It's a question that troubles even the biggest brand online —how to create engaging photos on sites like Instagram without loosing the personal touch people have grown to really connect with on social media
Often a bad worker blames their tools and when it comes to Instagram there's no exception. It's not what you have but how you use it. I sometimes take pictures on my DSLR but pictures taken on just about any smartphone these days can capture stunning visuals.
The truth is the better the photographer the better the picture. That's mostly all there is to it, but there are some tips you can use to perfect your technique while you're learning:
- turn on the grid pattern on your phone: on iPhones, there's a setting in camera that allows you to see a grid when you take pictures — most DSLRs have something similar to this either on the viewfinder itself or on the main display. Use this grid and make sure you follow the rule of thirds. This can be anything from making sure the sky is 1/3 of the background and the ground 2/3 to knowing that subjects or focal points in the intersect of a line are inherently more interesting than things that are centred.
- understand colour and the power of it: there are tonnes of fun and engaging things you can play with on instagram but a lot of people like to play with colour.
- don't be afraid to take a million pictures to get just one: really, don't be shy.
- know your equipment: if you're using your phone get to know its settings — smartphones are incredibly powerful machines capable of doing amazing things if you know how, sometimes when I'm feeling fancy I use ProCam to take pictures. This app provides so much control, and let's you manually adjust settings like you would on a DSLR.
Instagram filters on Instagram fell favour with top insta accounts for a while there. I actually love messing around with them sometimes but any rookie on Insta will tell you that editing is an essential additional step with any photo.
My favourite app right now to do this with is Snapseed. I fiddle around with other apps (Camera+, Vsco, Lightroom and more) but eventually always land back on Snapseed. The particular features I like on it are the white balance adjustments and the selective editing tool. Possible on Photoshop, of course, but the intuitive nature of this app means I edit on my phone and fast — two features essential for Instagram posts. You can edit photos on your computer and transfer them in the cloud but if you're looking for speed Snapseed is essential.
Sometimes I use Adobe Lightroom too, and they even have an app I quite like too, but I like the free stuff just as much as the paid stuff honestly.
You've got the perfect images. You're posting like a pro. You're using fantastic hashtags and engaging text. So, what's next? I'm most impressed these days with accounts that use the space they've been given either to define a brand or just to stun.
Instagram profiles are like magazine spreads, and using them to create a feel can go a long way. In particular, power-users on Instagram know this, and use this to their advantage by creating visually stunning profiles that draw viewers in.
By creating a profile true to branding (and that's also incredibly visually stunning) you're inviting people to trust your content. I like to do this before I've posted anything using Vsco. Vsco is an editing app but if you import photos it happens to tile them in the same sequence as an Instagram profile giving you an idea of how your 'spread' will look.
Even if you don't feel like being as fancy as sfballet, making sure all of your images have a common theme (a colour, subject or visual feel) can really make a difference on your profile.