photo was taken by Meg of me and it is straight on for her because she is taller than me. She held the camera out and got the top of my head and my ears. Look out. 

The last perspective is to the side - this one creates a story of length. You are not tilting up or down or looking straight on but you are looking to the side. I find this one is fun when I am trying to create a feeling of more, adventure, unknown, or wonder. Your eyes follow along the lines created by shooting to the side and your mind fills in the rest. Where do you want your eyes to travel?

Each one of these perspectives can be shot at a variety of angles to tell a different story but every time you go to take a picture think of what perspective you want to tell the story you are going for. Maybe even take a photo at every perspective and pick the one that works best! 

HOMEWORK: Now it's your turn! As you go through this week taking photos with your phone, think about what perspective you are shooting in. Scroll through your Instagram feed and see the perspectives you use most and comment below! Take some time trying to shoot in other perspectives this week - maybe take a photo in each perspective and post it. Be aware of the story you are telling. Share with us any photos you are proud of by using the hashtag #holdersnotfolders, and share some love on the other photos you see in the feed!

Make sure to follow @oakandoats and @megmcilvaine on Instagram. To see the rest of our series, click here!
Elizabeth Mayberry said...


chelsea said...

I never quite understood the #holdersnotfolders thing, but I like the heart + passion + purpose behind it. I may just jump on board also. I'm a photographer myself, and always like finding new things to be a part of, new challenges. :)

Stacia said...

Looking up and down are probably my favorite perspectives, but I use the others a decent amount too. I'm a fan of trying a ton of angles with every subject, if I can, because it's hard to know which one will be a gem until you look at it through your lens. :)

Olivia Shaw said...

This is a great post! It's hard to choose between the perspectives, since they all look so good! I think I tend to use looking up a lot.

Olivia (www.vickiandlivi.com)

Martha Kate Stainsby said...

Oh these are such great tips! Love this. xo MK www.leavingperfectionlearninggrace.com

Daisy @ Simplicity Relished said...

I need to work on this!! I'm really uncreative when it comes to perspectives.

Jennifer said...

Great tips and post! Ive been trying to work on these! Thanks for sharing!

Meg McIlvaine said...

Of course! Thanks for stopping by!

Meg McIlvaine said...

You've got this! Perspective is so fun to play around with!

Meg McIlvaine said...

Thanks girl! Hope to see your photos on #holdersnotfolders! :)

Meg McIlvaine said...

Looking up is a great one! I use it for a lot of nature type shots!

Meg McIlvaine said...

Me too! Use all the angles! Haha. I'll take a picture of the same object from all directions just to see what I love most.

Meg McIlvaine said...

Thanks Chelsea! Glad you're joining us :)

Meg McIlvaine said...

Good post, bethy.

Samantha@Elah Tree said...

You ladies are just killin' it! :)

Meg McIlvaine said...


Stacia said...