How to Instagram like a pro

Category: Photography

Ever wondered why your Instagram feed never lives up to your own expectations? What follows is a list of tips that will help you get the results you have always wanted. Want to know how to Instagram like a pro then read on.

Whenever you attempt to capture the beauty of an object in front of you, the camera lens will produce a different result from what you see in your head. To avoid this as any beginner must gain an understanding of basic photography rules that have been honed over generations. This is a mistake I made when starting out, thinking that following my gut feelings will lead to great results without practice.

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Let me start with rules that may seem obvious, but I see broken time and again by beginners:

1. Good lighting is everything. For best results shoot near the window or outside, for consistency. Mornings are the best for photography, so are late afternoons. I was advised to do so by such Instagramers as Hannah ArgyleEmily Quinton, and Cristina Colli.

Pro tip: Make best of the daylight and shoot near a window. But if it is not an option then you can use daylight bulb.

2. To achieve a harmonious look, use the same filter and plan your images.

Pro tip: Use apps that allow you to see how your gallery will look before posting an image online. I use UNIM, great app and it is free. (Mosaico does a similar job, but you have to pay for it. It was recommended to me by Emily Quinton, but I haven’t tried it yet.) In the past VSCO had a feed arranging feature, but it was removed a couple months ago.

3. People use social media and Instagram particular to escape reality. Help them do this by having happy pictures (people with smiles, cute objects etc..) and you will succeed.

4. Post regularly, at least once a day. I know this is a hard one, but this is what will make the most difference in getting you thousands of followers.

Pro tip: Unfortunately Instagram does not allow you to schedule image updates, but apps like buffer will allow you to set a reminder to post.

5. Use appropriate Hashtags. Not all hashtags work, so make sure that you monitor which get the best response and optimise your future posts.

Pro tip: Use keywords related to your story and make sure that the hashtags that you use are not dead. The key trick is to rank high on a hashtag in order to be included in “top posts” – a grid of 9 images. If your image gets past 100 likes shortly after it is posted you have a chance of being selected. The more likes you have the higher your chances. For popular hashtags like #flower we are talking about getting past 1000 likes really quickly.

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Now that we are done with the basics let’s turn attention to photo editing. It is hard to get by without it as people expect perfect images, but ones that are not over-edited.

6. Instagram filters are not enough. So learn how to edit your snaps like a pro.

Pro tip: Editing works better for me then filters as it gives me full control of my photographic style. Think of editing as a way of expressing yourself not faking a glamorous life. Use Lightroom app to fix lighting issues and color balance. PhotoshopMix will come handy when you need to remove unwanted objects from a photo. Both apps are free and easy to use. (If you find them too hard then you can try PicTapGo.)

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7. Make sure that lighting is consistent and realistic  in your gallery. No one loves images that are too blue or too yellow.

Pro tip: If your image is yellow, adjust a temperature of the image and make it a little bluer. Do the opposite for blue images.

8. White images do better on Instagram.

Pro tip: Increase exposure when taking your image or with the Lightroom app.

9. For colour splash, enhance the saturation when editing.

Pro tip: this is also something that you can fix in Lightroom app.

10. Do not overuse filters. Top Instagram accounts use crisp and clear images, so stay away from filter overload.

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Now let’s turn our attention to styling.

11. Experiment!

Pro tip: Try different angles, move the subject off to the side instead of placing it directly in the center, add props. This is especially important when you want to use an image of the same object more than once.

12. Stay focused or you need a focal point. You don’t want a viewer to be confused and not to know where to look. Make sure that main object is in focus and the image itself is not cluttered.

13. Make good use of negative space. You know all those images with a white background are just more inviting.

Pro tip: Negative space is the area between and around objects in a photo. With white background images, we are talking about white areas.

14. Make the best out of your flat lays.

Pro tip: Give some serious space to your flat lays. Set up your arrangement on the floor or any other large surface. Table tops can be tricky as you will need a tall ladder to get your camera above it. Top bloggers are known for restaurant acrobatics, like climbing chairs or even tables themselves.

15. Fake it. Your wooden table top can be just boards placed together. You can also design your own background no need to depend on your wall colour.

Pro tip: A guide to great background can be found on Cristina Colli’s website. You can also read more about faking images on Lovely drawer’s blog.

Now it is time to go and practice. Be prepared that great results will not happen overnight. Followers do not multiply in seconds, but rest reassured that your hard work will pay off in the end. Just do not forget to stay connected on Instagram: reply back to messages and like other people’s images when you really like them. Is all you need to in order to Instagram like a Pro.

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