How to Take Amazing Photos for Instagram

How to Take Amazing Photos for Instagram

Taking amazing photos is something that requires practice, something of a creative eye and a bit of luck. We’re not going to be able to cover the entire topic here but we can nevertheless provide a few tips that will help.

For starters then, make sure that you always think about your foreground, your middle ground and your background. Think about your composition as well in terms of where the ‘subject’ (focus) of your photo is and what the background is like around this point. From there, try mixing things up and making it more interesting.

‘Interesting’ is the important word here because often a lot of pictures simply are not interesting. The front-on shot of that person, smiling awkwardly, evokes no emotion and isn’t particularly flattering.

What could you do to make that picture look more interesting? You can also get lower down and take the shot from underneath in order to make the person look bigger and to create even more of a sense of scale.

To do this, you might decide to add something in the foreground and keep it out of focus – how about a leaf on a tree? Having something lead into the background from the foreground is another great way to create depth and scale – such as a garden path.
Instead of having the person looking at the camera, why not have them gazing whistfully into the distance?

You can also have them doing something more interesting and perhaps interacting with the environment – they could be leaning against a tree for instance, or they could have a leg up on a rock. Blurring out the background is also an option and you can do this by zooming in on your subject and then focusing on them – some cameras have a function called ‘macros’ especially for this, while phone cameras will often let you double tap on the item you want to focus in on.

While taking these photos, you also need to think about the lighting. Lighting is something that amateur photographers will often forget but it makes a huge difference and can make a picture much more flattering (or less so) for the person in it. Aim for ‘Rembrandt lighting’ which means you’ll be lighting the photo from the side so that half of the person’s face is lit.

This creates more dynamic and interesting shadows. Always avoid having the light source behind the subject as this creates glare – the exception is when you’re purposefully creating a silhouette effect or a glare effect.

When you’re taking photos of your activities, try to find items that tell a bigger story. If you want to tell the story of a party, then often you can do this with a half empty glass of wine with some lipstick on it and perhaps the innards of a party popper. Want to evoke the feeling of working into the night?

Instead of taking a photo of you working into the night, how about a photo of your keyboard next to a mug of coffee, lit by desklamp spotlight? These kinds of photos are far more interesting and poetic than photos that are ‘on the nose’.

While taking these photos, you also need to think about the lighting. Aim for ‘Rembrandt lighting’ which means you’ll be lighting the photo from the side so that half of the person’s face is lit.

When you’re taking photos of your activities, try to find items that tell a bigger story. Instead of taking a photo of you working into the night, how about a photo of your keyboard next to a mug of coffee, lit by desklamp spotlight?

These kinds of photos are far more interesting and poetic than photos that are ‘on the nose’.


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