I’m absolutely not an expert on instagram but I know a thing or two about photography by now 😉 Here are my tips to step up your instagram game!
1-RULE #1 FUCK THE RULES!
A lot of people have opinions on what others should or should not be allowed to do with their images. “You shouldn’t post pictures of your dog”, “You should only use your phone camera not a real camera”, “you shouldn’t use filters” or “That’s cheating!” I heard this last sentence a million times since I started doing photography and I still cringe every time I hear it . If anybody ever tells you that, PLEASE, kindly invite them to go fuck themselves! Unless you are a photojournalist and your purpose is to document reality than there is no such thing as cheating(or rules) in creativity, you are fully allowed to do whatever you want with your pictures, they are YOURS, they came from your thoughts,your mind, your eyes! If someone tells you otherwise they are most likely burning of jealousy because they can’t figure out how to create the same thing 😏 so don’t waste your energy on stupid opinion and always keep in mind that in the end…it’s just instagram, have fun with it!
If you have a public profile probably you are interested in your images to be seen by more than just your mom and BFF so think a bit about your narrative. Who are you? What’s your life like? what are you passionate about? what do you want to share with the world and above all…why?
For exemple: I’m an artist, potographer and writer traveling the world chasing beauty. I am very passionate about travel, people, creativity and well being and I want to share my work and my adventures with the world to inspire others to live out their dreams. My instagram reflects all that (I hope!).
3- BE AUTHENTIC AND SOMEWHAT CONSISTENT
Whatever your purpose, I think it’s very important to post material that is always true to yourself and consistent with your narrative. This gets a bit more complicated once your instagram becomes more of a business tool and sponsors are involved, but even in this case, keep it authentic and don’t work with people that don’t reflect your ideals and lifestyle. Your integrity is more valuable than money or free stuff! Whatever the case though, let’s put it this way: If you are a hardcore unshakable vegan you don’t want to post pics of a meat feast!
4- GET CREATIVE / EXPERIMENT
Because you can make up your own rules the sky is the limit. Learn to see things differently. Take inspiration here and there but then go out and do your own thing. You are the only You and that’s your best asset ever! Think outside the box(I know, I know, you heard that enough already!), experiment with different subjects, lighting, angles, frames, weather conditions, colors, places, moods, styles etc etc. Find what works best for you and than repeat it differently every time! Learn to see with your eyes first and only then pic up your camera or phone.
5- GO OUT OF YOUR WAY
In photography—like in anything else in life—you can’t expect to sit on your ass and have amazing results. If you want to take cool, unique pictures you have to work for it! Spend time exploring your surroundings and find unusual locations. Get up before the sun rises to take advantage of the beautiful light and avoid annoying hordes of turists/people. Climb on chairs, balconies, roofs or do whatever it takes(be safe though!) to get a good angle. Pick a location and wait until the right situation presents itself. Put a little effort into styling or composing a food or product pic.
Example: to get the pic on the left I sat on the edge of my balcony on the 6th floor of an East Village building and waited until a cab passed by. To get the one on the right I got up at 4.30AM to get on the BK bridge before the city woke up to have a clear frame.
6- SHOOT A LOT
Take a lot of photos of a lot of different things within your narrative, your eye needs as much training as your muscles. That doesn’t mean you will post everything you shoot though. I try to only post the best of the best, quality over quantity is always a good model to follow!
Hey we are all guilty of that! One occasional selfie won’t kill you but a self portrait is much classier and much more interesting than a shallow selfie. Set out a timer and run away from the camera/phone or set the image up and have a friend or someone push the button for you (Yes, if you thought/set/designed/framed the picture it’s still a self portrait. Simply pushing a button doesn’t make someone a photographer!)
8- USE EDITING TOOLS
Make your pics prettier! I am not a big fan of the filters instagram offers and I am quite a control freak with my pics so I do all my tweaking with lightroom, photoshop or editing apps. There are a ton of them, among my favorites: VSCO Cam, Lens Distorion, Snapseed and Afterlight. Try to not overuse filters, there’s something incredibly tacky in an over processed image, but if that’s your thing, hey, who am I ti judge! 😜
9- GOOD LIGHTING (duh!)
Good lighting makes a massive difference between a beautiful and a shitty shot. Try and take a pic of your amazing looking food in a dingy bar with no windows…not so good looking after-all uh? Now take that food outside and try again…BIG difference! Lighting is key to good photography, sunrise and sunset have the most magical light you’ll get all day. I am a die-hard fan of natural light but many instagrammers get really cool and original results by experimenting with different light sources (neon signs, candles, lasers, low light exposures etc etc).
Ok, technically this is not a tip on how to TAKE a good pic but I think it’s a fundamental part of your instagram pic taking anyway! Storytelling is and always has been a very important part of mankind and it’s the most important part and kind of the whole point of instagram. You are already telling a story with your pictures but if you can add a beautiful caption you can enhance the beauty of your story even more!
That’s all I got for now, as you can see I didn’t put much emphasis on the technicality of taking pictures. That’s because I believe the most important tools we need to take beautiful images are our vision, our ideas, our eyes and most importantly our heart!