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Social Media Corner: 13 Tips for Taking the Perfect Shot for Instagram

Posted By TNNA HQ, Friday, June 2, 2017
Updated: Thursday, June 1, 2017

Social Media Corner: 13 Tips for Taking the Perfect Shot for Instagram

By Joy Macdonell

Whether you're an Instagram newbie or a veteran on the platform, here are 13 tips to bring engaging visual content to your followers. Our industry is colorful, vibrant and creative, so that's what you need to deliver!

 

Framing

Framing

 Framing 1 Framing 2 

 

Instagram finally broke free from the square frame. You can now post landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical) photos, too! There is still an emphasis on the square aspect ratio of 1:1:

  • The gallery still uses square thumbnails;
  • The app only shoots photos in square; and
  • If you input photos into the app for posting, the default is the square.

You can choose to preserve the original aspect ratio of your uploaded photo in the upload screen. There is now a small icon in the bottom left of the image where you can toggle between square and not-square. For landscape photos (horizontal), you can use aspect ratios up to 1.91:1. For portrait (vertical) photos, you can use an aspect ratio up to 4:5. And you can still use square, of course. But you can’t use very narrow banners or panoramas. If the square framing did not work for you, now there are more options for presenting your content!

 

Symmetry

Symmetry

Symmetry creates balance in photography. Look for opportunities to frame the subject of your photo with objects in the scenery: other props, architecture, branches, window sills, etc. Use objects in your environment to create balance and frame your shot.

 

Lighting

Lighting

Lighting is key. Natural light always reads best in photography. Prime times for shooting outdoors are: cloudy days, early morning or late afternoon. The lens of the phone camera absorbs light in a different way compared to traditional cameras. Play with the light coming from above or behind your subject. As you are taking your shots, move around the subject and look to see how the light changes position light in unexpected places to capture an ethereal look.

 

Focus

Focus

Look for depth of field. Most smartphones allow you to touch the screen and focus on your subject. Use this tool to bring the objects closest to you into focus and allow the objects further away to blur. The blurry background and the focused foreground creates depth in your photo and guides the viewer’s eye to the focal point of the photo.

 

Turn On the Grid

Turn On the Grid

Respect the Rule of Thirds. Use the grid on your phone to aid in creating a balanced composition. The grid marks break the frame of your photo into thirds, vertically and horizontally. Position the elements in your frame on the 1/3 marks instead of the center and you will find that your photos are instantly more interesting.

 

Clean the Lens

Clean the Lens

Get clarity and sharpness in your photos by wiping off the lens of your camera phone. Our phones go in and out of our pockets, sit on tables, and collect dirt and dust. Taking a moment to clean the lens before you shoot will make a big difference in the quality of your photos.

 

Editing

Top Instagram Editing Apps

With a little editing, every photo can be Instagram-worthy. My favorite editing apps are: A Color Story (in-app purchases), Snapseed, VSCO, Facetune ($3.99), Darkroom (in-app purchases) and TouchRetouch ($1.99). Each app provides a unique experience. To find your favorites, you need to play. You do not need to be a photographer to use these apps; you simply need to have the desire to try them out. These apps have great YouTube support. Download the apps, watch a few tutorials, and you will learn to produce Insta-awesomeness!

 

Tell A Story

Tell A Story

Find a clear point of interest. Shoot photos that tell a story about the product, person or place of interest. Remove clutter from the photo and lead the viewer’s eye right to the heart of your content.

 

Colors, Shapes and Lines

Colors, Shapes, and Lines

A powerful Instagram photo has strong colors, defined shapes and lines. These elements can frame your content and draw the viewer into the photograph. Train your eye to use these pieces of content to create emotion in your frame.

 

Shoot from Different Angles

Shoot from Different Angles

 Change your position and look at the objects in your photo from an unusual perspective. Try shooting from directly above or very low to get an interesting view.

 

Less Is More

Less Is More

Use white space to your advantage and give your content room to breathe, but also think about context. Give the viewer an understanding of the size of product you are filming or the use of an interesting object. Use your photo to engage your followers and invite them to investigate further.

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice, Practice, Practice

Take tons of photos. Release yourself from perfection. If you see something interesting, take a photo. Through practice, you will learn more about your style, your aesthetic, and, in time, you will capture your brand.

 

Consistency

Keep Your Feed Consistent

Keep a consistent look to your photos. When they tile together in your feed, you can see a story unfold. There are many approaches to consistency; it could be color, framing, lighting, content or the use of white space. Also remember to remain consistent with feeding Instagram: The more consistent you are, the more present you will be on the platform. A good Instagrammer considers how each photo looks within the whole feed. Planning is a big part of telling your visual story.

Instagram does not allow for automatic programming; each photo must be uploaded in real-time. How do you stay ahead and keep your feed cohesive? Check out Plann  a scheduling, planning app that makes curating your Instagram gallery quick and easy. The app notifications will keep you on schedule so that you never forget to post!


About the Author

Joy MacdonellJoy Macdonell is the education director at Simplicity Creative Group. Her job has provided her with lots of great opportunities to teach, including as the host of a television show on the DIY network (Greetings, from DIY) and one on PBS (Crafting at The Spotted Canary). She has also been the guest representative for Martha Stewart Crafts on the Home Shopping Network and has been the education director for the Martha Stewart Crafts brand since it launched in 2007. Prior to starting her career with EK Success Brands in 2001, she and her sister owned the very popular scrapbook store in Fairfax, VA, My Scrapbook Store.

Tags:  Instagram  Social Media  Tips  TNNANews 

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Purls of Joy says...
Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Thank you. Learned some new tips.
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