Instagram is one of my favorite social media channels. I would even say it’s my absolute favorite. How come? That’s actually pretty simple to explain: Instagram is aesthetic and at the same time informing. Instagram is a personal expression and it’s dreamy. Even if it gets lots of critics, my opinion is: learn to deal with it and use it for the right reasons. Yes, Instagram is kind of perfect. It’s not real life and it’s embellishes much. It just shows the best and most beautiful parts of our lives, but that’s totally fine, isn’t it? For everything else, there is Snapchat!
I just love to discover new inspiring Instagram accounts, take new pictures for my feed and to stay in touch with my community. Even though Instagram is much more than a social media channel, it never lost the creativity and charm. That is what fascinates me about this App. Particularly for bloggers, Instagram becomes more important day by day. With so much competition out there, you should stay on one thought: be true to yourself and don’t get lost in monotony.
Today, I want to share with you 7 tips for better Instagram photos. Those tips are meant for supporting you to improve your photos and your feeds. Often there are only a few small tricks that make a photo look more beautiful and aesthetic in no time. It’s so much fun playing with retouching apps, filters and perspectives. Try out everything and have fun with Instagram! Everyone starts small and when I look at my first photos on Instagram, I can’t stop laughing but it’s so much fun to see how you improve day by day, month by month. It’s an ongoing process!
So, here we go with my 8 tips for better Instagram photos:
1. The light
The lightening is the most important thing when it comes to photography. Dark images you take with your phone often become blurred and dull. Bright images, with a white balance, look harmonious and positive. But beware: too much light don’t look good neither. As you can see on my before- and after photos, I always lighten up my pictures for Instagram. Do you see how much difference it makes? If you want to shoot a natural picture with daylight, you should try to go next to a window. It’s generally not that bright (such as in winter) but you can also work with a plain white cardboard or a professional photo-reflector. Soft boxes cannot hurt either, especially when you don’t have so much light in your apartment. In general, however, natural daylight is the best for beautiful and clear pictures.
2. Do not use the Instagram App to take your photos
In the Instagram App you have the possibility to take a photo directly. I would not recommend doing that. The app does not have the functions of a smartphone camera. Taking your photos with the instant Instagram function generally decreases the quality of your images and often the results are blurred and grainy.
3. The right Smartphone Camera
This is obviously the most essential point for good photos. As you know, I’m currently testing the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+. The camera is really one can dream of and with 16 megapixels in the main camera and 5 megapixels in the front camera, you can shoot great and sharp pictures. Since the camera has a F1.9 aperture, the photos are brighter and look more natural. That’s super practical if you want to take a spontaneous Instagram pic and don’t spend too much time on retouching. (Find more about my experience with the Samsung Smartphone here).
4. Quality beats Quantity
There are a lot of Instagram strategy tips on the internet. One of them says, that the golden rule is to post three times a day: in the morning, at lunch time and in the evening. That might be right and effective, but you should not force it. Instead, keep one thing in mind: „quality beats quantity“. Don’t upload any photos that you don’t like a 100%- just because you feel pressured. It’s better to post a few photos with amazing quality than many second-rate photos.
5. The right apps for photo editing
This one is as important as point 3: the right apps for photo editing. I know that everyone has their own favorites and today I would like to introduce two apps, which I use for editing all my photos on Instagram
Afterlight is available for both, Android and iOS. The app has a comprehensive range of features and filters. With Afterlight you can do all the basic steps, such as lightning, contrast, shadows, saturation, temperature, sharpness etc., but you can also set reflections or many filters. My favorite filter is called „russ“. In the before/after pictures, you can see what I change on my photos.
I recently discovered this app, which my dear friend Storm has brought to my attention. I don’t use the app for all my images, but especially for flat lays or food photos it`s really gorgeous. My favorite function is the manual lighting function. You just have to swipe over the photo and mark all areas you want to do a little more white. As you can see in my example image above, I brightened up the background. This has the effect of making the main spot even more present on the photo than before.
6. Collect props
To get variations in your Instagram feeds, you should begin to collect props. For my flat lays and food photos, I use different backgrounds. What looks like a white wooden table in the pictures, actually is a wallpaper that I bought on the internet. The stoned-colored background is a wallpaper, too, as you can see on my making-of photos. Hence the wallpapers are rolled up quickly, they don’t take as much space as a real wood- or stone board would take.
Playing with different backgrounds is so much fun and makes your photos more interesting. You can get really creative here. As you can see in the picture above, I put my scarf into the picture with the marble tray and my watch. Obviously not a spontaneous moment, but certainly a harmonious ensemble, which has a little dynamic touch because of the floating scarf. I also like to put my cactus to my flat lays. They look elegant and yet very discreet- they don’t steal the show; instead they complete/fill the picture without much attention. Additional props can also be the following examples: fresh flowers, magazines, candles, books, little notebooks, decoration, picture frames, bowls, trays, blankets, scarves, pillows, clothing, fabrics, jewelry, fruits, beauty products etc.
7. Find your style
Last but not least another important rule: Find your own style and stick to it. By this I mean, that you should not post anything that comes in front of your lens. Rather, you should think about what you want to show on Instagram and what you like the most. Instagram was never a medium that shows spontaneous snapshots. Every second picture has a real concept behind it. Try to bring some variation in your feed and post different photos. For example in this order: selfie, food, flat lay, selfie, travel instead of food, food, selfie, selfie, travel, travel. This makes your feeds look more organized and appealing.
I hope you like my 7 tips for better Instagram photos! What are your favorite tips and tricks for great pictures and which app do you use for editing?
*In cooperation with Samsung