How To Get The Perfect Photo For Instagram

Even if you are shooting with a smartphone, you can still take great photos for your Instagram. In the digital age, we have the ability to take multiple shots quickly, so use it to your advantage. You can shoot different angles, put the subject in different parts of your frame, or use parts of the environment to add to your photo. 

The makeup of your photograph is referred to as composition. Using different compositional techniques throughout your Instagram page will make it look more professional and interesting to viewers.

A common compositional technique is putting your subject in the left or right third of your frame. This avoids having every picture feature a centered subject. Try getting a lower or higher angle shot: a view that is not necessarily one that everyone sees. This will set your photos apart from others because most people take pictures at eye-level.  

The environment of a photograph is often an opportunity to enhance the image. Look for lines on the ground or in architecture and try placing your subject at a place where the lines converge. These lines will lead your eye into the photograph, which is why they are referred to as leading lines. Framing is another common compositional technique. It is creating a frame within the frame of your photograph. Good examples are doorways, windows or trees.

Another improvement to photographs is good lighting. The “golden hours” are immediately after sunrise and a couple of hours after sunset. The lighting during these hours is less harsh and gives a better tone to the skin. The lighting during the afternoon is harsh and creates shadows on the face which detract from the image. Good lighting extends to shots other than portraiture. The color of the sky will appear bluer instead of washed out. Taking pictures outside and during these times also eliminates the need to use flash. Flash has the tendency to make an image seem unnatural and creates shadows.

If you have a camera, there are a couple ways to instantly make your photographs look more professional. If you take a picture with a low number aperture (1.8-3.5), the background will be blurry and will focus solely on the subject. This technique is good for portraits or single subject photos in which the background does not add to the picture. 

Also, learn how to use shutter speed to your advantage. A high shutter speed can freeze action, (useful in sports photography), and slower speeds blur motion. Most people shy away from blur, but sometimes blur can be an editorial decision that adds to your image. If you decide to use a slower shutter speed, you should use a tripod (which will keep inanimate objects from blurring) and avoid situations with a lot of light. Slow shutter speeds essentially take longer pictures which let in more light while blurring motion. Good pictures of cityscapes at night can be taken with this technique. Most importantly, read your camera manual and understand what its capabilities are. The best photographs are not taken on auto! 


Author: Abby Shoyat, Undergraduate Consultant

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