Instagram is one of the best websites there is, both for amateur photographers as well as for social media lovers. You get to see some stunning pictures, follow celebrities, learn from some of the greatest photographers in the world and share your pictures and your life with the world.
Of course, Instagram is stuffed to the brim with great pictures, so it can be a little tough to get your pictures to stand out. Also, any pictures uploaded to Instagram have to be published in a traditional square format. This often means your pictures usually have to be cropped before they’re ready for the site.
If you’re not a professional photographer but still want to upload great pictures, here are 5 easy-to-follow tips that will help you take absolutely fantastic Instagram pictures with just your smartphone’s camera.
Use Your Phone’s Camera App instead of the Instagram App
We know Instagram has an app and it lets you upload photos to the website. However, Instagram’s app isn’t anything to write home about. It doesn’t support some basic shooting options, like zoom, which are absolutely necessary if you want to take decent photos.
We recommend you use your phone’s camera app instead for your pics and then import them on Instagram later. If you’re using an iPhone, you can even shoot in a square frame mode that is perfect for Instagram.
Keep the Instagram Square Format in Mind
Instagram will almost always make you crop your pictures before you can upload them. Usually, landscape photos will have to be cropped quite a bit on both sides before Instagram will accept them.
You should keep this in mind while taking photos for the website. Leave a reasonable amount of space on either side of the object you’re clicking and try not to place anything important at the edge of the photo. Move back a few steps, if it helps.
Draw Attention Towards the Subject of the Photo
Many professional photographers follow the rule of the thirds when clicking pictures, which involves dividing a scene into a grid with three rows. Important subjects are placed at the intersection of the grid lines (which are imaginary) to make them stand out in the photo.
However, in the case of Instagram, you will, in most cases, be better off if you place your subject in the center part of the photo. This will both help draw attention to the subject and ensure that cropping the photo won’t reduce its quality.
Consider Investing in Camera Accessories for your Smartphone
Smartphone cameras can’t be compared to moderately-priced digital ones, but they can come close if you pair them up with some accessories. You can consider getting a tripod for your smartphone, for example, which will help you take more stable pictures. The iStabilizer Flex “Flexible Leg Tripod”, at$29.95, is a tripod we recommend you take a look at.
You should also think about investing in a lens attachment for your phone for better zoom and a camera case with programmable buttons to help make it a more comfortable experience for you. The Incipio Focal Bluetooth case for example, available at $33.66 at Amazon, is a good case to buy for an iPhone 5. The iPro lens-cum-cover, on the other hand, is available for both iPhones and the Galaxy S4.
Use Photo Editing Software
And, finally, get some photo editing software that you can use to add finishing touches to your photos. For casual users, an online app like Pixlr should do the trick. Pixlr is a browser-based app, so there’s no download required, and it will let you add some cool effects to your photos.
If you’re a budding photographer and want some advanced software but don’t have a lot of money, take a look at GIMP. GIMP is open source software that has been around for a while, has a large following and has some very advanced features included in the desktop package.
We hope the tips we’ve gathered here help you take better pictures and gather more followers and admirers on Instagram. As a parting tip, we’re going to remind you that the only way you’re going to take exceptional Instagram pics is if you practice with the above-mentioned tips often.