The clean and modern look is a very popular theme for photographers, bloggers, and Instagrammers. It adds a sophisticated and professional look to images. In this post, I’ll share with you 5 helpful tips to achieving a soft clean modern theme for your photos.
For starters, I’m going to give my breakdown of this theme. Based on my observation common characteristics of this theme include the following:
- Diffused + clean lighting
- (3 Different types of looks) Cool color temperature/tones | Desaturated tones | Deep Warm Tones
- Slightly desaturated colors
- Small saturation boosts for specific colors (if any saturation boosts at all)
- Organized and simplistic styling
- Color schemes: black, white & greys, slightly desaturated blues, deep greens
1. Shoot indoors
Shooting indoors can give you a lot of control over your images, which is essential when achieving a clean and modern aesthetic. When you’re outdoors so many elements can drastically affect your shoot. Lighting can suddenly change due to clouds, the wind may start blowing away your props, the temperature may affect your props (especially when working with food), and if you’re like me, bugs can ruin your focus. Yeah, I have almost dropped my camera in a lake before due to my wasp/bee phobia haha.
When you’re indoors, it's much easier to control these elements. For example, if you’re using artificial light, and unless your goal is to shoot with a mixed lighting (artificial + available light) it's best you shoot where other light sources won’t affect your shoot. These are easiest to achieve while indoors. If you’re shooting in a professional photo studio, you may have access to curtains and shades to black out all other light sources. If not you can still distance yourself from windows or even purchase blackout curtains/shades for your windows to help. If you’re using natural lighting while indoors, you may still be subject to sudden changes in light as the sun and clouds move, but you can distance setup or bring it closer to the window you are shooting near. Plus its also easier to manipulate natural light coming from one or few windows, versus manipulating natural lightroom from so many directions while outdoors.
2. Shoot on a cloudy day or in the shade
It’s funny because I get excited and motivated on cloudy days. I originally couldn’t figure out why, but I think it because as a photographer I look forward to cloudy days when planning shoots outdoors or using natural light. Cloudy weather gives you clean and diffused lighting which is essential in creating a clean modern look. If you need to shoot outside, go find a shaded area to shoot your images in. Make sure you adjust your ISO and shutter speed accordingly to get the correct exposure.
3. Use diffusers
So, what if it’s not cloudy outside and or there is no available diffused lighting? That’s what light modifiers are for. Modifying light is an essential technique to have under your belt whether you are working with natural, available, or artificial light. There are so many types of modifiers for different purposes and looks. For the clean and modern look, diffused light works best so I recommend modifying specifically with diffusers. Now, don’t freak out and think you have to go buy professional photography diffusers (they can get pricey). Any material that helps soften and spread light will work. Examples of perfect DIY diffusers include then bed sheets, curtains, etc.
Here is an affordable diffuser that I use:
4. Keep styling minimal and simplistic
Minimalistic and simplistic styling is a common characteristic of this theme. My primary tip for minimalistic photo styling is utilizing white space. And of course, using the “less is more” mindset while choosing the number of props you use. You can get inspiration for styling your photos on my post, How to Pick The Best Props for Your Instagram Theme
Check out some of these shots for inspiration as well:
5. Make sure your lens is clean
Always make sure you do a quick cleaning of your lens, before any shoot. But it is definitely imperative to make sure your lens is clean for this theme. Smudges, grease marks, are not only horrible to have your images, but they will also affect the focus and sharpness of your subject(s). And yes, sometimes you can fix lens blemishes in the post, but it’s an unnecessary waste of time if you can get right in camera on the front end.
*Bonus Tip: Use my Modern Blogger Presets
Try my Modern Blogger Insta-Theme Lightroom Preset Collection. They're created to help give your images a consistent modern aesthetic.