Of the 7.5 billion people on this planet, 1 billion are on Instagram. That’s an insane number of people commenting, liking, and posting every day.
You or your brand are not 1 of the 1 billion to be buried in an ocean of content. You want to stand out, and the best place to start is taking better Instagram photos.
As a professional photographer myself, I’m here to tell you you DON’T need to be a formally trained, DSLR-slinging photog to take double-tap worthy photos. It just takes a little work, some gut instinct, and a bit of background knowledge.
Fair warning: Once you start practicing these tips, I am not liable for breaking your followers’ thumbs – they might not stop liking your awesome photos. Shall we begin?
Make friends with natural light
Photography is the practice of turning light into a tangible image — a frozen sliver of time. So if you remember nothing else from this blog, remember this: Lighting is everything.
It gives an image life, creates interest, and literally allows us to see your awesome content.
However, not all light is created equal. Ignoring access to professional studio lighting for now (which, by the way, have you checked us out yet?!), use natural light to your advantage, and your phone’s meager little flash sparingly.
Natural light is just that: Natural. Instead of firing up the rinky-dink flash on your phone’s camera, try instead to position yourself next to a window or outside in daylight – golden hour if you can.
Know your tool
Try using a hammer to wash your back, and you’re probably going to have a bad time.
Sure, bad example, but good principle. To use your tools to their full potential, you need to know their capabilities and their limits.
In the context of taking good Instagram photos, this means you need to understand what your phone and camera can really do, and how.
For example, here are two of my personal rules of thumb.
Shooting with a phone? Shoot and edit with a 3rd party app.
Apps like Lightroom Mobile and VSCO allow you to shoot RAW and offer more editing capabilities than shooting inside the Instagram app.
Shooting with a DSLR or mirrorless camera? Take more photos than you think you need.
Even seasoned photographers make mistakes. Maybe you missed focus by a hair, a pedestrian in the background is flipping the bird, or your exposure was off. Memory is cheap. Take more photos.
Define your *aesthetic*
Laugh all you want. Success on Instagram partially depends on consistency, so committing to an aesthetic, a style, a photographic fingerprint — whatever you want to call it — is important.
Now, let’s improve our Instagram presence in 2020 shall we? Better photos, better opportunities, better brand. Let’s get after it.