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5 Keys to the Perfect Instagram Photo

By Edited Sep 3, 2015 3 6

5 Keys to the Perfect Instagram Photo

The perfect Instagram Photo? It has become oh so elusive in the ever increasing world of mobile photography. More and more we are held captive by those everyday boring photos (Yes, I'm talking to you coffee photographer girl!).

Come on! That's not what Instagram was created for! It wasn't created for pictures of the food on our plates or overexposed shots of the sunset. Instagram was created to capture the stories, the magic, and all the beauty around us.

The River
Credit: Image Courtesy of @brownac5786 (Instagram)

So how do you get that perfect Instagram photo? Here's 5 tips:

1. Start with Quality

Image quality is everything! You start with crap, you're going to end up with crap. My interest in iPhoneography really began to blossom when I discovered the power in the iPhone camera. Combo that little 5 megapixel wonder with some powerful apps, and you've got yourself some photography gold. Personally, I use the iPhone app, Camera+, to get a little extra mileage out of my iPhone's camera. Try it out!

2. Composition Tells the Story

One of the most common mistakes I see on Instagram is users who take an uninterpretable image and then try to tell you what it is in the description. Here's a novel idea, let the image tell the story. Like they always say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

3. Crop Distracting Elements

Photography is all about the focal point. The eye places a great deal of importance on what it perceives first. Oftentimes, the pictures we take will include a few unwanted elements. Use the square frame of Instagram to grop out those things that don't lead straight to the heart of the story you're trying to tell.

4. Make Good Use of Filters

Everyone's favorite feature of Instagram is the wide variety of filters available. Use that toolbox to your advantage. Going for that "Old Polaroid" feel, try the 'Earlybird' filter. Want to add a little bit of grunge, try 'Sutro'. Use those filters with purpose.

5. Be Smart in How You Post It

Instagram has some awesome sharing features. Not only can you post it to your Instagram feed, you can push it to other social networks as well. Get your picture some exposure by having Instagram post it to Facebook & Twitter for you. Make sure you give your shot a title that begs the viewer to ask the question "What is this picture all about?" Force them to dig further.

Mobile photography can be incredible if done right. Take a little extra time with the pictures you take, and you'll see a huge improvement in the stories you are able to tell through pictures.



May 27, 2012 10:53am
Congratulations on this featured article - 'The River' photo is amazing! I'm a novice when it comes to Instagram and I'm using it on an Android (is there a difference between that and using an iPhone?). I've experimented with a few photos and so far it's pretty easy and the photos have turned out impressive. Great article!
May 28, 2012 10:22am
Thanks Introsective! Haven't had an opportunity to mess with Instagram on Android. It's a great app though for sure! Thanks for reading!
Jun 13, 2012 3:45pm
I always wonder how people get to take so many photos to share and would like to be able to do the same. I have Camera+ App but it is sometimes so much easier to just take the picture right from Instagram and post it, so I guess it is just pure laziness or maybe I just do not have the "mobile photography" bone in me lol
Jun 17, 2012 3:50am
Hi I am going to try out the tips you gave in this short but to the point article. I am only new to the I range though back in 1983 I used macs at school. I got myself an iPad Christmas 2011 so I've been using it for Instagram & am excited to try new things, like checking out your other work. :)
Jul 14, 2012 10:24pm
Actually i think it's not necessary to edit or post process photos in instagram. I agree with what you say that instagram is used to publish photos that shows stories and are sensible so why process if not necessary? but thumbs up anyway for that sensible article :)
Dec 14, 2012 4:23pm
Beautiful photo, and very interesting article.
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