We’ve all been there when the green eyed Instagram monster rears its ugly head. Why haven’t I got to the magic 11 likes? How come she has 500 followers? Why can’t I take those amazing flat lay photos? Just some of the thoughts that probably run through our mind on a far too frequent basis.
Okay, we know Instagram isn’t real life. It’s a carefully curated version of the events, moments, people and places we want others to see but it’s still nice to feel proud of your grid. In honour of the most famous photo sharing app in the world, we’ve rounded up some top tips to make your Instagram shine.
Make Use of Natural Light
It’s a no brainer really, if you’re taking a photo in a dimly lit area then it’s probably not going to make the best photo. Try to take photos in as much natural light as possible, and avoid flash where possible.
If you’re taking photos out and about then you’re going to be restricted as to how the light flows, but if you’re snapping away at home then find a spot in the home which lets the light flood in. If you’re serious (and I mean £100 serious) about your grams then look at investing in a soft box photo light.
Take More Than One Photo
Don’t just take one photo and think you’ve got the shot. Chances are you probably haven’t. Take a few shots, look at the outcome and if it’s not working switch up the composition or angle you’re taking the picture from.
Photography really is a trial and error game and it’ll probably take you a little while to find your photography style. It’s really irritating when you come to edit or post the photo and realised something isn’t quite right, so give yourself plenty of options to choose from.
Straight and Steady
Try to take the photo at as straight an angle as possible. If you’re taking photos of things like horizons or landscapes, try to keep things in their natural positioning. If it’s slightly uneven then you can easily adjust it in the editing stage so that everything sits just right.
An unintentional blurry photo is not the one. No amount of sharpening can help to resolve a fuzzy pic, so try to keep your hand free from wobbles. Avoid zooming in too, as this can also cause the picture to pixelate. This article has some handy advice on taking great phone photos.
Theme or No Theme?
To theme or not to theme is the question on every Instagramer’s lips, but if we’re honest it’s really down to your personal preference. Some people end up finding a theme too restrictive, whereas others want their grid to look polished.
If you do go for a theme, then obviously consistency is key. You’ll probably want to keep the edits and filters you use the same or even pick a certain ‘thing’ you’ll focus on. It may be that you’re all about food shots, beauty or scenic snaps – the choice is yours.
The flat lay. A delight to the eyes and an absolute pain to get right. I do have one piece of advice for trying to nail it though and it doesn’t even need to involve you going out and buying stuff. It can just be bits you already have lying around the house. I’m talking about props my friend.
A kitchen table, white card or wallpaper samples make a great background. Then begin to create your photos. If you’re taking a beauty shot play around with the placement of a few of your favourite make-up items. Then add in things like dainty rings, magazine tear outs, flowers, sunglasses or whatever takes your fancy.
Don’t Go Filter Crazy
We all went a bit filter crazy at first, but now it seems that the less is more approach is the favoured option. You may not even need a filter at all, and it’s always best to play around with the brightness and contrast settings first.
The Instagram filters have improved greatly since the app first launched, but many still use popular apps such as Snapseed and VSCO Cam to get their editing fix. VSCO is one of the easiest to use as you can easily copy and paste existing edits, and see what your images look like next to one another before you post.
Most importantly don’t take Instagram too seriously. Just have fun with it.