If you are anything like me, you might spend considerable time during your day perusing Instagram. Even though I never intend to be browsing for long, all the enthralling images get me hooked.
And, if you enjoy posting to Instagram, then maybe you have wondered how all those images look so professional. I am no expert on the subject, but I have learned how to make my shots better, and with any luck, stand out.
Here are a few of my tips:
1. Have a good subject. I enjoy taking shots of Long Island, food (read: sweets!), my outfits, and of course, my morning coffee. I love photography, so wherever I am, you can be sure that I will be snapping away. Finding what you like to capture and making it stand out on Instagram may seem tough in the beginning. I remember when I first created my Instagram account I was unsure about what I should be posting. I’m drawn to nature and landscape shots, so my account teemed with them when I started; I probably overdid it. Now, I think I’ve found a happy mix of images that captures my everyday life.
2. Use hashtags. Just the other day I was going through my early photos on Instagram. I cringed. Not only was I missing a catchy caption, but my images were devoid of hashtags. If you aren’t sure which hashtags to use you can search to see which are popular and making the rounds. Some standard ones are #tbt (for Throwback Thursday), #ootd (outfit of the day), and #qotd (quote of the day). But the options are many, so have fun searching — or create something unique.
3. Play with filters. Aside from my obvious blunder of neglecting hashtags early on, some of the images would have been much more appealing (and sharper!) with a filter. While it’s nice to say #nofilter, the addition can go a long way. My favorite Instagram filters are Ludwig, Lo-Fi, and X-Pro II. Play around with all of them to get a feel for how they can enhance the image.
4. Remember square mode. Nothing is worse than taking a gorgeous shot only to have it fail to fit in Instagram’s parameters the way you wanted (although even the best of us forget and need to use InstaSize from time to time!). I always try to snap a few shots on my IPhone in square mode, even if I’m not planning to use it on Instagram. You never know when that #latergram might come in handy!
5. Lighting is important. Sometimes even the filter can’t save the image if it was taken in poor lighting. I’ve had plenty of pictures that were unusable because of shadows or direct sunlight (not noted until after I took a bunch of shots!). Be mindful of where the sun is if you are shooting outdoors and remember, you can always adjust the brightness of an image on Instagram.
I’d love to hear some of your tips for getting the perfect Instagram shot!