The Social Slot: Top Tips For Taking Better Instagram Photos

Instagram is the fastest growing social network, and one that provides a more visual and aspirational outlook for both bloggers and brands. The photo sharing platform offers a different way to digest information, providing followers with a simplistic visual peek into your world when words just aren’t enough. Although I was massively late to the Instagram party, it’s now one of my favourite places to waste a train journey or ten minutes while waiting for the kettle to boil; I’ve discovered amazing brands, fabulous bloggers and artists I never knew existed, just via the scroll of my home screen. Although some have seen meteoric rises to fame (who knew an Instagram celebrity was a thing until 2015?) for most of us it’s just a way to provide a little insight into what we get up to – from the cake we eat, to the places we visit and those all important selfies. But how can you make sure your photos are aspirational, interesting and engaging enough to warrant a ‘like’? Here are some of my top tips for taking better instagram photos that don’t require anything other than an extra thirty seconds.

1. Composition
The key to any great photo is in the set-up. You don’t have to have an incredible backdrop or a perfectly poised spread, but understanding the best angles could work wonders. I always try to take my images face on or using the ‘birds eye view’ approach, as this ensures they look as natural as possible; there are no odd angles or misrepresentations, just a clear and simple snap. It drives me mad when I see premium brands snapping pictures at distorted angles, as it not only makes them look cheap but prevents a true reflection of what they’re selling. Take the time to get the perfect angle and take lots of photos so you can pick that perfect shot.
Here’s an example of what I mean.

2. Backdrop
Having a great background, even if it’s a plain white piece of card, can help set the mood and ensure the focus of the picture stands out. I love finding interesting textures or fun things around the house to lay out products on, or even when I’m in a bar an interesting table can mean the difference between an ok shot and a great one. Don’t just snap your coffee where it is, move it about until you can take a gret shot of it against a wooden table; if you’re taking pictures of your new lipstick, place it on top of a magazine to make the result more interesting. Magazine pages are a great photography tool, as they add texture without overwhelming the picture.
Here’s an example of what I mean.

3. Lighting 
I’m a big fan of using natural light as much as I can, as it ensures the colour and texture of items is a true reflection of what you’re seeing in front of you. Dark or dim light can wash away the detailing or colour of photos, so if you can move to stand next to a natural light source then you’re half way there to creating a great shot. If you can’t then try to make the most of lamps, moving them into a location that helps to light the area on which you’re focusing on… However, if the worst comes to the worst then the ‘brighten’ feature on Instagram is a great way of faking natural light by adding an influx of brightness. It’s definitely my secret weapon.
Here’s an example of what I mean.

4. Crop & Chop 
Sometime cropping off the edges of your images can make them ten times more exciting. You may only need to see a fraction of your coffee to know what it is, or a small portion of the huge bunch of flowers in your living room to set the scene. Often a small section of what’s in the frame is enough to set you up with a winning picture, so don’t be afraid to zoom in and chop off the edges for a more modern approach. This is one of the tricks bloggers use to make everything they do look ruddy awesome, even if it’s just tea and cake with their Nan. Try it and see how much better your snaps look. 
Here’s an example of what I mean.

5. Filter 
The main reason we all love Instagram so much is because of the filters it offers us. You can take a dull London skyline and add a touch of vintage to it, immediately rendering it lustworthy. Or that selfie that makes your hungover skin look like hungover skin? Add a black and white filter and you’re instantly channeling your inner vixen. Utilise filters to enhance your photos and bring out the colours, tones and textures in the right way – but don’t use them without really looking at the impact they have. Many filters wash out colour and remove detail, meaning you’re left with a soulless picture that really doesn’t convey what you want. Sometimes it’s best just to give the shot a little edit (brighten, sharpen, add contrast) and leave the filter until next time.
Here’s an example of what I mean.

Do you have any top tips for taking better Instagram photos? Do you have any favourite accounts to follow that you think I need to know about? Share in the comments below!

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  1. Kiss & Make-up
    April 19, 2015 / 10:16 am

    Filters are a godsend, lol 🙂 They can make even the plainest picture look stunning.

  2. Pintsizedbeauty
    April 19, 2015 / 10:16 am

    I really want to improve my instagram and update regularly, but it is something that I can't really get into. I definitely will be using some of these tips

  3. Sheree Milli
    April 19, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    great tips – i need them. my insta-game is weak.Sheree xx

  4. Saloca
    April 19, 2015 / 8:35 pm

    Great tips. Though the Insta filters are great, but I love playing around with the settings myself! Sarah :)Saloca in Wonderland

  5. Lena
    April 19, 2015 / 9:07 pm

    My mum and I are so funny when we go out for coffee, always rearranging the table to get the ideal instagram shot!

  6. Catherine Sayer
    April 19, 2015 / 9:10 pm

    I definitely think a pretty Instagram is great publicity for your blog! I love Afterlight and VSCO Cam to edit x

  7. Jess
    April 20, 2015 / 12:38 am

    Great tips! I will taking note of these and will try them out. I will surely enjoy doing this.

  8. Katherine L
    April 20, 2015 / 12:48 am

    I have an old scratched up desk, and my IG's weren't looking the greatest. I was at Home Depot one day, and found that you can buy small tile pieces for really cheap. I grabbed a few, and lay them down under the products I want to take, and the marble titles make the pics look a million times better! -Katherine

  9. Elisabeth Hayes
    April 20, 2015 / 2:04 am

    Great tips, thank you for posting!xo, Liz

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