Instagram: For some of us, it’s an addiction. For others, it’s a marketing tool. Either way, we can all agree that the service has revolutionized photo-sharing by giving us something that’s incredibly simple, fun to use, nostalgic, and most of all social, all wrapped up in one beloved platform. Being a photo-based platform, there are ways to get better photos with your device in your quest to gain more comments and likes. Here are a couple of tips to start off.
Straight out of the box, Instagram for Android provides you with its Advanced Camera setting. Head over to the menu/profile settings and turn it off. Your device’s standard capabilities are much better and also provide you with more versatility when it comes to getting a better photo.
The Advanced Instagram Camera can make composition easier for you. It can also eliminate the need for cropping your image afterward if you know exactly what you want. But just like in real photography, there is no reason to limit yourself if you want to change your creative vision later.
Android Users: Experiment with exposure
Most Android devices have exposure control settings. Users can control variables like contrast, exposure compensation, ISO, white balance, and more. Playing with these settings can help you to get better results before you apply Instagram’s filters. Let’s run through this quickly:
- Contrast: How much of a difference there is between the bright and dark areas. The more contrast, the greater a difference. It also greatly affects colors.
- Exposure compensation: Telling the camera to make the overall exposure brighter or darker.
- ISO: How sensitive the camera will be to light. It’s a good idea to usually just leave this in the Auto setting. However, if you’re taking photos of your dog, baby, or another squirmy subject that just won’t stay still, feel free to raise this up to ISO 800 or 1600.
- White balance: This changes the overall color rendition of the image without making it look monochrome or Sepia.
iPhone Users: Lock it up
- Touch the screen to focus on a subject; you’ll see the blue box show up when you tap, and then hold for a second. This will lock the focus and exposure.
- Recompose the image, if need be.
- If needed, also provide a bit of fill flash.
Sometimes, a flash can provide light that is too harsh. Try putting a tissue over the light so you don’t blow out all of the lovely natural colors on your sushi plate (just a hunch).
Get creative with Instagram’s arsenal
Photography, for artists, casual users, and just about everyone in-between is all about falling in love just a little bit every day with each picture we take. With that said, you can make your images better by experimenting with all that Instagram gives you. For example, some filters are more versatile than others, but there are certain ones that were meant for specific shades of light or that look best with their included borders.
Want to make your images look like they weren’t taken with a phone? Compose your scene so that it can possibly have some sense of depth, and then apply the tilt/shift filter accordingly.
It happens to the best of us: Sometimes, we can’t help but share those hilarious text or Twitter exchanges with our dear Instagram followers. But adding that Walden filter to it is a bit unnecessary – meaning, don’t do it. This just isn’t the place to share those text-moments, head over to Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr for that. And if the moment is too good not to post to Instagram, it is also well worth #nofilter.
The personal touch
Go ahead and use some hashtags, just don’t make a habit out of listing every possible topic for a photo. No more than two or three are ever really necessary – you don’t want to be that person (see if you can spot which of the examples below completely overuses hashtags while also failing to add a caption that sounds even remotely human). Also, be sure to act like a real person; interact with other users genuinely, like you would in real life, and don’t pretend to be something you’re not (it’s okay to just take pictures of your cat or your food, just don’t wax philosophically in the comments about your artistic eye).