Instagram has undoubtedly become one of the most popular image sharing sites. It is also a sweet spot for photographers and enthusiasts looking to get their pictures noticed. Of course, the popularity of Instagram has led to fierce competition. To help you stand out on this social media platform, I decided to share some Instagram photo tricks to make your images better, more noticeable, and beautiful.
Have you ever posted a photo that didn’t get much attention? If you want to fix it, you came to the right place because the tips for Instagram photos I’m about to share with you will get you more likes, engagement, and more followers!
1. Use The Golden And Blue Hour
Light is pretty much everything in photography. And some light is superior to others. Golden hour refers to the period of the day during and right after sunset, while the blue hour is around the dawn before the sun starts to climb the sky.
Just by merely imagining these two natural occurrences, you get the idea of what kind of pictures you will be able to take. Most of the top-notch photos you notice on Instagram are not captured at noon; they are taken in the early morning or late evening.
The reason for this is simple – the game of shadows and soft, warm light affects everything around you. From the mysterious colors of the water and trees to the reddish-golden sunsets, these two-time frame windows are the peak of the light sources for photography.
If you want to capture a moody, silky image with darker shadows and dark vibe, take your gear, hit the road early in the morning, and photograph that lake near your house. Or head up to the hill and take a picture of a neighborhood. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch some blue clouds and a mist emerging from the vale.
On the other hand, if you’re not an early bird, you can wait for the evening and get those warm tones. Use the fact that it is the summertime now, and with the golden hour it is your time to shine with sunset photos.
2. Rethink Your Images – Use 1:1 Ratio
When I started my journey in photography, I always adhered to the “rule of the thirds. ” It is an old rule that demands from photographers to utilize the grid scheme to capture three separate parts in the scene. In this way, the main subject is not in focus, which alters the composition in a more creative way. In this way, the center of the scene is not the central part of the image, but just one of three equal parts. The Instagram feed almost completely squashed this holy rule.
Pro-tip for taking better photos if you want to make your images more beautiful is to use the 1:1 ratio. Since most users use the Instagram app on their phones, the viewing field of the screen is much smaller than the one on the computer monitor. Therefore, to get noticed, the subject needs to be the center of attention. Think of a wide-angled shot with a couple in the distance. They are on the left side and the waterfall on the right side with the rocky road in the middle. Is it a mesmerizing image? It sure is.
Unfortunately, due to phone limitations, it won’t look nearly as good on the phone screen as on a conventional PC. A better bet would be to frame the couple in the 1:1 ratio to accentuate their facial features and the moment of love with the creamy bokeh effect on the waterfall. This image is much more engaging for Instagram because it will draw attention to your subject. At the same time, everything else in the background will be the cherry on top.
3. DSLR Cameras Are Better Than Phones
Although today’s smartphones come with smart computers and a wide range of photo options, a standard DSLR camera is a force not to be reckoned with in the land of photography. Taking photos in the low light can be quite challenging for phone users. It is tricky for DSLR cameras, but they come with large sensors (both FX and DX-format respectively) and can take on such a challenge.
Also, the phone is quite limited when it comes to lenses. Pro gear comes in handy when you need to switch between wide angles for landscapes and macro lenses to picture that cute little bug on the top of a dandelion. In that way, you won’t have to face issues of out of focus image or the bokeh effect that cuts through your subject. To learn more about lenses visit Lenses Pro.
The camera gives you more control over your settings in terms of more options in manual mode. Another excellent tip for Instagram is to use the magic of long exposure, especially if you like to photograph water. It is a feat that can best be achieved by using a camera combined with ND filters and tripods. It’s requirements surpass smartphone capabilities by far, so you will want to gear up for this advanced technique.
4. Stand Up To Stand Out – Capture The Action
In an era where most people like the easy solutions of modern life and apply them even on social media, offer something different. If you have an exciting hobby that involves a lot of action (ex. sports) or if there’s an activity you are willing to try out, such as rafting or a shooting session, take your camera with you and capture the moment!
The image of a man loading a weapon and firing a shot or the one of a lady that is battling to control the oar on the raft is a captivating one. It makes so much more of an interesting photo for Instagram than a classic selfie or a steady “good morning photo” of your backyard. If you want to stand out, you need to move, and you need your subjects to move as well.
Taking a good photo of action often takes practice and requires patience. Of course, such dedication will not go unnoticed. Since the Instagram feed is flooded with “steady” images, something different will make your account pop. You don’t have to be a sportsperson to indulge in such an activity. You can apply this tip while in nature, or taking a stroll. Just make sure to capture some kind of movement or action. It will pay out excellent dividends.
5. The Best Instagram Trick Is To Find A Niche And Stick To It!
This one applies the best to those seriously involved in photography and who already have their tastes refined in terms of things they like to shoot. Have you ever followed a photographer (or anyone else who provided value with their photos) on Instagram for the value they provide with their posts?
I surely had. Then they switched from posting pictures of food to selfies or pictures of family gatherings out of the blue. There is nothing wrong with that, but it fails to deliver the value for which people followed those Instagram accounts in the first place.
If your niche is product photography, stick to the products. You can take pictures of them in various ways, but make sure your feed is consistent. If you want to put in some other, different images, try to introduce them gradually. For example, try to put the necklace you took a photo of last week on a person’s neck and take a close up shot, and then zoom out in the next photo for the full body.
