Knowing how to take good Instagram pictures is the basis of any awesome social media profile.
It’s not about the hype or the followers or any of those other extras. It’s simply about content. And on Instagram, pictures are the most basic form of content you can master.
So as a new Instagrammer (or if you just want to dust up on your IG skills), then knowing how to take good pictures is a good place to start.
5 Tips & Tricks For Taking Better Instagram Photos
We’re not promising that by the end of this you’ll be competing with the likes of Annie Leibovitz, but these tips will get you close enough.
Master your lighting
There are no good photos without lighting. Your motto as an aspiring IG boss should be, “No light, no photo!” Lighting makes a good photo and there are many ways that you can get it just right every time.
First, you want to go for natural light wherever possible. Ever heard of the saying ‘sunkissed glow’? Well, that’s exactly what you’re going for with your images. Try to use natural lighting like sunlight or even candlelight.
If you’re shooting at night, though, you should avoid using your camera’s flash. Flash features can wash out images, sapping the subjects of vibrancy and color. Instead, when shooting in dim or night light, use lighting sources around you like warm lamps, candles, neon lights, etc.
Different lighting colors and tones can add nuance and visual interest to your images as well.
Another lighting tip to keep in mind is that you don’t want overexposed pictures. If you’ve ever seen pictures that are too bright and almost white, then you know what overexposure is.
To avoid this, try to angle your picture so the lighting source isn’t overwhelming. If that’s not possible, you can also adjust the exposure on your camera settings before you take the picture.
On mobile phones, you can usually just tap your finger on the bright spot in the image and the camera will adjust the lighting for you.
Timing is everything and that’s true even when it comes to lighting. You need to pick when you shoot your shot, even if you’re using natural lighting.
As a photographer, the golden hour is your friend. This is when the sun is at its lowest at sunset or sunrise.
If you’re forced to shoot at noon, though, try to go for a time when it’s overcast. Clouds will minimize sharp sunlight when it’s at its strongest at midday. Noon sun can be harsh and unflattering, highlighting flaws. Soft clouds dull its impact and mellow it out, reducing any harsh shadows.
Use the rule of thirds
Most Instagram users know the rule of thirds. Haven’t we all gone through that phase where we used gridlines for every snap? Just me? Okay…
The rule of thirds is all about composition. This is how you arrange different elements in your image, including text, lines, colors, shape, and more.
The rule of thirds helps you balance all these elements by splitting an image into nine blocks (3×3). Essentially, you want to place your subject in the left, right, upper, or lower third of the frame, which leaves open space in the other two thirds.
By using the grid, you can position your image so that different objects support your subject and get a great composition every time.
Choose a focal point
An important part of using the rule of thirds is choosing where you want your viewer to look. What is your image’s subject? Once you know this, every other element will simply support the subject and accentuate it.
Using the grid is one way to work with composition so that you have to highlight your focal point. Another is to play with space and lines. For example, your subject could be the only item in your image surrounded by lots of space. This can be a minimal but impactful way of centering an item.
Or you could use lines to point to a subject. We’ve all seen those cool IG images where someone stands at the end of a very long road? That road is a line directing your focus to the subject and the end. Even the lines on the road are highlighting the focal point.
Lines are a powerful and clear way to distinguish the main subject and pull the viewers’ attention to it.
Play with angles
The last tip for how to take good Instagram pictures is to diversify your angles. It’s so easy to just stand and point at a subject. Same level, no different viewpoints.
Shooting from different angles gives your feed variety and depth and keeps your images interesting.
Try taking pictures from elevated platforms, even if you have to stand on your tiptoes on a chair. Also try shots from the ground up, making your subject bigger and feel elevated. If it means lying on your back or crawling around on all fours, you gotta do what you gotta do!
Angles are not just about aesthetics, too. They also communicate about your subjects and the objects around them. For example, shooting your subject from the ground makes your subject feel gigantic and powerful. From a higher angle, you communicate inferiority and smallness.
Play around with angles to better communicate what you want to say with your image. Even though these are pictures for Instagram, you want to remember that photography is an art and all art communicates and gives meaning.
Photography is no easy skill to acquire. There are many things to get right and many elements that make a good picture. You need to balance various aspects like lighting, focus, composition, and more. You almost have to think of yourself as a designer. Lines, textures, shapes, and more become important things for you to think about.
Use these tips on how to take good Instagram pictures to make your IG an amazing visual space. And from images, the next step is nailing videos because they are a fantastic marketing tool.