Korean Instagram photography tips


Maintaining a lively feed is surprisingly difficult. Many of us have combed through the feeds of celebrities in hopes of getting inspiration. However, it can be exhausting when our attempts to mimic their photos yield nothing but an album full of unflattering shots.

To help you kick-start your journey towards a flawless feed, we’ve tried and tested 7 Korean Instagram photo tips that will transform your feed to rival those of popular Korean female celebrities.

Korean Instagram Photo Tips - cover


1. Pose with your hands


It’s normal to have asymmetrical faces, and one side of our face often looks better than the other. Before taking selfies, figure out which is your best side. Always ensure that you face the camera with the side that brings you the most confidence, à la Ariana Grande.


Position your fingers along your jawline


Korean Instagram Photo Tips - hand pose
Image adapted from (left to right): @hyeri_0609, @hye_yoon1110 and @jihye8024

Positioning your fingers along your jawline brings attention to it and makes your jaw appear sharper. Add some pizzazz by tilting your head – facing the camera straight on looks more natural while tilting your head at an angle gives you a defined jawline.


Cup your face


Korean Instagram Photo Tips - woman cupping face
Image adapted from (left to right): @heybiblee, @skuukzky and @roses_are_rosie

Most phones have front-facing cameras that will distort your features. You can disguise that by cupping your face with one hand. It also has the added benefit of covering up an annoying pimple along your jawline, and makes you look like you have a slimmer face.

Tip: Hand poses should always maintain a “soft touch” look. You’re not doing it right if you are forcefully pressing into your face. Relax your fingers and don’t fall prey to unnatural hand posing.


2. Frame your face with fringe


Korean Instagram Photo Tips - messy fringe
Image adapted from (left to right): @xeesoxee, @sjkuksee and @yubi_190

These days, the “I got out of bed like this” look has been popular among Korean celebrities on Instagram.

In South Korea, there is a term called 꾸안꾸 (kku-ahn-kku), which is an abbreviation for 꾸민 듯 안 꾸민 듯 (kku-min-deut ahn-kku-min-deut). This translates to “looking good in a natural manner as though you have not tried to”. The most important trait of this trend is framing your face with loose fringe in an artfully tousled manner.

To achieve this look, you should frame your face with a few pieces of your fringe while maintaining a “see-through” effect. This helps make your pictures look organic and effortless.

Tip: Use a large hair roller or electric curler to create natural soft curls so that the loose fringe will nicely frame your face. There is nothing more tragic than having flat hair that sticks to your face.


3. Use a plain white background


Korean Instagram Photo Tips - white background
Image adapted from (left to right): @hyominnn, @gojunhee and @sh_9513

All you need for an aesthetic OOTD shot is a plain white wall.

Plain white backgrounds put the focus on the subject in the picture. You can experiment with poses and angles to your heart’s content, and you’ll never have to worry about the background clashing with your outfit or props.

Tip: White backgrounds pair well with a streak of sunlight. Clever use of light and shadows can also give your photos an artistic flair.


4. Take candid shots in natural lighting


Korean Instagram Photo Tips - candid pose
Image adapted from (left to right): @hyunah_aa, @yoanaloves and @renebaebae

Candid shots are popular these days because it adds authenticity to your feed. Korean celebrities are no strangers to this trend and often post candids to make themselves seem more relatable.

For us normies, candid shots are a good way to appear more vibrant and down-to-earth. All you need is good natural lighting and a space you feel comfortable moving around in.

Tip: Ask your friend to take photos in burst mode while you are preparing to pose for the camera. Chances are, you’ll get shots of yourself looking relaxed, breaking out in laughter, and most importantly, being your natural authentic self. Your candid shots might even turn out better than your posed shots.


5. Take selfies at a 45-degree angle


Korean Instagram Photo Tips - 45 degree pose
Image adapted from (left to right): @marcellasne_, @tiffanyyoungofficial and @soooo_you

Taking selfies straight on is such a boomer thing to do. Instead, you should take it at a 45-degree angle. Not only does it allow you to capture more of the upper half of your body in the frame, but it also adds dimension and appeal to your selfies. This method works best when the camera is held at eye level. Doing otherwise will distort your face shape.


6. Turn your flash on for mirror selfies


Korean Instagram Photo Tips - mirror selfie flash
Image adapted from (left to right): @miyayeah, @jennierubyjane, and @hyominnn

When it comes to effortless OOTDs, mirror selfies are the way to go. Korean celebrities take it a notch higher by turning their flash on while doing so.

A flash creates a lens flare in the reflection, giving the overall picture an organic feel. Like in most mirror selfies, naturally tilt your head and body to best showcase your outfit.

Tip: Always use a clean mirror that is free of fingerprints and dirt. Make sure you’re in a well-lit environment as the lighting from the flash should serve as an accent, rather than the main lighting source.


7. Stick one leg out for full-body shots


Korean Instagram Photo Tips - low angle longer legsImage adapted from (left to right): @somin_jeon0822, @betterlee_0824 and @bbang_93

Taking a good full-body shot is just a matter of angles, even if you aren’t blessed with model-like proportions. In particular, Korean celebrities like to pair the trusty low-angle trick with sticking one leg out to create the illusion of having long legs.

Taking a picture from waist level or lower elongates your entire body, while having a leg in front closer to the camera makes it appear longer. This method is a simple yet effective way of looking tall without having to put on heels.

Tip: Avoid positioning your camera too low as it can result in a disproportionate-looking body. Do note that a low camera angle can also make your face appear bigger. You can always tilt your head and make use of hand poses to cover up such imperfections.


Korean Instagram tips from celebrities


With these 7 Korean Instagram tips and a smartphone camera, you are now more than ready to fill your Instagram feed with aesthetic photos. Getting the angles and posing right may take a bit of time, but practice makes perfect. Don’t give up if a technique does not work on your first try. Experiment with different methods and in time, you will find the best way to present yourself on Instagram, just like these popular Korean celebrities.

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Cover image adapted from (left to right): @tiffanyyoungofficial, @xeesoxee and @heybiblee