While it may seem like Instagram popularity is based on leading the most luxurious lifestyle and being as best dressed as possible, there are still likes to be gained by capturing simple, yet well-taken images. From using the right camera gear and accessories, and applying tried and true photographic skills, there are some simple steps you can take to develop a more impressive Instagram feed. Here are our 5 top tips to take good Instagram photos, from the expert photographers at Ted’s Cameras.
- Try shooting from a different angle
It’s tempting to fall into the trap of shooting each subject from straight on, with the subject positioned directly in the centre of the frame. While this angle is best for detailed images, it doesn’t create the most visually appealing images, which is your goal on Instagram.
So, how do you make your Instagram photos look good? Try to capture your images from new and interesting angles, even if it means crouching down low to shoot up at your subject or gaining a higher vantage point so you can angle your camera down. Because they let you experiment with tricky angles, cameras with tilting LCD screens are some of the best cameras for Instagram photos.
Making use of tripods or phone stands is also a good tip to take good Instagram photos. They save you from moving your body into uncomfortable positions trying to find the best angle for your photo.
Top tip: If you want to know how to take a good selfie for Instagram, the most flattering shot is said to be taken with the camera angled down slightly, and your head tilted up at the camera.
2. Make the most of different camera lenses
Whether you are using an interchangeable lens camera, such as a Mirrorless or DSLR camera, or your shots are all captured on your ever-ready smartphone, making use of the numerous lens options available to you is a great way to improve the impact of your Instagram images. The standard lens that came with your camera and the built-in lens of your smartphone are considered general purpose lenses, meaning they are good for many subjects you encounter on a daily basis, but they’re not the best lenses for Instagram photos.
Here is a basic rundown of the different lens types you can consider and what each is generally used for:
- Wide-angle lens – These lenses provide a wider field of view and are perfect for landscapes, as well as group shots.
- Fisheye lens – These are extreme wide-angle lenses that offer a unique and distorted perspective. They are commonly used for extreme sports and dramatic landscapes and scenery shots.
- Macro lens – These lenses can focus on subjects positioned near to the camera. They are great for detailed close-ups of bugs, flowers etc.
- Telephoto lens – Telephoto lenses magnify your view to bring distant objects closer into view. Use these lenses for sports, wildlife and other things you can’t get near to.
3. Find the right light to shoot in
As a general rule, having more light to work with means there is less chance of capturing grainy or blurry images. But taking your images in the bright midday sunlight will often cast harsh shadows, which is not desirable. For beautiful Instagram photos, you’ll need to learn how to harness the best quality of light.
If you are shooting with natural light, try your best to plan your shoots during golden hour, which occurs immediately after sunrise and before sunset; this is when light is at its softest and most beautiful. Using artificial light sources provides more consistency, so you can shoot at any time. Constant light sources, such as LED ring lights are easy to use and provide the soft even light for great selfies, while flash photography should be mastered if you want to capture professional-level portraits.
4. Improve your composition
Composition could best be described as where you decide to position your subject matter within the frame. Whether you’re shooting a portrait or an outfit photo, having a composition that is too simple, such as every subject and model dead-centre can be boring, while paying no attention to your composition often leads to clumsy and cluttered images.
Here are some key composition tools that you can try now:
- Rule of thirds – This technique involves dividing your frame with imaginary lines into 3 even segments horizontally and vertically, and placing your subject matter at the points that these lines meet. It produces more balanced and inviting images.
- Leading lines – This involves drawing your viewer’s attention to the main subject by lines within the image, such as a group of trees or even a fence. This can be tricky to understand and master, but very successful.
Negative Space – This involves deliberately leaving space around your subject, to deliberately draw the viewer’s eye to this subject. This space is often blank, which provides great minimalistic images.
5. Be clever with your editing
While some of Instagram’s built-in filters are fun and can help you achieve that retro film aesthetic that you desire, they can give off the impression that you have added them hastily to cover up a poorly taken photograph. To make your Instagram grid look good, we would suggest you make your own selective edits, so you can adjust each image as necessary.
If you are sticking to Instagram, try using the sliders such as brightness, contrast and saturation to adjust the image immediately before uploading. But for high-quality Instagram photos, we recommend using a stand-alone editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop to make your edits. When editing, make small and reversible adjustments, by using layers, and start off with the basics, like levels and curves. If you are cropping your image, do it at this stage, so you can be certain that nothing integral is being cropped out of your picture.
Top Tip: If you are serious about editing, shoot in RAW during the capture stage. As well as producing a more detailed, higher-quality file, RAW improves your ability to make vast and non-destructive edits to your photo.
Now that you know all of the secrets to a well-curated Instagram feed, it’s time to start shooting? Browse Ted’s Cameras’ photography gear to get your tripod, camera or lens, and start snapping!