5 tips for taking great photos for Instagram

1. Use a good camera to take the shot

While a DSLR camera is generally preferable for taking photos, a phone camera can take really great shots. If you have to use a phone camera make sure it has the power to take high resolution images. Phones such as the iPhone6 , Sony Xperia Z5, and Nexus 6p all have enough bang to take great photos.

Instagram photos require a good camera

2. Edit the world and then the photo

Take some time to set up your shot so that the final image closely matches your imagined outcome. This can mean moving objects around, moving yourself around, and moving the camera around to get the best angles, lighting, composition, etc.

Don’t forget that you can also do a lot in post-processing. Instagram comes with its own native filters that you can use to add a twist to your shots. However, there are a lot of other options available for more detailed photo editing. Some of the ones that we recommend are:

  • VSCO – this is a stunning app that gives you all sorts of tools to manipulate your photos down to very fine detail. It’s available for free on both IOS and Android and is great for on the move photo editing.
  • Photoshop – probably the most well known photo editing software available. There can be quite a steep learning curve but the amount of control you have over your images is literally endless. You can use Photoshop on PC, mobile and tablet so the options truly are plentiful.
  • Snapseed – this is a great app made by a subsidiary of Google. While not as powerful as Photoshop it does provide a user with all the tools needed to compile a beautiful photo. Check out this guide for a thorough overview of Snapseed.

3. You don’t have to have square Instagram photos

Some images look great in the native, square, configuration that Instagram provides. However, some images look far better in their landscape or portrait format. Instagram has recently introduced a function to allow users to upload pictures in full-size landscape or portrait views. The only problem with the function is that it crops your images when you are looking at them in grid view. Apps like nocrop work around this issue by adding a buffer region around the photo which not only keeps your photo in the format you shot it in but can make your feed look really cool:

instagram cropped image photo

4. Take a video instead

Yes, this is supposed to be a guide for taking great Instagram photos but sometimes a video is just better. Instagram allows users to upload 15 second videos. It can be really, really, hard to get a high quality, Instagram worthy, video. But, if you are doing something cool, different, or want to show a lot in a short period, why not use video?

Video is best recorded on a high definition device such as a GoPro or other such dedicated video camera. Lighting, angles, and composition are very important for good video – refer to point 2 above. What do you do once you’ve recorded a great video? Well, you cut it to 15 seconds or less, you remove any camera shake in post-processing, you add a catchy wee tune or other audio, and then you upload to Instagram.

  • Pro tip: If you notice that your video has dropped resolution during upload you will need to follow this thorough, although complex, guide from whoismatt.com to ensure your videos upload in HD.

5. Think outside the box

You don’t have to draw inside the lines with Instagram. Some of the coolest feeds on Instagram use the whole feed to show a banner image rather than the status quo of individual pictures. @kidfuture_ is one of our favourites from obvious reasons:

kidfuture_ banner instagram grid photo

All in all: get creative. Try to pick a theme and a style and then really put yourself into taking good photos and telling your story. Instagram is supposed to be fun so enjoy it! Harvey Insights are always available to help if you need us.