Photography tips on Instagram

Photography tips on Instagram

Probably the first thing you did on Instagram was look at some of the big brands that are very active on the platform (Nike, GoPro, Starbucks) and you developed a little case of “social media analysis paralysis (SMAP).” “SMAP” is what happens when you want to post something worthwhile, shareable, and likely to “go viral.” You spend so much time analyzing and trying to get “the perfect shot” that in the end you do nothing at all. It is not a science. Plus, Instagram makes it even easier by providing you with exceptional tools at your fingertips to make you look like a photography pro. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind when framing your image and sharing it on Instagram.

For demonstration purposes, I’m using a photo of Helo, which is usually one of my favorite subjects. The example below is the raw photo that came directly from my image library and uploaded to Instagram. Despite being grid-centered, it’s not very interesting.

Basic composition

Remember the “rule of thirds” . Think of your photo as a grid with nine squares (see photo below). If you capture your photo directly on Instagram, the application already does it for you so you don’t have to imagine anything. Position your central objective between these lines and you will get a much more dramatic shot.

If you upload a photo to Instagram that was not taken with the same app (as I did in this example), do not be afraid. When you select the photo you want to use, the grid is automatically overlaid.

Use the grid to position, zoom and crop your image between the lines and create the drama effect you want for your photo. For example, when I zoomed in and repositioned Helo’s face, I used the upper right two-thirds of the grid.


Pay attention to where the light source is in your image. If you are shooting outdoors, having the sun behind you would be excellent, unless your targets are people, since if they are directly facing the sun, they are likely to squint.

Likewise, you don’t want the sun to be behind them either. Taking the photo with the sun straight ahead makes it difficult to adequately illuminate people’s faces. The sun at sunrise and sunset can create an interesting impact with a lot of contrast.

If you shoot indoors, you can use the flash or not; it all depends on your preference. If you use your phone’s camera app instead of Instagram’s, you have the option to play with the flash a bit. In other words, to select and post only the best photos on your Instagram profile, try taking the same photo with and without flash just with your phone’s camera.

If we look at the same example, the lighting was good and I loved the angle. The image only needed a little modification.

Have fun with filters

Probably the best thing about Instagram is the filters function. This is where you can experiment and find your favorites – there are over 20 to choose from.

When you use this function, and once you have selected the filter you want to apply, double click on it to change the degree of intensity in case you want something a little softer. Here you can also select to place a frame on your image by clicking on the box.

Here are some of my favorite filters that you can try (from left to right):

  • Lo-Fi – Creates a truly dramatic image without any other adjustments.
  • Earlybird – This is an excellent filter for a TBT ({i> Throw Back Thursday
  • Inkwell – There’s nothing like a classic black and white image. You may need to play around with the contrast a bit to get the look right.
  • Nashville – If you use this filter, you should definitely apply the frame. It will give your image the look of a clip from an old movie.

Try the tools

If you prefer to “do everything yourself” when creating images for your followers, skip the filters and give the tools a try. Instagram has a host of editing tools. For example, if there are elements in the background that you cannot remove when cropping the image, use the “blur” tool to blur everything except what you want to appear in focus. For this tool, select “radial” or “linear” and use your fingers to change the area you want to appear in focus. You can also use the “bullet” tool in the same way; to direct the focus to the part of the image you want to highlight.

Check your configuration

Something important to remember about Instagram: if you take photos within the app itself (not if you only upload them in the app), the photos with filters are only saved in your album or image gallery AFTER you have them shared. To make sure your original photo is saved, go to “Options” on your Instagram profile, and activate the “Save original photos” option.

Take advantage of your content

When you’re ready to post your image, you’ll have the option to post to other social media channels at the same time, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare. If you have a large audience on any of these platforms, sharing your image on these networks is a great way to let your audience know that they can find you on Instagram.

Important note: In order to post Instagram photos on Twitter and make them appear in your latest news, you will need to use a tool called “If This Then That” ( This handy little tool will jump Instagram by deactivating Twitter cards when you post a photo. (Without this tool, your Instagram photos will simply appear in your tweet as a link that redirects to the Instagram site.)

Schedule your posts

If you use Instagram to create interactions, like the other social media channels, sometimes you may need to schedule some posts in advance. Here are some Instagram-specific scheduling apps you can try:

You already have all the basic information. Now start applying everything you learned. I can’t wait to see what ideas you will come up with!

Via: Hubspot

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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