Taking the perfect Instagram photo is an art. To be honest, it’s a lot harder than it looks. There’s so much that goes into creating the perfect photo for social media.
Whether you’re using your iPhone, a film camera, or a professional camera with a fancy lens, there are a few elements to consider when taking a photo and uploading it onto Instagram. Make note of where the sun is and how you can use it to better your image. Find a focal point, use composition and photography techniques to have the subject(s) of your photo(s) stand out. Plan your feed and have an aesthetic.
If you’re wondering how you can take the perfect Instagram photo that makes people think, WOW. That’s amazing — look no further. We got you and we’re here to help.
5 Tips To Taking The Best Instagram Photo
1. Understand your light.
Light is one of the most important aspects of any photo. If you’re trying to take a photo – whether it be for your Instagram or for a professional photography portfolio – you should know that light can make or break an image.
- Don’t use flash. It’s a bit overwhelming and can really overexpose an image. You don’t want anything to look too washed out!
- Make note of where the sun is. Chase after the #goldenhour light. Seriously – it’s beautiful. It makes your photos look magical and viewers on Instagram will go “WOW!” (And we all know how important comments are to help social media engagement.)
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If there’s one thing you should take away from this, let it be that natural light is key.
2. Establish your aesthetic
Establishing an aesthetic is important in maintaining a great Instagram feed, and evidently, capturing a great photo. Having a theme could be something you figure out even before you start taking photos, but you might not be able to get to a good place until you have enough content to post.
Think about who you are, what you enjoy, and how it can be represented on your feed. For example, maybe you’re a blogger who sits in coffee shops all day and so your atmosphere is full of neutral tones. Or, maybe you’re a travel and nature photographer who sees a lot of greenery and blue hues.
Here’s an example from travel photographer Forrest Smith:
You can easily use an app to plan your feed and figure out which photos should go where and how it all flows into something nice and pretty.
Find your aesthetic and roll with it!
3. Use composition techniques
It’s just a natural thing for us, as humans, to appreciate good symmetry, especially in a photo. We could go off and give you a full guide to composition in photography, but it’s probably best if we’re just short, sweet, and to the point:
- Use the rule of thirds. This is basically an outline, or a frame, for how to capture an image. The rule of thirds just helps you balance things out for when you’re taking a photo. You don’t have to follow this, but it can still help!
- Figure out a focus point. Where are the objects or people placed in the image? Where do you want to direct their attention? Is the camera in or out of focus (and is it on purpose or accident)?
4. Edit your photos.
Or, don’t. Whatever you prefer.
If you don’t use Photoshop or Lightroom — don’t you fret! There are tons of photo editing apps that you can download and use. But again, keep in mind your aesthetic.
Do you want your photos to be in B&W or color? Warm or cool tones and hues? Are there any presets you’ll have on every photo?
Whatever your preference is, just keep in mind the lighting and the focus point in your photo. For example, if you capture someone enjoying green grass and blue skies, you don’t want to over-saturate and emphasize the blues and the greens. Why? You’ll also be over-saturating the subject in focus.
5. Mix things up!
If you’re used to taking photos with one subject matter, try mixing things up and add something different! For example, if you’re a brand that sells purses or shoes, add a model in your photo. For whatever reason, Instagram users prefer seeing a face rather than just a product. They don’t want to know that they’re being sold something.
This photographer, Kayla Mendez, mixes things up, capturing images of people, objects, and places — all while staying consistent with the theme and aesthetic of her feed (warm tones).
Take the time to refresh your Instagram feed, if you have to. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t.
If you’re looking to give your Instagram the glo up it deserves, be sure to follow these 5 tips we’ve mentioned. Remember: don’t create photos just to post them on Instagram. Take photos of what you enjoy–it’s your style & vision!