If you want to improve your social presence, the first order of business is usually stepping up your Instagram game. According to Forbes, Instagram is the top social network for engagement, and has been for a while now. Continue reading to learn how to take better photos and curate an enviable feed. These tricks of the trade are accessible to everyone - not just professional photographers (with thousands of dollars of photo equipment) and an MBA in Photoshop. Here are a few foolproof tips to start implementing today, that can make a huge difference. Get your content to look great - ASAP. Grab your iPhone and put these tools to the test!
TIP #1 - FIND AN INSTA-WORTHY BACKGROUND
The type of background you choose is sometimes just as important as the subject of your shot, and it shouldn’t ever take away from what you want to share. I suggest a simple, clean background: a flat wall, marble or wood, a bedspread, or an outfit detail.
TIP #2 - LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING
The best kind of light to capture your subject in a flattering way (whether it's a person or an object) is natural light. Natural, even lighting can totally change your photo, and it helps you capture clear and focused shots. Set up near the window and try not to cast a shadow over your subject.
TIP #3 - CLEAN YOUR LENS!
You probably already know this, but it's easy to forget. We rarely keep notice how much our phones are being touched. Dirt, dust, oils, or lotions can easily be smudged onto the lens and end up the culprit for blurry photos. Be sure to wipe off the lens with a soft cloth. You can also invest in a high-quality clip-on lens for your phone for pretty cheap. Here's my favorite on Amazon Prime for less than twenty bucks.
TIP #4 - UTILIZE SQUARE MODE
Instagram photos display in square mode, so capturing your work in square mode will help you to include everything you want featured in your feed, and will also help you visualize what your picture will truly look like as it scrolls across your followers feeds and as they browse your page. Additionally, cropping a photo from the original to a much smaller image can sometimes make it look blurry or pixelated - and if you're already shooting in square, no cropping is necessary.
TIP #5 - DON’T TAKE YOUR PHOTOS WITH THE INSTAGRAM APP
When you snap your photo you want have options, so using your phone's camera (not the Instagram app's) is the best way to ensure you’re able to take more than one picture.
TIP #6 - USE A STEADY HAND
The smallest movement can create a super blurry shot, which can prevent your work from standing out. Try your best to have a steady hand. You can even use the "Burst" method to take a bunch of photos at once and choose the best one. If you don't know about Burst, type it into the YouTube search bar for a How-To. I usually take at least fifteen photos of a subject and then choose my favorite. Sounds like a lot, but you can always delete the extras later!
TIP #7 - INVEST IN A GOOD EDITING APP
When I say "invest", I'm not telling you to scour the App Store for the most expensive one. I mean invest your time - learn the ins and outs of your app of choice and practice all of the tools and modes it has to offer! Watch a few YouTube videos and become comfortable in your process. A little brightening, saturation or contrast changes, cropping, and sharpening can make a "blah" photo look totally amazing. A couple of my personal favorite photo editing apps are Aviary and VSCO.