If you have a smartphone, Instagram is a snap-happy social network that has hundreds of millions of users. The network was originally built to capture moments and share with friends, but has become increasingly popular as a platform for professional photographers.
The app is free to download, and there is no limit on the number of pictures you can upload or how many followers you can reach.
Many people use Instagram as an opportunity to show off their latest holiday snaps, foodie photos, or family memories. But for those aspiring to become professional photographers, it’s possible to get a head start by mastering the basics of Instagram.
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Instagram is an easy to use app, which makes taking good photographs even easier. However, it does rely on you taking a photograph correctly. This means that you need to be sure you are in the right place to shoot, at the right time, and using the right equipment. To begin, open the app and select the camera icon in the top right-hand corner. Then, click ‘cancel’ to go back to the home screen. Once you have clicked the ‘cancel’ button, press the front and rear shutter buttons simultaneously to capture a picture.
Choosing a Location
Instagram is a visual medium, so the first thing to do is to find the perfect location. Choose a location that is interesting, with lots of variety. The most common types of photographs are of people in interesting places, nature and animals. There is no set rule on where you should photograph, just choose a location that interests you.
Take the time to plan. Think about the weather, lighting and composition, and look around for different perspectives. Make sure the background is neutral, such as a white wall, and the sun is out of shot. Also, you should try and take photographs in a setting that isn’t too bright. If you have a tripod, use it.
Taking the Shot
Once you have found a good location, you need to focus on the technical aspects of the photo. The most important element is the depth of field. In photography, this refers to the range of points in a scene that appear sharp in the picture. A lens that has a greater depth of field will show more detail across the whole image, while a smaller focal length means less depth of field.
Use a good camera
The best way to make your photos look great is to use a high-quality camera and lens. If you have an iPhone, use the built-in camera app. And if you want to take things up a notch, invest in a DSLR or mirrorless camera. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars either — there are plenty of good options that cost less than $500. The most important features are image quality (resolution) and low-light performance (ISO).
Use natural lighting
Natural light is the best way to improve the appearance of your pictures. If possible, shoot outside during mid-day when the sun is directly overhead (or near it). If that’s not an option, try shooting with window light or available artificial lights such as lamps or flashlights instead of direct sunlight which can produce harsh shadows on faces and bodies. Even if it’s cloudy out and there’s no direct sunlight coming through windows, try using artificial light sources indoors as well — it will still look better than shooting with only artificial lights like lamps without any natural light coming through windows at all.
Use the right tools.
There are a number of apps that can help you edit your photos before you post them on Instagram. The most popular is VSCO Cam (free), but there are also free options like Lightroom Mobile and Snapseed. You can also use the built-in editing tools in iOS or Android to apply filters and effects.
Play with perspective.
Try shooting from above or below the subject, or from an angle instead of straight on — this will give your photo more depth and dimensionality. It also makes it easier for viewers to relate to your subject matter because they can relate more easily to what they see in front of them every day (e.g., looking down at their phone rather than up at a towering skyscraper).
Use the grid
The grid is a feature within the camera app that helps you frame your shot. When you tap on the grid icon at the bottom of your screen, it will appear as a series of lines in your viewfinder. You can use this tool to compose your shot by placing your subject on one of these lines and then moving it around until it looks right.
Use layers in your shot
Layering is a great way to add depth, texture and interest to an image. You can use things in your environment or objects that are part of your daily routine — like coffee mugs or books — as props in your shots. You can also layer multiple shots together using apps like Over or Diptic.
Find a solid background.
If you’re taking a picture of something specific like a product or service, try to find a solid, neutral background that will allow the focus to be on the subject of your photo. This could be as simple as setting up your camera on a tripod and using a white board behind it for a blank canvas for your photo subjects.
Look at other profiles for more inspiration
Check out other people’s profiles and follow their lead when choosing filters and tags for your photos! Some people choose specific filters for certain kinds of content (a black-and-white filter for travel photos, for example), which makes browsing through their feed much easier when looking for inspiration or ideas on how to improve my own profile!
Choose an interesting subject
Nothing is more boring than a photo of someone standing in front of a building or landscape. If you want your photos to stand out on social media, you’re going to need something more interesting than that.
Look for depth and contrast
Contrast makes a photo look interesting by giving it depth and texture. It can be anything from light and dark contrasts between objects in the foreground and background, or high-contrast colors that create interesting textures when combined together. The best way to find contrast is by looking at things from different angles — try taking pictures from above or below your subject instead of straight on if you want some extra visual interest in your shots!
Shoot in the photo mode
If you use your phone to capture images, turn on your phone’s camera and look at the options available in the top right corner of the screen (usually marked by an icon resembling a box with an arrow coming out of it). Select “photo” instead of “video” or “selfie” — this will help ensure that your phone doesn’t adjust color temperature automatically or focus on something else while taking the shot.