When scrolling through your Instagram feed, there are certain images that make you stop in your tracks. Considering the media-abundant time we’re living in, a photograph that can make a viewer pause for a moment or two is truly a special thing! These images are examples of pop photography — a type of shot that colorfully captures the scene, evokes a mood effortlessly, and tells a story, all in a simple frame.

Pop photography may seem simple, but it is a special algorithm of many photographic elements. It’s time to make your photography truly burst into life! Here are five of my top tips for creating bold and explosive pop photographs.

Nastasia Yakoub pop photography
Photos by Nastasia Yakoub

Color

With the seemingly endless amount of images out there on social media, Instagram specifically, the first element to an excellent pop photograph is use of color. Bold colors will draw the eye in, while pastels illustrate a dreamy scene. Saturated photographs with excellent use of color and tone are the initial signs of an interesting photograph to a viewer, so I always try to bring out the colorful tones in every image I share.

Nastasia Yakoub pop photography
Photos by Nastasia Yakoub

Scale

As a travel photographer, I find the most well-loved images I share are those that showcase the scale of a scene. Sure, a photograph of an epic sunset or a city skyline is beautiful, but when the viewer can compare the vastness of the space to a figure in the foreground, it suddenly seems much more grand. When shooting an epic landscape, be sure to include some sort of smaller subject in juxtaposition.

Nastasia Yakoub pop photography
Photo by Nastasia Yakoub

Human Elements

When sharing a landscape, be it an epic vista or even an indoor overhead shot of a cafe table, it’s important to add little touches of humanity. Adding a hand in the frame of a dinner table or a bicycle leaned against the exterior of a building shows a more intimate, detailed side to a well-known scene. Human elements draw the attention of a viewer in and subconsciously, I think, make the scene more tangible and personal. 

Photos by Nastasia Yakoub

Re-Imagining a Well-Known Subject

Whenever I find myself in a city filled with well-known historic sights or streetscapes, I love the challenge of rethinking their iconic views. Why? Well, in the heavily saturated image-based society we live in, a viewer has seen these sights over and over again. Now, if they suddenly see that view from a different vantage point, suddenly their interest in piqued and they’re able to see your subject in a new light.

If you should find yourself in a similar situation, try adjusting your perspective or focus of your subject. Go a few blocks away to see the sight from a distance, add a textural element out of focus in the foreground. Experiment and have fun!

Photo by Nastasia Yakoub

Movement

The devil is in the details, they say, but I happen to think that’s right where the magic is, especially when it comes to pop photography. Movement is a fun photographic element that brings energy and life to an image. Photograph linear lines that draw the viewer’s attention to a far-off viewpoint, play with the rule of thirds or shoot moving people with an intentional blur. These little moments of movement have a quality of vitality and liveliness, bringing animation to a still shot. Movement really makes an image sparkle.