Although I was a little slow joining in on the Instagram craze, I am now officially addicted. While drinking my morning coffee, multiple times throughout the day and always before I put my phone down at night, I scroll through my feed looking at images. I know I am not alone in my obsession as almost everyone tells me Instagram is their preferred choice for social media.
We all want to post great eye catching photos so I have seven tips to share for taking better Instagram Photos.
1.Don’t use the Instagram app to take your photos. It is best to take your photo with the native cell phone camera or your DSLR and then import it to Instagram. You will have more control and can edit the image as needed before posting.
2.Keep it simple: Most people are scrolling through Instagram on their phone so keep your photos simple, clean and well edited. A nanosecond is about the amount of time you have to grab someones attention. If you are looking to engage the viewer in order to get those little red hearts, then keep this rule in mind. Instagram is not the venue for cluttered photos with lots of intricate details.
3. Look for strong shapes and saturated color: Your image does not have to be anything extraordinary. Look for bright colors, interesting shapes or shadows and the simplest of things can have a strong visual impact.
4. Use symmetry. The human eye loves symmetry. In the past Instagram only allowed square format but now you can post both portrait and landscape format. I advise sticking to either square or portrait since the landscape format gets compressed and becomes even more difficult to see. If you use the square format (which is my favorite) then skip the “rule of thirds”. Try centering your subject to create a pleasing symmetry.
5. Use natural light and be thoughtful of the time of day. Lighting is by far the most important element of any good photo. If the lighting is bad, no amount of editing will turn it into a great photo. Early morning and just before sunset is the ideal time of the day to shoot outdoors because the light has a soft warm glowing quality. Overcast days are also good because the overcast sky acts as a giant soft box. On bright sunny days beware of shooting between 10am-2pm as the light can be very harsh and unfaltering.
6. Look for interesting angles. Try photographing an object from above or below. Experiment with different angles and camera heights. I love shooting down from tall buildings. It’s an always changing landscape and often times a great opportunity for something unique. Besides shooting up and down also be on the lookout for interesting angles and unusual juxtapositions.
7.Use editing apps but not the Instagram filters. I confess, I fell prey to using the IG filters when I first joined. There are some very odd colored ones and although I quickly tired of the filters I then learned how to use editing apps to tweak my photos. Again, I went a little too far with those as well. My early posts had some very unnatural looking skies and neon green grass. Luckily, that phase also was short lived. Basic edits such as cropping, straightening architectural lines, boosting the contrast (if needed) and slightly upping the saturation can take a good photo and turn it into a great photo. Just don’t over do it. My favorite basic editing app is Snapseed. It’s free, easy to learn, and can accomplish most of what you need. For more advanced retouching apps I use VSCO, Adobe PhotoShop Express, and TouchRetouch.
If you are serious about improving your photography all the above tips will help but nothing beats getting out there and practicing. You need to train your eye just like any other muscle and the more you shoot the better you will get.
If it’s “LIKES” you are after be sure to check back next week because I have seven tips for getting more “likes” on Instagram.
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