5 Easy Ways to Take Better Instagram Pictures

Have you ever flipped through the Instagram pictures on your feed and wondered how your favorite brands and influencers manage to make their photos look incredible with just a smartphone?

While some of the mouth-watering #Food pictures and stunning #Nofilter selfies you see have been photoshopped, many were simply captured by people who know how to make the most of the Instagram format.

The truth is that anyone can take stunning Instagram pictures with nothing put their phone and maybe the odd free app.

All you need to do to overcome your photo envy and start posting stunning images to your own Instagram profile is learn a few simple tricks.

Here’s how you can perfect your Instagram pictures.

1.     Focus on Quality with your Instagram Pictures

While a great photo editing can app can cover a multitude of sins, nothing fixes a bad shot.

If your Instagram pictures are always blurry or poorly focused, then you can’t just slap a filter on them and expect to earn thousands of followers. Instagram is the ultimate photo sharing channel. Start by getting the quality of your images right, and the rest will follow.

The good news?

You don’t need to be a pro photographer to take great pictures. All you need to do is understand the basics. For instance:

  • Always use the rear camera on your smartphone. More megapixels = better quality shots.
  • Switch on gridlines to balance your shot. Go into the settings section on your phone, choose Photos & Camera then tap the box next to
  • Set your camera focus manually and only concentrate on one subject at a time.
  • If you use flash, only do so during the day. Flash will drain your pictures, and it doesn’t add much to a night-time shot.
  • By a mobile tripod or selfie stick to give your pictures more range and stabilize your shots.

When you’re setting up your phone for better Instagram pictures, remember to keep “HDR” switched off. High dynamic range sounds fancy and impressive at first, but it tends to make your photographs look overdone and unnatural, a big no-no for Insta.

2.     Think As the Photographers Do

As mentioned above, you don’t necessarily have to be a photography pro to excel with your Instagram pictures, but it’s worth learning a thing or two about the rules of photography. Knowing how to properly frame your photos will improve the professional nature of your images, enhancing your reputation with your Instagram followers.

The more time you spend on Instagram, the more you’ll naturally begin to see scenes through the eyes of a photographer. Until then, think about these things:

  • Composition: The way that objects and subjects are placed in your photo can affect the way the picture looks. Photographers use the “rule of thirds” to give balance to an image.
  • Negative space: Don’t feel like you have to cram your Instagram pictures full of as many focal points as possible. Negative space or the “blank” area around your subject helps to steer the eye in photos. Instagram pictures with plenty of negative space earn up to 29% more likes.
  • Perspective: Play with aspect as you get used to your Instagram strategy. Most pictures look at the subject straight-on, but you can also consider angling your photos in unique ways to make them more interesting.

Remember to think about what’s going on in the background of your shots too. You don’t want anything distracting people from the main focus of your image. @Wovenbella.ph Uses soft pastel pink colors in all of her backgrounds to contribute to the theme of her page:

3.     Get the Lighting Right in Your Instagram Pictures

Let there be light!

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There are few things more important when you’re taking stunning Instagram pictures, than the right lighting.

The chances are that you’ve snapped a photo once or twice in the past, thinking that you got a great shot, only to discover that it’s over-exposed when the time comes to upload it to Instagram. Remember, before you start shooting, nothing can save a poorly-lit photo. With that in mind, follow these rules for excellent lighting, and you’ll have IG fame in no time:

  • Stick to natural light: Whether you’re shooting on an iPhone or an Android, your smartphone is capable of capturing fantastic Instagram pictures when there’s enough light. If you’re not shooting outdoors, make sure that you’re close enough to a window that you can take advantage of the natural light.
  • Choose the right times of day: Planning to take photos at dawn will give you plenty of beautiful contrast and soft shadows. In the middle of the day when the sun is highest, you can enjoy a bright, sunny exposure. Pick your timing to suit the kind of photo you want to take.
  • Enjoy the weather: While sunny days are glorious, it may be better to take advantage of cloudier days for your Instagram pictures. Clouds help to spread the light evenly above you, so you can get more done with your shots.

Check out the lighting in this stunning image by @beyondthelands:

4.     Stick to a Theme with Your Instagram Pictures

While basic photography skills and knowledge of things like exposure or composition will help you to get the most out of your Instagram pictures, it’s also a good idea to choose a single theme or “style” for your Instagram profile.

Your IG theme is your online “vibe,” the personality that you want to convey through a careful choice of colors and borders. Get it right, and your theme will make your Instagram timeline look more synchronized – perfect for when you want to attract new followers.

The theme you choose will impact the way that your Instagram profile feels too. For instance, black and white have a more dramatic feel, while soft pinks are great for a romantic vibe.

Check out the soft vintage look of @byhannahrose’s Instagram page.

Screenshot of the @Byhannahrose Instagram page

Choosing your theme in advance will let you know which pictures you should be snapping whenever you have chance. More importantly, your Instagram theme will also help you to decide which filter you’re going to use.

Yes, we said “filter” singular. If you want a consistent selection of stunning Instagram pictures, then you need to stick to a single filter. Clarendon is the typical option for most influencers and Instagram lovers.

5.     Get Editing!

The best Instagram pictures are the ones that don’t look overly-processed or edited. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t afford to alter your images at all. A little bit of editing can help to give more depth to your pictures and improve the quality of your Instagram feed.

If you don’t want to download any additional tools to edit your Instagram pictures, you can start with the basic IG editing tools. Open the editing section by tapping the Wrench icon underneath your photo on the right-hand side of the page. From here, you’ll be able to adjust things like:

  • Highlights
  • Saturation
  • Sharpness
  • Shadows
  • Warmth
  • Structure
  • Brightness

…and more.

As you begin to gain Instagram followers and learn their preferences when it comes to the style of photos you should be posting on IG, you can adjust your editing habits.

Instagram photo editing

Of course, if you want to go above and beyond the editing options provided by Instagram’s basic tools, then you can always download a free app for your phone. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Snapseed: Snapseed is one of the most-loved fine-tuning tools in the digital world. You can use the app to crop, straighten, rotate, and adjust perspective in your Instagram pictures before you upload them to the app. There’s also a handy “healing” tool for getting rid of blemishes too.
  • VSCO: The VSCO app is an easy-to-use app for any Instagrammer who wants to make it big online. There are one-tap pre-sets you can use to instantly edit your photos – which is great when you want to maintain a particular theme with your Instagram pictures.
  • TouchRetouch: Get rid of any objects or unwanted blemishes in your photos with this simple tool. This app doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but it’s great for getting your Instagram pictures to the next level.

Keep Practicing with Your Instagram Pictures

As with most things in life, it takes time to make your Instagram pictures incredible.

You won’t become a photographer overnight, and even with plenty of advice and insights at your disposal, it’ll take time to find your true #IG skills, but you’ll get there.

Resist the frustration to give up when things aren’t going according to plan, and your pictures look less than ideal. Plus, remember that you can always come to Upleap when you need help with the next part of perfecting your Instagram journey – getting people to like the pictures that you take.

Click here to start your free trial today!

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By Rebekah Carter

Hi! I'm Rebekah, a full-time writer specializing in the spaces of digital content, business, social media and tech.

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