Undoubtedly, seeing your photo get attention and love feels pretty freakin’ great. Trying to get likes and follows should never be your main goal on Instagram – the app should be used to show off your life and the things you love, regardless of whether others approve or not – but that doesn’t mean you can’t care a little bit. It’s really important to me that my Instagram photos look good, because, sure, it’s just an app, but it’s also a social media profile that represents yourself.
But taking great Instagram photos can be hard sometimes. The camera on phones has come a very long way, but they still aren’t as good as professional cameras (and never will be). If things aren’t perfectly in place, it can be really easy for your photo to look like a mess. Want to up the quality of your Insta uploads, impress your followers, and get more likes? Here are 15 tips on how to mkae your Instagram pictures look GREAT!!
Changing how close you are to the object that you’re taking a photo of can really change how the whole image looks. That might sound really obvious, but check out these three images:
(Screenshotted from the Instagram app, so you can see the grid overlay – we’ll explain about that one in the next tip)
By zooming in (and even with the extreme one!), the focus of the image is totally different.
Change Your View
Do you know what the rule of thirds is? It’s a technique used in art and (in this case) photography where you imagine that the photo is overlayed with a grid – have you noticed in Instagram, you get that grid splitting your image into 9 squares? That’s a really helpful guide for you to position your image.
The rule of thirds says that for a more interesting composition, you should try to put the main parts of your image along those lines.
Empty Your Space
Using empty space in your image kinda goes against the first tip about zooming in, but depending on what you’re taking photos of, it can fit in a lot more. Use the empty space to draw the viewers eye down to the subject – especially when combined with the rule of thirds
Avoid The Flash, Always Use Natural Light
The number one Instagram rule is this: natural light is always, always best. The flash on your phone will make photos look bad no matter what. It’s way too harsh and it will blow out your photos, as well as ruin the lighting and just make everything generally weird. It’s not good. Use natural light to your advantage. If you’re taking a photo, go outside or close to a window. Avoid harsh, bright sunlight if possible, as it will have similar effects to the flash. If the picture is still a little dim, use editing and filters to adjust.
Keep It Simple, But Not Too Simple
Whenever you’re taking a picture, keep this in mind: you want things to be simple, not messy and busy. At the same time, you don’t want it to be TOO simple. Take the picture on the left as one example: if this were just a picture of the black bag on a completely white background, it would be boring, no matter how beautiful the bag is. Adding just one other prop – the vase of flowers – and putting these on a textured background instantly makes the picture better without distracting us from the main focus.There’s a lot going on in the second photo, but it still looks simple because of the way it was put together. The items are on a very plain background (just a wooden table), which isn’t distracting. Each item is carefully placed and looks neat – it’s not too busy, even though it very easily could be. Remember: use props to make your picture better, but don’t go overboard.
Edit Before You Filter
Instagram has come a long way since it first came out. Now you don’t only have the option to add filters – you can also edit your photos, almost like a baby Photoshop. Before you filter, try editing. Playing with the brightness or contrast can make your picture look sharper, better, and more natural than a filter can. Sometimes pictures look better with just a little bit of editing rather than a whole bunch of filters.
Use Other Apps To Edit Your Photos
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but seriously: look beyond Instagram for editing and filter options. There are countless amounts of photo editing apps out there. Instagram is getting better with filter options, but a lot of these apps are just far superior to them. My favorites are VSCOcam, Afterlight, Camera+, and Litely. They offer gorgeous filters that you just can’t get on Instagram.
Take Pictures With Your Phone Camera, Not The Instagram Camera
Never taker your pictures in the Instagram app, always take them with your iPhone camera. The Instagram camera feature doesn’t take the best pictures, plus, you’re then confined to that little square, which can be limiting.
Keep The Background Simple
The background of your photo is really important. If you have something super busy and crazy going on, it distracts from your subject. If you’re trying to take a picture of an object, using a plain white background is best. White backgrounds make your whole picture look brighter, and they also ensure that the focus is on the subject. If you’re taking an #ootd picture, stand by a wall that isn’t distracting. It doesn’t have to be plain white, but it should be pretty bare.
Know When To Use Black and White
Sometimes we take pictures in terrible lighting that would be SO CUTE if the lighting were better. Rather than post a picture that offers truly awful lighting and colors, take advantage of the black and white feature. Black and white takes away pretty much every lighting issue. In the image on the right, I could not manage to get a photo that had good lighting. Changing it to black and white definitely made a difference.