Instagram has become the go-to destination for images today. Be it food, travel, lifestyle, or just plain old day-to-day life, influencers across many categories rely on the app to build relationships with their audiences - but what makes the winners really stand out?
What’s the secret to increasing your follower counts, boosting engagement, and becoming an Instagram influencer yourself?
The answer? Excellent quality photos.
Producing great image for Instagram doesn’t have to be a difficult task, as long as you know some crucial photography tips. From lighting to composition to editing, there are numerous parameters to consider before and after you capture a pic - in this post, we'll outline some of the easiest tips to help you take great, “Insta-worthy” images.
Hands down, the first thing that can make or break a photo is lighting. Dark, dimly-lit, and grainy photos generally look bad on Instagram, however, an image captured in natural light will stand out - and help you boost your Instagram presence.
So how do you get the best lighting? Make sure to check your camera’s brightness - if it’s too high, your background can appear extremely white on a bright, sunny day. To avoid this, reduce the brightness and take slightly underexposed images. Don’t worry, underexposed images can be adjusted later for brightness.
Overexposed images, on the other hand - those with too much light in the original photo - can seldom be recovered. In such cases, the background will often appear absolutely white instead of having a bluish tinge.
Another option is to use HDR images. These pictures are a mixture of underexposed, overexposed, and normal-exposure images. If taken correctly, they can make the sky look perfect - and did you know that most phones today come with a HDR mode that’s easy to switch on?
You can use this to make your photos look really attractive, especially, landscape photos - however, you should try not to overuse HDR as it can, at times, make images look unnatural.
Natural light is the best kind of light for your photos because it makes them appear more realistic versus artificial lighting. But, natural lighting can have a lot of variations as well - for example, if you take photos at sunrise or sunset, your pictures will have a low contrast, however a photo taken in the afternoon can have high brightness and contrast. Be sure to take the time of the day into account for your outdoor shots.
On a cloudy day, the sky becomes overcast and the lighting will have a tinge of grey in it. This a great time to take photos - especially selfies. The shadows remain light and the light spreads out evenly all over the photo. This generally isn’t possible on a sunny day when the sky is way too bright, and the shadows are strong.
Before taking a photo, think about the composition of your image frame. The same objects or subjects can be captured from various angles, or positioned differently within the frame. It’s the composition of your image that will make it stand out - or not.
There are a few ways to lay out the composition. The most important one: the 'Rule of Thirds'.
Divide your composition up into a grid (you can enable this feature on most smartphone cameras), so your image is visually split into nine squares.
According to the rule, you should line up the most important elements of your composition along the lines or the intersections of the grid. This creates more tension and interest in the subject, compared to an image where the focal point is centered.
Here’s a great example:
Instagram profiles, in particular, look great if they have a cohesive theme or color scheme.
Look for inspiration from other photographers to find a color scheme that resonates with you and the types of photos you take. A great way to think about style is by color tone - be consistent with neutral, warm, or cold tones to make your photos stand out.
If you’re an avid nature photographer, you can use a warm or cold scheme depending on your photos.
If you’re into fashion or lifestyle photography, try a neutral scheme - they’re pleasant to the eye and can make your images pop.
Plus, a uniform and consistent theme will encourage more audience engagement with your photos.
4. Post Production
In photography, only half the work is done once you take your photo - post-production is extremely important, because this is where you can improve any aspect of the photo you’re not happy with before publishing.
Here’s also where creativity can play a big role. During post-production, you can change the lighting, contrast, shadows, highlights, and more. You have the power to completely change the look and feel of your photo to make it 'Instagram-worthy'.
Instagram itself provides various options to edit your images before uploading. You can change all the above-mentioned parameters manually, or you can apply Instagram's in-built filters. These filters can be applied with the click of a button and can give your photos a different look altogether.
Using these built-in editing features, you can greatly enhance your images.
But even Instagram’s editing tool has its limitations. In such cases, apps like Mendr can be a lifesaver.
With Mendr, you can enhance a photo just like you would on Instagram, but you can do so much more, including changing the color of someone’s hair, removing tattoos, fixing wrinkles, adding clouds, and even removing objects (no more photobombers).
All you do is upload your photo and select the changes you want to make, then your photo requests get sent to one of Mendr’s certified editors, who'll start making your changes instantly. Once your photo's ready, you’ll get a notification to review and download your picture. You can then upload it to Instagram.
Posting high-quality images to Instagram is a must if you want to grow your audience and reach. Use these tips and you'll be well on your way to better image composition, and Insta content.