Instagram is above all else a photo sharing site. It’s built for showcasing your images. With millions and millions of active users, it can be hard to stand out on the platform and gain new Instagram followers if you’re not taking gorgeous photos. You may even think the app isn’t for you if you’re not a pro at photography.
But don’t fear. You don’t have to be a professional in order to take photographs that are beautiful and make a statement for your brand. You don’t even have to have a fancy camera. Your phone’s camera will do the job just fine. Follow these tips on how to take better Instagram photos, and you’ll be well on your way.
1. Lighting Matters
The first rule of photography experts is to use good lighting. In fact, it should be natural light whenever possible. You’ll get true-to-life colors and depth when you avoid using the flash. Outdoors photos are fantastic, as there are so many ways to take advantage of true natural light.
However, you can mimic the effect when indoors simply by positioning your subject near a window. If you’re taking photos in the dark, try to find sources of ambient light such as a street lamp or other light source before engaging your flash.
2. Avoid Too Much Light
Yes, natural light is good. However, too much lighting, or overexposure, is never good. This is something that can’t easily be fixed with editing software, so you’ll want to avoid it prior to take your photo.
You can do this easily on your phone by using your finger to tap or slide on the screen to adjust the exposure. Play around with it to figure out your particular phone model. This step is easy and makes a big difference.
3. Understand Photography Basics
While lighting is undeniably the most important aspect of a good photo, there are some other basic concepts of photography you should be familiar with if you want to take share-worthy images. All the editing in the world won’t help you if you don’t understand the basics. You want to start with the best possible photograph prior to editing and then just tweak it a bit. Composition is the first thing you should know. It’s the way in which your subject is framed or placed.
The rule of thirds is a guide that can help you balance your composition. Just imagine your canvas broken up into thirds by a grid, and then place your subject in one of those grids for a pleasing result. Negative space is the area that is around your photo’s subject. There should be enough space so that your subject is highlighted. Perspective is the angle you use to shoot your photograph. Play around with it a bit. Try going up high on a stool or ladder or try from below to catch the light just right. Taking photos straight on is boring.
4. Know Your Vibe
A key element of branding anywhere, but especially on Instagram, is to create a vibe or aesthetic that represents your brand. Just as most companies have a logo and certain colors that are associated with them, your photography should also emit a feeling that lets viewers recognize it as yours. Your brand photography style can be conveyed in a number of ways. First, decide your ultimate mission. Do you want your photos to tell a story?
To feature your products? To invoke emotion? Keep the desired effect in mind when shooting. You’ll also want to determine what type of theme best represents your brand and its message. You could decide that black and white photography gives the vibe you want or maybe you want to use a particular filter to add pops of color that personify your brand.
Whatever you decide, try to keep it consistent throughout all of your images so that they become recognizable as yours and so your photos flow smoothly when viewed together on your page.
5. Plan Your Shoot Ahead of Time
While it would be nice to believe the photos you see on Instagram are spontaneous moments captured in an instant, the truth is more likely that they involved some planning and forethought. It’s true; a lot of the images are staged, but that doesn’t make them less poignant or impactful.
In fact, some preparation actually makes it more likely you’ll have better images to offer. Consider what best fits your aesthetic. Maybe you’ll need certain props. You’ll want to make sure you’ve obtained them ahead of time. Lots of popular Instagram users make the location central to their imagery. Scouting the perfect place to shoot might be time consuming.
Be sure to account for that. Gather all your supplies and the people you’ll need. Maybe it’s models or perhaps you could just use an extra pair of hands to be your assistant. The logistics of the perfect images require time, organization and planning.
6. Decide on Your Editing
There are tons of editing options available to you. While your phone’s camera probably offers editing features, you don’t want to rely on them alone. In addition, don’t plan on using just the tools found on Instagram.
These are all rather basic and will definitely cause your photos to look amateur. Instead, explore the apps that are out there specifically for photo editing. Do some research online. Ask your friends what they use. There are tons of fun filter and overlay options. You definitely want to get creative. With that being said, be careful not to over edit, as it can distort your original image and make it look off.
Most of all, have fun with it. Make sure your images are crisp and clear, that they convey consistency in appearance and that they reflect your brand. Taking better Instagram photos doesn’t have to be difficult. Anyone can do it.