Because so many of you read and enjoyed my previous post of tips to improve your Instagram account, I’ve decided to put together some more tips to make those photos you post to your account look amazing!
For starters, there are so many great books out there that you can check out to help you make the most of your accounts, whether you’re using it for marketing purposes, or even just personal. Including “Capture Your Style” by Aimee Song (the genius behind @songofstyle on Instagram)!
Now, we all know that the main purpose of Instagram is to display your photos. No matter what the subject matter of those photos is, clothing, art, makeup, landscapes, or even just personal photos of you having fun! All in all, you want people to like those photos and engage and comment on those photos!
I’m here to tell you today, how to make those photos stand out in your followers newsfeeds, and keep them coming back for more!
Before I begin, it should be said that you don’t need to have a DSLR camera to make your photos look great. While I will admit that it is a great investment, especially if you’re taking photos for the purpose of marketing, or even if you are planning on taking up photography. I personally am in need of a new camera, but for now I shoot with my Canon T5i which I absolutely adore and does indeed get the job done. But remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You can bring your creativity to life through the lens of a fancy camera, or even through the lens of your iPhone! I’ve seen some beautiful photos taken from small point and shoot cameras and iPhones.
1. Make sure your photos are bright with good lighting
This is my number one tip, because it is probably the biggest tip I can offer. How often do you find yourself scrolling through your feed and see a dark photo and say wow, that is a great photo? Almost never I am sure. Great photos are always bright, and full of great (preferably natural) lighting!
To make the most of the lighting in your photos, make sure the light is in front of you, unless you are going for a silhouetted photo. If you’re taking a photo inside, be sure to take the photo facing the window or lights. If your back is towards the window or lighting, you will become backlit and just look like a big shadow. No one wants to see a shadow, we want to see that killer outfit you have on or your awesome makeup look!
Lighting is also important so that your photos do not come out grainy. Yes, editing is always an option for a photo that is a bit dark. However, if your photo is too dark, if you try to bump up that exposure or brightness while editing, you will be left with LOTS of grain. So be sure to make the photo as well lit as you can, so that you don’t have a difficult time editing.
Lastly, here’s a pro tip: the best times of day to shoot outdoors are dawn and dusk, when the sun is not at its strongest. If you shoot at high noon, your photos will often result in squinty eyes, and harsh shadows due to the strong sunlight. While you don’t want your photos to be dark, you also don’t want them to be overexposed.
If you find that some areas of your photo are left in the shadows, especially parts of the face, you can always try out a light reflector, to shed a little bit of light on those shadowy areas.
2. Be conscientious of Instagram’s photo dimensions, square is the way to go
When Instagram first started out, the only photos you could take or upload were square photos. Now, while we are given a bit of freedom with the dimensions of our photos, Instagram still forces you to crop when you get to a certain size. With that being said, it is best you shoot with the mindset that you will be cropping down to square size.
Even though you can post pictures other than square, to make the photos look centered and pretty on your home account feed, you will want them to be squared. Otherwise the top of your head or your feet may be cropped off when looking at the photos from your account page. For reference, 500×500 is the best dimensions for square photos, and while we’re at it 1080×1920 is the best dimensions for Instagram Stories.
3. Always take more than one photo
This should go without saying, but one and done normally never goes as planned. Take a burst of shots, and pick out which you like best. It is always better to have options. Maybe your one eye is slightly shut in one photo, and they’re both open in the next. If you look closely at your photos like I do, you’re sure to find something in every photo that you wish would look better. So, take numerous photos and find the one that you can compromise with!
4. Experiment with different types of photos
Fill your feed with different types of photos, you never know what photo will catch on! Alternate between outfit shots, closeup shots, flat-lays, landscapes, product photos, the list goes on. Depending on your niche, there are so many possibilities for content! For example, for every few outfit photos I post, I like to post a flat-lay or a product photo of a product that I recommend!
5. Try out some lens attachments
While I recommend trying out some lens attachments, I want to start off with saying that you should still be weary of the dimensions that Instagram allows.
Now, lens attachments aren’t just available for camera lenses, but they’re available for your iPhone as well! One lens attachment that I have for my iPhone that I love is a wide angle lens, which helps me immensely when I am taking a flat lay photo. Sometimes I have a hard time fitting everything in the flat-lay in the photo, the wide-angle lens allows for more room in the frame. In addition, you can try out fisheye lenses, macro lenses and filtered lenses to see what works for you.
6. Edit, edit, edit your photos!
Not even the best of the best photographers will tell you that their raw photos are their finished product. Everyone edits, whether it be minor touch ups or major detail changes. I’ve found that throughout testing a number of editing apps and programs, there are a few that I have grown to be quite fond of. I plan on putting together a future post going more in to detail about each of these apps, but for now, I recommend Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for the nitty gritty editing, and Facetune and A Color Story for filters, lighting effects and other minor editing!
With all of this being said, make sure your feed showcases you and your personality. Show the world how fun you are, and have fun while doing it! If you have any Insta-photography tips, I’d love to hear them, so be sure to leave a comment!