The Instagram community is growing by innumerable accounts every day. Almost daily I find interesting new accounts with inspiring photos and several hundred pictures are shown every day in my Instagram feed.
If you want to stand out on Instagram, you will need really good photos! Even if you are not exactly a master photographer, you can use these simple tips to easily pimp your pictures for Instagram.
Taking better photographs
Think square. Instagram photos are always square. You should keep that in mind even while you are taking the photos. In order to have a better idea what the final picture is going to look like, I change the actual setting on my iPhone to square picture mode.
Less is more. I see a myriad of pictures in my newsfeed every day. However, I really only stop and spend time looking at pictures that clearly focus on one main subject. If you look at the profiles of popular Instagramers, you will see that most of them also very obviously have one subject as their main focus. The most successful pictures are bright, calm, and not too colorful; or, the exact opposite: strong HDR pictures.
Smartphone vs. DSLR. I take the majority of my Instagram pictures with my iPhone. This has the advantage that I already have the picture on my smartphone and can upload it directly in the Instagram app.
In principle, however, it doesn’t matter whether you took your photos with a large camera or a small smartphone, as long as they are unique and special in their own way. Sometimes I also use scans of analog lomography photos in my Instagram channel.
Focusing manually. By tapping the display with your finger the desired object is focused and the lighting is adjusted automatically to the focused object. Depending on the distance from smartphone to object to background, you also have plenty of opportunities to play with the depth focus.
Quality is trumps. Bad pictures are lost in the myriads of pictures uploaded. No one wants to see pixilated pictures that don’t make sense. You should therefore choose to upload only those images to your Instagram account that are sharp and of high quality. Think about the way the picture is constructed, try to get the viewers attention through special perspectives, and be inspired by other Instagram accounts.
Use the rule of thirds. Even on Instagram I like to use the rule of thirds in my photos. It’s simple, but very effective.
Editing pictures and uploading
Edit your pictures. To edit, you don’t even have to move your pictures from the smartphone to the PC. Using apps like Snapseed is an excellent way to edit your pictures directly on your Smartphone. With just a few touches you can get a lot more out of a picture – HDR, vintage style, or black & white; so much is possible. As a rule, I adjust the brightness and the contrast, reduce or increase the saturation, and sharpen the picture a little. By the way, you can straighten pictures that are crooked via Snapseed (see next point).
Straight horizon. I cannot emphasize enough that you need to align your pictures so that they are straight. If the ocean is leaking out of your smartphone, the picture will not seem right and won’t pass muster with most viewers. If the photo you have taken does happen to turn out crooked, you can straighten it in the Instagram app: Select photo > Settings > Adjust.
Omit the picture frame. I wonder why Instagram actually still has the picture frames in the app? My tip: Do away with picture frames altogether. They only distract from the actual subject, unsettle the whole feed, and make it difficult for you to use the pictures again later for something else. Instagram pictures can be used in blog posts, for example, even before the DSLR pictures are saved and editing is finished.
Use picture captions and use the location information. No picture without expressive caption. By using captions you can not only tell your followers what’s on the pictures, but also give them background information – for example, the circumstances that lead to the funny incident on the photo. Pro tip: Communication on Instagram is in English – therefore you should also compose your caption in English.
The location information shows your followers where the photo was taken. This is particularly interesting when traveling; it helps to identify the nicest hot spots. Then other travelers will get to your profile via your photo by clicking on the location information and might even become new followers straightaway.
Use hashtags. Hashtags enable photos to be allocated to a particular topic and to be filtered later individually. Apps like TagsForLikes will help you find suitable hashtags for your photo. My tip: Create your own hashtags, for instance to bundle pictures from your travels, as in this example:
Christina has been blogging on ‘mrsberry’ about everything that makes her happy. And that’s quite a lot. Her colorful topics range from travel reports over everything about family, her love for digital photography and analog lomography to DIY tips and delicious recipes.