5 tips to take your Instagram photos to the next level

In today’s world of instant communication, consumers are bombarded with thousands of ads a day. If you want to cut through the noise, you need to produce high-quality, eye-catching content.

Luckily, thanks to today’s high-tech smartphones and cameras, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to snap professional-quality photos. Here are five easy tips to captivate your audience.

1-Use natural light whenever possible

Using natural light is key, because it results in images with better resolution. Place your subject near a window or in a room with lots of natural light and turn off any artificial light sources. Try not to backlight your subject, and don’t use the camera flash. Otherwise, when you change your photo settings, your shot will come out badly pixelated. It’s also a good idea to avoid sharp contrasts of light and shadow.

2-Choose the right angle

Instagram users are tired of seeing the same generic photos pop up on their feeds over and over again (e.g., a hand holding a Starbucks cup next to a steering wheel—sound familiar?). With so many people and companies vying for consumers’ attention, creativity is key. Try using a unique angle and focusing on a detail in the frame to stand out from the crowd.

And don’t forget to keep your photos aligned: make sure the horizon in your photo isn’t crooked, or your shot could look less than professional. Pro tip: turn on your camera’s grid. It will help you line up the camera with your subject and take nice straight photos! Once you’ve got your shot, you can crop and realign to your heart’s content.

3-Take multiple photos

Don’t be afraid to take dozens of photos! Once you’re done shooting, you can sort through your photos and choose the one that best conveys your message. Most cameras and smartphones have a burst mode that takes multiple photos in quick succession. This is a great feature when your subject is a person, because people tend to freeze in front of the camera. Burst mode lets you take the time to distract your subject so they can relax and you can get a truly candid photo.

4-Don’t go filter-crazy

When you’re editing your photos, keep it natural—turquoise skies aren’t very common in the real world, so use filters responsibly! Of course, nothing’s stopping you from adjusting the brightness, playing with the colour temperature, sharpening your images or adjusting the grain to keep your images on brand. There are also many applications available for purchase or free download that can help you achieve the look you’re going for (VSCO, Snapseed, Lightroom, etc.).

5-Plan ahead

Your Instagram posts help define your brand’s visual personality. This is why it’s important to put together an inspiring moodboard to set the tone for your content before you start posting. Deciding on a clear direction and setting precise, detailed guidelines right off the bat saves you time in the future and helps give your Instagram page a cohesive look—when in doubt, you can always refer back to your moodboard. Tools like UNUM and Sked can also help you visually plan out your content. Mejuri, David’s Tea, Novatech and Stokes are good examples of accounts with a clear visual identity.

Now that you’ve got the basics down, you’re ready to nail your own Instagram photos. Have fun creating!

By Marie-Lee Cotton @mleecotton