It’s been ten years since Instagram first arrived on the scene, and things have changed dramatically in the space of the decade. Back then, many people still didn’t own a smartphone, and those who did had to endure cameras with hazy picture quality and limited functionality. In fact, the app didn’t even let you upload photos; you had to use the poor quality in-app camera to take your selfies or document your latest home-cooked meal.
But now it’s simple for anyone to take beautiful photos. And you don’t need to have the latest iPhone or take a photography course to do so. Most phones these days have extremely high-quality cameras, and all you need is a few simple skills and techniques to make the most of them.
If you are looking to improve your Instagram game, look no further than this article. Read on to learn some tried and tested tricks for taking flawless photos. Whether you’re documenting your holiday, taking foodie pics, snapping your beloved pooch, or taking the perfect selfie, you’ll be racking up the likes in no time.
1. Understand light
There’s a certain time of day that photographers refer to as The Golden Hour. It refers to the period directly after sunrise or before sunset when natural daylight is softer and less harsh than in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky. This specific time casts a warm glow over your photos, essentially acting as a natural filter. Try heading outdoors to take your pictures early in the morning or later in the evening to get the best effect.
2. Use composition to your advantage
It’s not enough to point your camera at a subject and hope for the best. The best photographers consider every single aspect of the photo and know the best way to compose the shot for the perfect overall effect. The are several techniques you can use for better photo composition
- The rule of thirds: Imagine breaking down your image into thirds, horizontally and vertically. Keeping the focal point of your image in line with these thirds provides a much more visually stimulating picture than keeping your subject perfectly centred
- Layers: Incorporate different textures into your image by using the foreground and the background to create a sense of depth.
- White space: You’ve no doubt seen those beautiful minimalist photos of objects or people surrounded by empty white space. This technique helps you frame your image and draws the viewer’s eye to the subject.
3. Take perfect action shots
Taking photos of a subject in motion can be tricky, as it’s easy to time your shot poorly and end up with a blurry or poorly composed image. Fortunately, your phone has a handy solution to this problem with the continuous burst function. This allows you to take a large number of photos of a subject in quick succession. You can then flick through your shots and pick out the one that perfectly captures the effect you’re after.
4. Change your perspective
We see a lot of similar photos on Instagram. This article shows how and why many of the pictures people post on social media end up looking exactly the same. If you really want your Instagram pics to stand out, you need to start doing something different. Shoot subjects from different angles or try to find the beauty in places you wouldn’t expect to find it. Get low on the ground or climb a tree if you have to to find a new perspective on an object.
5. Know your file formats
A quality digital camera will enable you to take incredible photos, far beyond the capability of most phones. Yet this brings the hassle of transferring them to your phone in order to upload them to Instagram. This will often involve fiddling around with file sizes and formats. If your phone has limited storage space, you might have to learn how to compress images or convert your photos into JPEGs without losing quality. (See how to convert png to jpg mac for more info).
Using the tried and tested photography methods is an excellent way for beginners to get started and hone their craft. But if you really want your Insta profile to make a distinctive impression, you need to start doing something a little different. We’re no longer living in the age of analogue cameras where you can only take a limited number of photos before you run out of film. Digital photography allows you to take as many shots as you like, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try something a little unusual. You can always delete them afterwards if you’re not happy.
7. Be observant
The best photos come at the most unexpected times. When you’re next out and about, try keeping your head out of your phone and observing the world around you. You’ll be surprised how often you see a perfect photo opportunity in everyday life. By being observant, you will train your mind to spot these opportunities whenever they arise. Just don’t forget to bring your camera!
8. Know your filters
Sometimes a photo takes a little work to get it just right. This is where the editing process comes in. Adding a filter or an effect to a photo can add aesthetic appeal, but be careful not to overdo it.
9. Crunch the numbers
If likes are what you’re after, you need to know what gets people excited. Schedule some time every now and then to go back through your photos and see which ones received the most likes. This should give you a better idea of what your followers like to see, and which subjects are perhaps less popular. Use these results to shape your future efforts and give your followers more of what they’re after.
Like any skill, taking amazing Instagram photos requires a lot of practice. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the results you would like at first. By putting in the time and effort, you will gradually see your photography skills start to improve, and before long, you’ll be an Instagram superstar.