There are many ways to increase your Instagram following by using the right hashtags, finding your niche, etc., but Instagram is primarily a photo-sharing site, so the first step to finding success on the platform is taking good pictures. Here are six steps to creating an Insta-gallery of attractive and professional-grade pictures.
1. Use Natural Light
It is unwise to rely too much on your smartphone’s flash photography feature. While the flash can brightly illuminate the subject, the resulting picture appears too bright to be aesthetically pleasing. Instead, try to make use of natural light as much as possible.
Keep in mind that using the full shine of an overhead sun creates the same problem as your camera’s flash: too much brightness in the captured photo. Instead, try to bounce the sunlight off other surfaces, like gold or silver sheet panels, and use the reflected light to light up your subject. If you are shooting outside, try to pick a time when the sun is rising or setting. Called the “Golden Hour,” this is the ideal time to use direct natural sunlight for taking photos.
2. Follow the Rule of Thirds
This is the rule that professional photographers follow most of the time. The frame of the camera is divided into nine equal segments. This creates two horizontal and two vertical lines across the frame. The main subject of the picture should be placed along these lines instead of at the center to create a more interesting shot.
The rule of thirds allows you to divide the picture into two areas, the dominant area, which is where the main subject appears, and the subordinate area, which is the background of the subject that sets the mood and tone of the picture. While the rule of thirds is not a hard and fast rule, you can practice applying it to your pictures and judge whether it creates a more interesting shot.
3. Use Unexpected Vantage Points
Have you ever noticed how virtually every selfie people take uses the same angle? The camera is held slightly above shoulder length, the head is craning up to stare dead center at the camera lens, and the faces of the people who are in the selfie are mashed as closely together as possible.
This is the most common example of a boring, widely used photo angle. To make your photos stand out, choose to take pictures of familiar objects from unexpected angles. This will allow you to make even the most frequently photographed object appear more interesting.
4. Avoid Zooming in Too Much
The zoom feature is the most often misused feature of a smartphone camera. It creates images where the face of the subject takes up the whole picture, making the background of the image an incomprehensible mess. Avoid zooming in too much, and allow your subject to be a part of the background to create more interesting shots.
5. Make Good Use of the Background
You can also use the background to add depth to your flat, two-dimensional picture. Background objects can add a sense of perspective and relative size to your picture while adding a pattern to the background. Like a field of waving crops, a winding road or a towering skyscraper adds dynamism to the shot.
6. Don’t Fall in Love with One Filter
Chances are you have a particular camera filter or a set of filters that you use repeatedly across all your photos. Do this enough times, and all your pictures could start looking the same. The truth is, each filter is designed to be suitable for a particular type of photography.
You can take the time to read up on the various types of filters and their uses, or you can understand how to use them through trial and error.
These are some of the most basic rules that should be followed to create pictures for Instagram that are well-lit and interesting to look at, while also telling a story about the subject and the background.