The days of grainy cellphone photos which look like they came from the 1980s are over. While professional photograph studios like Armanko Photography can offer high quality imagery to clients, you can create pictures that are almost as good with your cellphone. If you are looking to build your Instagram profile, having pictures which stand out in quality is arguably the most important thing.
Technology is important, but great photography is not much different from great painting or great writing. Knowledge and skills matter more than tools. Here are a few simple things to consider for how to get the perfect Instagram shot.
1. The Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is one of the most basic photographic rules. You break your planned photograph into a 3X3 panel. In fact, your phone camera probably can create a rule of thirds overlay.
The basic idea is that you do not want the subject of your photo to be in the exact center, staring ahead like a mugshot or passport photo. Instead, have them slightly misaligned so that their body or features are aligned to the left or right third of the frame. Our eyes often initially drift to the sides when we look on a picture and then move to the center later. You thus want the viewer to focus on your image’s key element as soon as possible.
2. Picking the Right Mode
In videos, it used to be that horizontal videos were seen as superior to vertical videos. But now with the rise of Snapchat and TikTok, that has changed and both formats have their time and place.
The same is true for photography. Portrait mode is a good mode for taking portraits. Portraits do not have to be of just people but can also be of still life.
The emphasis however is still. Portrait mode does not work for pictures which show things in motions, nor for pictures in low light. Burst mode is the best mode for object in motion, as you can pick which one work best for you. Above all else, make sure to experiment with the different modes on your camera, instead of just settling for one.
3. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting
Lighting is perhaps the most important thing which makes or breaks a great photo. Anyone who has ever taken a photo which is overly harsh or bright should understand this.
In general, avoid using your camera’s flash in favor of natural light. Even at night, look for ambient light like streetlamps. Ideally, you want the light of the rising or setting sun as opposed to the high afternoon sun.
Underexposure can be fixed much more easily than overexposure, and you should adjust your camera’s settings so that the exposure is at a level you like. If you are just getting started with Instagram photography, take a picture of the same thing at different times in the day. That will help show you the difference between different types of light, and get you used to what lighting you like best.
4. Watch and Learn
There are numerous guides out there on how to create the best Instagram photo. But the reality is that no guide can help you as much as practicing.
This primarily means practicing your photography. Take pictures of different subjects, different lighting, and with different settings. Figure out which photographs look the best in your opinion and try to look for commonalities between them. Perhaps your best pictures are taken in the morning light, or the evening?
But there is more that needs to be practiced as well. Instagram has plenty of additional options you can put on your photos, such as stickers and collages. While you should not overdo it, knowing when to use these additional options can make a major difference.
Today, a phone is all you need to create the best Instagram shots. With the right planning and practice, you can make great pictures which can boost your profile.