Consistency, as with anything in life, is essential to be noticed on Instagram. Followers expect you to provide value. They can follow you for your gorgeous landscape shots, so that is what they expect from you. If you start to post some unrelated content, they will notice and feel less enthusiastic about engaging with your photos. If you are pro or have a plan to one day become one, or if you at least want to be serious about your Instagram game, apply this tip: find a niche and stick to it.
6. Pros Edit Their Instagram Photos, So Should You
The best-edited photos are the ones that don’t look like they were edited. With that being said, you should try to alter the look of your images. With powerful software such as Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop or Luminar, you can truly make your pictures outstanding. If you ever took an underexposed photo, you can fix it in post production. Editing programs offer an endless myriad of opportunities.
Personally, I like to go after a crispy look with lots of clarity. But many photographers like the orange and teal look. You can achieve all of these styles in the post-process. Photo editing programs can come in handy if you want to create your own presets.
This way, you can apply them to any batch of images, depending on the look you’re trying to achieve. Postproduction is probably one of the best and easiest ways to create your unique look. Often, people will see an image, and right off the bat, they’ll guess which famous photographer took it. That’s how powerful postproduction is.
7. Get Creative With Angles And Reflections
One of my favorite ways to photograph is by using reflections and experimenting with angles. Imagine yourself on a crowded street. On the left side, there is a traditional church, on the right, postmodern glass-window building. To put them both in the frame would require you to move back, put the wide-angles on and try to squeeze them both in while avoiding tourists. How can you get creative with this and still get an image that will light up your Instagram?
You could turn your camera to the right and catch the church’s reflection in the building’s glass windows. By maneuvering like this, you will put both subjects into one image, and the scene will be exciting. You will have an overlap between tradition and innovation, all while following the 1:1 ratio since you don’t have to apply the thirds rule. The church will be in the middle of the frame, and the windows in the background will tell a story about the other building.
To get noticed on Instagram, you need to be original. Most people try to take the easy path by just snapping anything that catches their attention. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with that, a better approach is somewhat different. Try to go for shots straight from the ground, by putting your camera on the concrete and catching pedestrians from the low perspective.
Or climb the overpass and put your camera on a tripod. Set a long exposure and capture passing trains below from a bird’s view. Differentiate between what you put in the foreground and what your background is. Opportunities are almost endless if you get creative and think outside the box.
8. Use Your Pictures To Tell A Story on Instagram
You don’t need to be a writer to tell a story. You just need a dash of creative thinking to tell one to your followers. Chronological order can be your best friend in this situation. Are you going on a camping trip with your family?
Grab your gear and take the picture while in a car. Then another one while setting up a tent. After that comes the bonfire and dinner. You can add the evening shot of your dad’s guitar solo. Set them up all together in order of taking to tell a story.
The point of this is to engage people in a way that they will know your images are not just fancy looking collection of data. Instead, you want them to feel like you told them a story, so they feel like a part of the experience. By capturing things as they happen in a day and putting them in a correct timeline (and Instagram allows you to upload up to 10 images per post), you will make people feel like you undertook a tedious, but satisfactory task of telling a story.
9. Same Place, Different Season
This tip is the variation of the advice above. However, it requires a lot more time to achieve. The time affects all of us, and an excellent way to show it is through photography. In college, I had to cross a bridge over a river, with lots of trees on both banks. Endless rows of greenery on both sides way up to the horizon.
I took a photo on a day typical for that season, from spring to winter. Then I made a collage of a blue river with different tree colors on the sides and showed it to my friends. They all loved it, and I got a lot of positive feedback.
This kind of work shows that you care and that you’re a dedicated photographer. Even if it’s just one shot every three months, it doesn’t matter. Consistency and creativity go a long way when combined. If you happen to live around the lake or green forest, take a photo each season, put them together in a timeline, and post on Instagram.
People will love to see it. Maybe they pass by those places but fail to notice the subtle natural changes. That’s why people love photographers. They recognize the moment in time and save it for everyone. Observe the changes, and your Instagram feed will not just be a place to share photos but to keep track of progress of the world around you.
10. One Filter To Rule Them All
Following all of the pieces of advice will make your Instagram images beautiful. However, to set them apart from others and make them recognizable from afar, you should follow this last tip. Apply one Instagram filter on all of your images. It can be silky white or misty blue, that depends on your personal preference and the look you’re after. The more important thing is to use and stick to it through all of your images.
Ever read a paragraph and think to yourself that one individual writer you love must have written it? That feeling is what you want to stir in people’s minds. Make them recognize your Instagram profile and think of it, even without seeing your username attached to the image.
Every famous photographer has his or her own watermark, and since you use social media as powerful as Instagram, you don’t need to create it in Photoshop. Instead, you can create one with filters, without altering your images much. You don’t have to overdo it. With this advice, less is more, as long as it is noticeable.
There you have it, ten tips and tricks to make your Instagram images look beautiful. Following these instagram tips for beginners will make your account grow faster. It will get you more likes and a lot more engagement. And the most important thing of all, they will step up your photo game in practice. The tricks above are more than gimmicks; they are real-life tested ways to make your Instagram better and more prominent, by sheer quality and consistency.
Here is a video tutorial from Adam Ivy on taking photos for instagram:
On the other hand, if you followed most of these rules but still don’t get expected results, check out 15 reasons why your Instagram followers hate you and learn what you need to avoid.