Move aside, Twitter and Facebook – visual stories are the new way of the world and Instagram is undisputedly leading the way. But as most of us know, capturing the perfect photograph – one that is well-shot but seemingly effortless – is no easy feat. The good news is this: there are many easy-breezy tips and tricks that you can apply to improve your ‘gram-game, even if you are shooting from your phone.
Before you jump into aspects like framing, lighting and editing, you need to understand the camera on your phone. Most Instagram pros will recommend that you avoid using the camera from the Instagram application itself, but rather, use your phone camera to take the initial shot. Play around with the settings, the exposure, the framing and the modes to understand which style of photography appeals to you the most. If you are looking to curate a beautiful Instagram feed, it is important to maintain some level of consistency in the style of your photography, so keep that in mind as your experiment with the features of your camera.
When it comes to capturing a moment or setting, think about how you might frame the photograph to create the most impact. Pictures that follow the unspoken rules of symmetry are always more appealing to the eye, but this does not necessarily mean that the object you are trying to capture has to be right in the middle of the shot. Experiment with the rule of thirds – a golden rule of photography – which involves breaking your shot into three even vertical and horizontal sections, and then orienting the subject of the shot along that frame. Trust us when we tell you that framing an object smartly can elevate even the most ordinary photograph.
When composing the shot, think about the angles as well. For example, food often looks best when it is shot from above (flat lay style) but often, shooting people from the ground level upwards or at an angle from above is more flattering. There is no right or wrong answer – it simply depends on the subject of the photograph and the look that you are going for. If you have the time, try to take multiple shots from different angles to see what works best.
Next, start to think about lighting. We all know that lighting can make or break a photograph. Natural light is always the best to shoot in, and if you can muster up the effort, shooting at the golden hour (right after sunrise or before sunset) gives a magical quality to photographs that artificial light cannot replicate. How do you think your favourite fashion bloggers captures such beautiful shots?! It’s the golden hour trick, ladies.
And finally, when you start to edit, do not restrict yourself to the filters that Instagram provides. In fact, most Instagram pros use external editing applications – VSCO is a particular popular one, as is Snapseed. Everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to editing photographs, but again, it is important to reiterate that consistency is key to curate a beautiful Instagram feed.
Many famous Instagrammers try to “own” a colour palette or tonality – for example, you could stick to high-contrast and colourful images or a cooler toned palette when editing your photographs. Again, there is no right or wrong, because as they say, beauty depends on the eye of the beholder.
Whatever you do, try to create your own, unique style on Instagram, as far as content, composition and editing goes. Not only will this help your feed stand out from the millions of other accounts – it will also become a unique statement that is instantly recognizable as yours. Happy ‘gramming!