There is no rulebook on how to be a good instagrammer. To make things even more ambiguous, instagrammers rarely share what they are doing behind the scenes to create their successful accounts. You can tell their photos look good, but you don’t know why. Well, here’s a peek behind the curtain into what they are doing! This is the first in my series of Instagram secrets that I am calling “Instagram 101”.
1. Clean your lens
This is super basic, but so important! We carry our phones everywhere: we throw them in messy bags and carry them in dirty pockets. Worst yet, we let our kids use them! They inevitably get smudges on both camera lenses (front and back) and these smudges can make a big difference in your picture. A quick “ha ha” of hot breath on the lens and a wipe with a soft cotton material (I usually wipe it on whatever I’m wearing) and you’re good to go. Notice in the pictures below how the top photo with the dirty lens is blurry and has duller colours compared to the picture below that is crisper and brighter. I have not edited these photos at all, the only difference is that I cleaned the screen in between shots.
2. Focus your picture
- I recommend always taking photos with your camera app that came with your phone (i.e.: not in Instagram). This way you have more than one chance to take a good picture and you can even take multiple photos (which I also recommend doing) so you have options to choose from when you go to upload an image.
- If your phone gives you the option (most do) take your photo using the square screen option. This will allow you to frame your photo more accurately and you won’t need to crop it when you upload it into Instagram.
- Be sure to photograph in natural light whenever possible. This means turning off the lights when you are inside during the day if there is enough natural light to work with. Overhead lighting will only cause unwanted shadows in your photo. It could also make your picture overexposed.
- While in camera mode, touch the image on your screen to focus the picture. You should see the camera refocus to where you have touched the screen. Touch an individual item in the picture to focus on that particular item.
- If you touch an item in the foreground, the background will the be less in focus. If you touch an item in the background, it will make the foreground of your image less in focus.
To darken your image, touch a light part of your image. Likewise to lighten your image, touch a darker part of your image.
It is helpful to play around with these options and take photos where you have focused on different parts of the image to see what works out best. To reset the camera’s focus, try touching a different part of the screen, or (better yet) briefly focus the camera away from your subject and then bring it back.
3. Ready, set, go!
When you are ready to take your photo don’t rush things. Focus your photo, hold your phone very still, and wait just a moment after you’ve taken your photo to ensure you’ve not moved while taking it (as this will make the photo blurry). As mentioned above, take multiple photos. When you go back to look at the photos in your camera roll, favourite the photos you like best (this is a heart at the bottom of the photo on an iPhone).
This way when you go to upload your photo, you don’t accidentally upload a subpar version. Choose the photo directly from your “favourites” album (most phones add this album automatically). You can then delete the photos you haven’t favourited.
I will be back soon with a tutorial on how to edit your photos, so stay tuned! Also, be sure to follow me on IG as I plan to do a few Instagram Live tutorials to go over information from this series! Whoop!
I hope this has been helpful! Comment below with any questions about the above and I am happy to answer them. I would also love to hear suggestions for future topics in this series. For inquiries regarding one-on-one Instagram help, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I offer everything from email consultation, to full monthly management of your account.
Lots of love,