I love taking photos on my phone, and when it comes to a social app, none of ’em have my heart like Instagram does. Here are some tips that I’ve picked up that have helped me in my quest to be an Insta all star and I’m sure one of them will help you, too.
Don’t use Instagram to take your photos
This one may be a dead giveaway to some, but I just wanted to take a moment to remind everyone. It’s limiting in the amount of tweaking you can do to a photo. Take it with your standard camera and load it into the app when you’re ready, and if you can, make sure you take it in Square mode. 🙂
Consider your lighting situation
Photos with good light are crucial to a killer IG photo, and even though there are apps than can help you, an image is easier to edit if it has a great “base.” If you’re taking photos indoors, use a window during the day (natural light does wonders), and a brightly lit light in the evening. If you tap the bright part of the screen, it will yield an underexposed photo. The dark part will do the opposite. If the lighting sitch is dire, lighter backdrops or surfaces help, too! I’ve once used a white piece of printer paper. See for yourself!
Don’t just tap the screen – lock it down
Since you’re taking your photos using your camera, you’re able to get better focus in your images. When you tap your screen, you’ll see AE/AF Lock pop up in yellow. Well, AE stands for Auto Exposure and AF stands for Auto Focus. By holding down on your phone, you’re able to get focus on one point of the photo, giving you that detail shot that you want so bad. Ooh yeah!
Take your selfie to the next level
Ain’t nothin wrong with a selfie. No matter if you’re trying to show off your new necklace, or are just feeling your self
ie a little bit, make sure you’re getting your best YOU. While the new iPhone uses your screen as a flash when taking a front-facing photo, it still isn’t as high of quality as if you take the standard way. In the end you will have a grainier photo. Practice your optimum “arm stretch” by looking in the mirror and seeing the screen in the reflection. You can then tell what you need to adjust, and what position your arm should be in in the future.
Want to take that “I’m standing up and want you to see my outfit” selfie? Don’t overextend your arm; Use a selfie stick. A selfie stick may look foolish to some, but can help you in a pinch when no one is around. Additionally, the one I use attaches to my standard tripod, so yes, I’ve used it to take an outfit photo before, using my stick as a shutter. Genius. If you’re dead against a selfie stick, use your earbuds as a shutter. Just plug them in as normal and use the (+) symbol to take your picture.
all the apps…then figure out which are your favorite
I want to start by saying that Instagram has come a long with the editing features it has within the app. Most of the time I use these features and no other apps, however, I do have a few in my arsenal that have helped me in a pinch and may help you too! VSCO is tried and true, but Aviary is a favorite of mine, and a go to for lightening and fine-tuning photos. You can also add fun color highlights to an image! I also like Afterlight but don’t find it as easy to use, however, that could be my lack of patience and familiarity with the others. You personally may favor one over the other!
Need to edit a photo but not a Photoshop wizard? Yeah. Me either! TouchRetouch is my go-to app for removing a shadow, mark or anything I don’t want in a shot. The” lasso” works well and you can finger scribble what you want to remove, then save the photo in a few different sizes.
While Instagram allows you to share photos that aren’t square, I still like to make sure my photos look a certain way in the main feed (the photos that aren’t taken in square mode are cut off, not compressed). That’s why I use InstaSize. It helps you not only square photos, but add borders, filters, and even edits video.
Join – or lead the conversation with the use of hashtags
If you want more eyes on your photos, you have to publicize your profile, and not only publicize, but use hashtags. I love to check out Rising Tide Society as they share some popular ones regularly (see this guide). I’ve also found quite a few here that I use and engage with, and when I say engage, I mean liking and commenting on other photos that resonate with me. If you’re a small biz owner or blogger, it helps connect with your audience on a more personal level, and also creates a platform for you to create your own branded hashtag(s) that your followers can get familiar with. For example, I’ve created #TLGtravels and #TLGtips. 🙂
I could go on and on, but then there wouldn’t be a part two to this one day!
What are some of your favorite tips and tricks for Instagram? Leave them in the comments so we can all learn from each other!
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Photos by Christie Spencer Photography
I have Android phones and I use “Square InstaPic” app to upload pics to IG after editing with other apps.
Awesome. Thanks for adding to the list. 🙂
You are welcome, I haven’t transferred over to an iPhone yet.
Thank you! I have many more and learn something new all the time. More to come!
I am loving Phonto right now. You can easily edit photos, add text and create fun backgrounds. It is almost like having a free Photoshop that you can take anywhere with your phone. It is my go-to!
That is awesome! I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks! Glad they helped.
You are kind of flippin’ fanastic. These are so good! Much love!
Hey, thanks! 😉 I’m glad they helped. xo
Thanks, Brittany! I’m glad you found them useful.
Definitely love the app VSCO! It lets me edit everything exactly how I want to. Unfortunately, my iPhone is somewhere floating in a portapotty… so I have sadly switched to Android haha but having ALL the editing apps definitely helps with Android quality haha
Hey VSCO sister! It is my favorite. Sorry about your phone but glad you’re making due in the meantime!
Thanks! Happy they helped!
Oooh love these tips. I just came over to an IPhone from a Galaxy so I get to discover the magic of IG photography on a new level all over again. There’s DEF a difference between android and iPhone in terms of photography and IG. I’ve tried VSCO and Afterlight, but my fav non IG photo app is Snapseed. I absolutely love it. Also I just discovered AColorStory app and I having fun with that as well. I agree 100% with you about natural light. Also I find as a viewer and blogger the most pleasing feeds have images that are really consistent with the same edits. Generally the brightness, highlights, contrast, and shadows are pretty much the same in all the photos. It tells a story of sorts. I also love
How did I not know about the AE/AF lock until now?!? Great tip!!
Now you know! 🙂 It’s a game changer!