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For bloggers and creative entrepreneurs, Instagram is much more than a social media platform to share glimpses of your everyday life. It can promote your brand and business, build your community, and help you land brand sponsorships if you’re a blogger.
Almost all the brands I’ve worked with have mentioned my Instagram account as one of the reasons why they contacted me. Instagram is such a great way to promote both yourself, your brand and the products you use and love!
The key to a well-received Instagram account? Beautiful photos, of course! Today I’m sharing all my best tips and tricks to taking and editing your Instagram photos.
TAKING BETTER INSTAGRAM PHOTOS
1. Natural Lighting
Natural lighting always trumps indoor lighting. If you’re taking photos inside, take them during the day, turn off the lights and open all the windows that surround your photo. This has always given me the best luck in terms of snapping a nice, crisp picture.
I like to take my Instagram photos from a number of different angles to get the right shot. You never know which one will look best so it’s good to have options! You might take the best one on your first shot or you might take it on your fifth, it’s always different depending on lighting and how you set up the props in the photo.
3. Use Bright Surfaces
For flat lay photos, take them on a bright surface like a white marble counter top. (You can fake a marble counter top with marble contact paper – so much cheaper!!!). You can also use a reflector like white cardboard to bounce off the light and get rid of shadows. This will make a huge difference in how your images look (read: much better!).
4. Take Food Photos From Above
When taking photos of a plate(s) of food, take it from above, about 3 feet away from the meal. This way you can get the whole picture in – coffee, cutlery, juice, etc. The first photo below was taken at an angle while sitting on my chair, while the second photo I took standing up from a bird’s eye view. 34 likes compared to 259!
5. Don’t Use the Instagram App
I always take my photos using my iPhone or DSLR camera (mainly my iPhone). If you use the Instagram app you can only take one photo at a time before it prompts you to choose a filter. If you use your phone, you can snap as many photos as you want, change things up, and customize your photos more.
6. Choose the Right Background
You’ll always want your Instagram photos to tie into your brand as a whole, and choosing the right background is a great way to do this. If your brand is minimalist, use a white counter, Bristol board, or bed sheets to take your photos. If you have a fun, colorful brand aesthetic, find colorful walls, plates, place mats etc. to take your photos in front of.
7. Move Your Props Around
If you’re taking a photo with props, move them around until you get the right arrangement. You’ll have to play around with how close the objects are to each other and what looks best side by side. You’ll want the props to be close enough to fit inside the frame, but also far enough away to see the background underneath.
EDITING YOUR INSTAGRAM PHOTOS
1. Use an Editing App
When I started using an editing app for my photos, it was a total game changer. My favourite is PicTapGo (not an affiliate, I just absolutely love this app!)– it can completely transform your photos. There are so many filters to choose from and you can adjust how strong you want to filter to be. You can also save your filter recipes, so if you really love how a photo turned out, you can save the exact filters and the percent of the filter you used.
Don’t use too many filters though. I try to stick to 2 to 6 at the very most! These before and after photos show you what a difference a good editing app can make.
2. Adjust the Brightness
Bright photos always look better than dark photos. With PicTapGo I use the ‘Lights On’ or ‘Brightside’ filter to brighten up my photos. Once you’ve brightened the photo the ‘Contrast’ filter is great to make the photo pop. For photos of food or objects I also use the ‘Crispity’ filter which makes the image nice and defined. And I use ‘Air’ to give it the light, airy feel.
3. Crop the Photo
Sometimes you’ll want to use the entire image you captured, and other times cropping the image will give you a better final product. You can play around with cropping until you get your desired image. I usually do this right in the Instagram app!
4. Don’t Over Edit
I’ve definitely been guilty of over editing my photos from time to time – too much contrast or brightness can make your photos look too unreal. An editing app like PicTapGo is perfect because it allows you to choose how strong you want to filter to be so that you don’t go overboard.
Do you have a favourite Instagram editing app? Let me know why it’s your favourite in the comments below!
And don’t forget to pin this image so your followers can learn how to take and edit better Instagram photos too!