With over 400 million active users, Instagram is without a doubt THE social platform to show off your travel photos. Not only is it a great place to let friends and family see what you’re up to, but when you’re feeling nostalgic you can scroll through your feed. Additionally, users with large following often attract the attention of big brands who pay thousands of pounds for sponsored posts.
With the vast amount of people using the platform, it’s important to try to stand out and the best and easiest way to do that is to step up the quality of your images. You’ve seen the accounts which manage to make any old scene or object seem like the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. Well, let’s help you take better Instagram photos.
Step 1 – Gear
You definitely don’t need any fancy camera gear these days to take a good photo. The iPhone camera is capable of taking extremely high quality images and the bonus of using your phone is that it is much more portable.
Of course, a DSLR camera will produce a much higher quality picture (and by all means, use one if you prefer), but when the image is only going to be viewed on a device as small as a phone screen, you’ll barely be able to notice the difference. Check out our header image (@connormollison on Instagram) for this post; every image there was taken with the iPhone 6s Plus.
There are a couple of important things to consider when deciding if you’re phone is up for the job. Is the photo sharp? What we mean is, does it look out of focus at all or do the straight lines and details look crisp? A sharper image is much more visually appealing.
The second thing to consider is, are the images pixelated? Lower quality cameras will produce grainy looking photos, especially in low light. Some of the newer smart phones, like the iPhone 6s take very very good quality pictures, so it’s worth considering if you’re at a disadvantage before you start.
Step 2 – Your Subject
Iconic images always do well. People can relate to them more easily, they’ve seen photos of them all over the internet and they’re iconic for a reason… meaning they probably look good. Try to find a world famous statue, building or landscape and snap away. We’ll get down to how to compose your image later in this guide.
Happy, smiling people having fun makes you feel happy to look at. Think about this when posing for your next photo. Other types of photos with people in them which tend to rake in the likes are dangerous ones (cliff jump?), exciting ones (concerts?) or energetic ones (sunset jog?).
Try to choose a subject which either stands out from its background or take an image which has a very dominant colour theme. Strong colours are reds, oranges, blues. It is worth getting up early or staying outside to get some sunrise and sunset photos. Play around and see what you can come up with.
Step 3 – Composition
Composition is crucial to taking a better photo. You’ve always got to be aware of the empty space around your subject and try to keep an eye out for what is just sticking out of your frame.
In the image above, you’ll see a grid. You should start using the grid if you’re not so confident to be able to judge good composition by eye. This grid refers to the rule of thirds. You can read about that here. It’s useful to learn about this concept when taking photos.
Try to think about angles too. Taking a picture from low down or holding your phone at a different angle can add an interesting dynamic. Experiment with it and see what works.
Step 4 – The Edit
The edit is the final important ingredient to a good Instagram photo. It’s make or break at this point. It is very important not to disregard what seems like a dull photo because, so long as the composition and subject is interesting, a great edit can completely transform your photo.
Your first port of call should be an app like VSCO Cam. This app allows you to be very flexible with your editing, you can edit lighting, clarity, saturation and other key elements. Take a look at what works on other people’s photos and try to get the same kind of atmosphere in yours. Other good editing apps are Snapseed, After Focus and Lens Distortions.
So that’s it for our guide on how to take better Instagram photos. Always look for inspiration, there are plenty of accounts out there. Remember key important factors like lighting, a good subject and clever composition.
You should also be aware of relevant hashtags to sprinkle in your caption. They’re useful, not only to get some extra like, but it’s a good way to build an audience of people who will like the kind of photos you’re taking. Have fun!
Go on, check us out on Instagram @sniffoutdoors and join in with #sniffoutdoors for a chance to get featured!