Wondering how to take better Instagram photos? I asked some top influencers…
By Noa Ben-Moshe
From magical mountains to urban cafes, our Instagram feeds are packed with beautiful pictures. But have you ever spent time scrolling down stunning Instagram feeds, wondering ‘how on earth do these people take such amazing pictures?’
As a blogger and Instagram creator myself, I know that capturing a good Instagram photo takes time and practice. I started my blog and Instagram around three years ago, and if you will scroll down my feed you will definitely see the evolution, in both style and imagery- I started with mirror selfies and balcony shots (oh man, I know, let’s not talk about it!)
But as time went by, I learned about my good angles, gained confidence to go and shoot outside and practiced photography. Let me tell you: with a bit of will power, you can do it too!
Of course, there’s that common saying: ‘behind every Instagram influencer is a loyal ‘Instagram husband,” and I must admit I have used photography by people other than myself. If you don’t have a friend with a great eye, you can always hire someone to take images of you: the best bet is to hire a photographer who can take several shots of you at different locations, times of the day, and in different outfits so you can post them later.
But whether it’s a pro photog or yourself taking the snaps, keep this in mind:
There are a few ‘golden rules’ to follow:
- Use natural light. This is the most flattering by far. And the best light isn’t harsh midday sun, but the more golden light that we see around 4-5pm.
- Don’t overexpose images. You can brighten up a photo that’s too dark with editing tools, but there’s nothing that can fix a photo that’s overexposed. Prevent overexposure by adjusting the lighting on your screen: tap and slide your finger up or down to adjust exposure.
- Use the ‘rule of thirds’. This divides an image into a 3×3 grid, and aligns the subjects or objects in a photo along the grid lines to create balance.
- Try shooting from unusual angles, not just eye level. For example, take an extreme closeup of something small, like a flower or insect, or shoot a landscape from above.
- Add depth. Photos that include layers, props, patterns or objects in the background as well as the foreground, are naturally interesting because they offer more depth.
You’ll also need a good camera to take high-res images. While some prefer a professional camera, most Instagrammers just use their phone.
The top selling smartphones for photography are:
- Google Pixel 3, which many say is the best camera phone right now
- Huawei P30 Pro
- Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, which is the best camera phone in a Samsung
- iPhone XS, which is the best camera phone for Apple lovers
- iPhone 8
Knowing the basics and having a decent camera or camera phone isn’t enough to take a great Instagram shot, though. There’s some kind of, well…almost magic to it! And it’s that magic that creates Instagram influencers.
I asked some of my favorite vegan and sustainable fashion Instagram influencers for their their tips on how to take awesome Instagram pictures. Their priceless advice is below.
How to Take Better Instagram Photos, By Instagrammers
Lighting is Key
When I asked Anca how to take better Instagram photos, her answer was what most professional photographers would say: “It’s all about the lighting! 90% of the pictures on Instagram are shot in flat light. If you’re shooting outside, pay attention to “burnt” or too dark areas as they can’t be fixed in editing. The best pictures are always shot at early evening (we, Instagrammers love calling it “Golden Hour”), preferably using a reflector”.
Keep Your Makeup Natural
For Sruti, it’s all about bringing out your own natural beauty: “I love to keep my make up natural because I always feel that the camera picks up everything (even too much makeup, which can look too made up or heavy on your skin ). Fresh and natural makeup is always the best for a great Instagram picture”.
Wear Clothes You Feel Confident in
Candid Shots for the Win
Holly has some great talent behind her shots: “I find that candid photos are the best. My husband is a photographer so I’m lucky to have him taking photos naturally when we’re out exploring. I think places nature is the best location for any photography, especially when you’re sharing tales of regenerative reciprocity”.
If you’re not lucky enough to have a photographer husband, you can always hire local photographers wherever you may be from services like Localgrapher. You can choose from a variety of photogs with a variety of styles to ensure you get the best Insta pics possible.
Don’t Pose Too Much
When asked how to take better Instagram photos, Chole told me it’s all about being yourself. “Interact with your surroundings and don’t pose too much. I really like natural shots with movement rather than still shots looking at the camera, it feels more spontaneous and inspirational to me. It can be anything from playing with your bag or any elements from your outfits to looking elsewhere or holding a sign or flowers for instance”.
Come in the right mood
When it comes to how to take better Instagram photos, this influencer says it’s all about how you feel inside: “Make sure you are in the right mood while going to a photo-session. Feeling joyful and passionate really makes the difference in a picture. It’s important to strike a good pose but, it’s even more important for people to see the person behind the clothes, to express your actual emotions and feelings”.
Have a vision
Livia has all kinds of great advice, like: ask yourself: “What kind of vibe should the picture give? Should it be more commercially beautiful or artsier? More cool and edgy or dreamy? Before I take photos I have a vision and possibly even some inspiration pictures saved in my head (and my phone). With that in mind, I make decisions on styling, location and how I pose”.
“When you shoot an outfit photo your props will most likely be your accessories or clothes. Things I do to make the photo a little more interesting is that I grab my skirt, show my bag, play with my rings, the possibilities are endless.
And it doesn’t just have to be your outfit you can use to spark interest in a photo. Incorporating what is around you can do the trick too. Grabbing the glass of juice standing next to you or picking some flowers from the wildflower meadow to be able to hold the bouquet for the picture helps to make a photo look special”.
Dynamics are key
Vegan influencer Marcel says you need to think about your observer: “Dynamics draw the observer into the picture. It can be created through the movement of your body e.g. through walking! Use the movement of your head or the way that you look into a direction. But it can be also the structure in your hair or in your clothes which creates some kind of movement too.
And don’t underrate the background! Even brick wall or stairs can be enough to build some level of dynamic within your picture”.
Composition, Angles, and Editing
“Compose the shot through your viewfinder or phone screen. Model your subject (or yourself) and take time to consider adding or detracting to the environment. The camera never lies after all! Also, get creative with angles! Bin the straight-on shot and try shooting from above or to the side whilst doing a shoot. You never know. For editing, I use lightroom to enhance the natural beauty of my shot. A little tweak is all a good picture needs to pop, over-filtering can remove the authenticity of the picture though”.
There’s no such thing as too many pictures
“It’s always better to take more photographs than necessary! No one wants that sinking feeling when the shot was almost perfect. I make sure to avoid the if only feeling by taking more photographs than required enabling myself to get ‘the one'”.
Make Yourself Comfortable
“I like to shoot by the sea because it’s the place I feel the most comfortable. I love wild swimming and try and get in the water as many days as possible, so it helps me relax to be somewhere I feel more myself. Despite being a performer, I’m not the most confident in front of a camera, so this really helps. Plus it looks beautiful, whatever the weather, and is a good reminder of the bigger picture of why I’m even on social media. So my tip is to find ways to make yourself more comfortable! That authenticity always shines through”.
“I want to make sure I’m not addicted to my phone/Instagram too much, so when I have some time (usually when I’m on a train!) I try and draft multiple posts so I have them saved for the future. Obviously, this is easier for me: I’m usually posting to let people know when a new blog post goes online, so I can plan ahead and schedule easily, but it also keeps the whole process a little more smooth and means that my screen time on any social media app is relatively low! I want to share things with my audience, yes, but I also want to have a healthy work-life balance. I think it’s important for everyone to remember that”.
I hope you enjoyed reading those tips! Let me know if you have any specific questions about how to take better photos for Instagram below, and I’d be more than happy to answer!
Used any of the tips? follow ELUXE on Instagram and tag us! All images courtesy the influencers on their ‘gram pages.