Top 10 Tips For Better Instagram Photos
Samuel Butcher

Top 10 Tips For Better Instagram Photos

Photography as an art form may not seem that difficult, but it’s about how the images are created that makes the difference. Instagram has become the digital portfolio of many photographers and we’re not the only ones to take notice, which is why we put together our Top 10 Tips For Better Instagram Photos. There has been a definitive crossover between professional photographers, amateurs, and influencers and the thing that sets most of them apart is how cohesive their photographs look together on their Instagram feed.

Often, we take quick snapshots to capture moments that we can remember forever, without paying much attention to many of the details within the final photograph. We’re guilty too. There is no solidified technical rules or concrete composition guidelines within photography as it’s mostly about trial and error, what looks good and what doesn’t.

These Top 10 Tips For Better Instagram Photos will help guide you in composing better shots that are more visually appealing, engaging, hold the attention of your viewers or followers, and help you stand out to potential clients, brands or the rest.

Let’s get into it!

1.Framing

Arguably one of the most important aspects of photography, framing helps you position your subject within the image. Framing can isolate your subject, give depth, focus, help create context and give a sense of direction or location. Framing can be elements that are added to photos, such as hands, a wooden frame, or a hand mirror, or it can be elements that are within the environment such as a window, a fence or an archway. Proper framing should lead your viewer towards your subject or focal point.

Framing

2.Lighting

It’s all about lighting! Lighting is a key factor in getting the perfect photograph and making it successful. Lighting is responsible for helping with highlights and shadows, as well as tone, colour, and mood within the imagery. Through aperture, shutter speed, and ISO you can manipulate and adjust natural light to get the correct variables of the image you’re looking to create. Lighting helps with capturing the texture, vibrancy, and luminosity of the subject being captured and allows viewers to be enthralled. Try to stay away from harsh light, and focus on using soft light. We promise that your subjects will thank you for it!

Before and after photo of a cream puff - bad lighting on left, good on right.

3.Cropping

Your image saviour! What you include in the framing of your images could potentially be your downfall. Luckily, most photo editing programs, including your phone, have image cropping capabilities. Cropping allows you to virtually cut images and trim them of excess, alleviate background noise or clutter, create or realign the images focus, or help you to fill the frame better. With cropping, you can create intimacy within your photos, and create a close and clear focal point for your viewers to be drawn to.

Side by side silhouette of a standing woman illustrating before and after cropping

4.Leading Lines

Leading Lines are photographers’ visual guideline. These help create composition within an image and the concept is following where the “line” leads you. As a viewer, our eyes are naturally drawn to vertical, parallel, diagonal and even strong horizontal lines. These could be straight lines, winding zig-zag lines, or curvy hillside roads, but they all help direct your eyes to the main focal point. Some main subjects of use that are common in photography are paths, railways, building skylines, and city streets. Leading lines also help create depth and symmetry within an image.

Image of trees, left. Image of trees with boardwalk, right.

5.Focus

Having too much to focus on is never a good thing! Make your images’ focal point clear and concise with the use of focus techniques. In photography, focus is about a lot more than just clear or blurry, sharpness or dullness. Focusing can enhance an image, allowing the viewer to focus solely on the subject, making it stand out or blend in as much as the photographer would like. This can also draw the viewer in and create an emotional or physical connection. Focus like many natural elements can work against you, especially when using auto-focus on your camera. You must try to use manual focus as much as possible to be able to fully control how focus is set.

Childs hands holding dandelions.

6.Depth Of Field

Depth Of Field is when you want your image to have a focal point but also include everything around and behind it, but blurred out. Also known as “Portrait Mode” on your iPhone. Using Depth Of Field is very powerful, and using it properly can emotionally move the viewer. Depth of field can sometimes be referred to as focus range, and it is the distance between the closest and farthest objects in an image, both of which need to be in focus. To adjust the Depth Of Field on a DSLR camera, you can adjust the f-stop value, by raising it or lowering it.

Depth of field, deep on left, shallow on right.

7.Composition

Imagine your final image. What do you want it to look like? The composition of an image is simply the way all the individual subjects, pieces, and focal points within our viewfinder and framing combine to form the final image. You can alter the composition of an image by moving around, cropping, zooming in or out, changing your lenses for shorter or longer focal ranges, or even just changing your physical vantage point while shooting the image. The most important composition technique is Rule Of Thirds in which you virtually dissect an image into 6 squares, and your focal point should land within one of the connect axes.

Photo of a young boy running on grass in sunset, with rule of thirds grid on image.

8.Shooting in RAW

If you’re using a DSLR camera, you should be shooting in RAW. This takes up more space on your memory card, but you’ll thank yourself later. Not only does this produce a higher quality image, it essentially takes the image directly from the sensor to the memory card without compressing it automatically to a different format (usually JPEG). This allows you to adjust some settings in-camera, as well on your computer once you begin editing with programs such as Lightroom and Photoshop. Shooting in RAW preserves the highlights and shadows that were under or overexposed, among many other things which can later be modified in the editing process. Looking to learn how to use Lightroom like a pro? Head on over to our blog where we share all our secrets.

Photo of solar eclipse, left image well exposed RAW image, right image underexposed dark JPEG image.

9.Planning

Whether you’re thinking about Instagram content or full-on photoshoots, it’s important to think ahead. Do you research, develop a plan or create a mood board. You can create a cohesive theme within Instagram or your portfolio while making it more engaging to the viewer by planning your images. Pre-determine your colour palettes, subject matter, and visualize your concept. Planning in photography allows more time for you to get the perfect shot, saving you lots of time in the long run.

Photo of solar eclipse, left image well exposed RAW image, right image underexposed dark JPEG image.

10.Negative Space

Use negative space to your advantage. Allow the natural environment within the image to create a focal point. You can use negative space to help emphasize your focal point, which will garner more attention from the viewer, and give their eyes breathing room. Using Negative Space in your images creates a sense of balance within the subject matter and ultimately, creates a harmonious image.

Photo of an older woman coming down an escalator, all white negative space around her.

Now that you have the Top 10 Tips For Better Instagram Photos, what are you going to shoot next?

We hope you can put our Top 10 Tips For Better Instagram Photos to the test on your next photographic adventure or Instagram photoshoot! We’ve taken all of the top factors that drive the most engagement within Instagram and the digital marketing and influencer space. Remember that a great photo takes commitment and time, so plan, make these subtle changes within your process and test the different techniques to see which works best for you and your audience.

Are you looking for help with your content management processes or for someone to manage your brand’s Instagram page? We’ve got you covered. Learn more about how we can help at The Influence Agency! Contact us today!

Did you find this article helpful? Let us know in the comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.

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