So you want to become an Instagram star? I don’t blame you – Instagram now has 400 million active users and 30% of people on the internet. Every day, 80 million photos are shared, totalling over 40 billion photos over the course of Instagram’s existence. I’ve compiled a list of Instagram tips and tricks that are tried and tested. I swear by these guidelines and have used them to make Live Wanderfully a consistent and well-known brand in the Instaworld.
#1 Take lots of photos
The fact of the matter is that 99.9% of my photos are complete trash. The other 0.1% of them are partial trash, but I snap so many that I have hundreds of partial trash photos! Not all of the photos you take are going to be excellent, or even good, but if you take more of them, you’ll have a larger selection to choose from when editing. When I’m out in the field, taking travel photos, I take 4 to 5 photos of the same subject from the same place before moving on, even if the first few seem great to me then, because when I get home and upload, I almost always notice problems. Discombobulated heads seem to be my specialty. Once, I took a travel photo of me walking into the distance and picked up the camera, only to find that a jogging man in a wifebeater looked more like the subject than I did!
#2 Know thy device
One of the biggest struggles I have when taking photos is that my
one true love camera (Canon G12) doesn’t come with a wide angle lens, which means that as soon as I bring the viewfinder to my eye, the beautiful gorgeous awe inspiring landscape I was just admiring is now cut by about 50%. Different cameras have different faults. Some don’t have as much depth of field, others don’t take sharp images, and most don’t work that well at night. Knowing how and where your camera works best will help you get the best shots possible.
#3 Don’t use the Instagram camera
Instead, use your normal phone camera, a point and shoot, or a DSLR. All of these have more capabilities than the Instagram camera, which only gives you one shot (get it? I’m so funny I could be a comedian please laugh at my joke) to take a photo of an Instagram worthy moment.
#4 Stay alert for perfect photo ops
The best moments are over in seconds. When I’m travelling, I have my camera looped around my neck and on at all times (sometimes I have to go for a midday charge but it’s completely worth it) so that when I see a photo worthy moment, I’m ready to whip out my camera and snap a shot. This works particularly well when I’m in an area with a lot of people. It really captures the local flavour when I’m able to take a photo of a fruit vendor selling his goods or some schoolchildren crossing the street.
#5 Dress the part
When you’re taking travel photos of yourself, make sure you’re dressed up to take some awesome, fashion savvy photos. Dresses that look good in real life may actually look fairly frumpy in photos. I’ve discovered this the hard way, so when I think up outfits to use when I’m travelling, I always go for a test run at home first, to make sure they look as gorgeous as I imagine them to be.
#6 Be aware of the lighting
Different kinds of days have their strengths and weaknesses. Sunny days come with beautiful baby blue skies and fluffy white clouds, but also cast harsh shadows on whatever you photograph, making a building seem overly dark in comparison to the sky behind it, or giving photographees instant and intense tans. That’s why its best to take landscape shots when it’s really bright outside. Cloudy days work great at diffusing light, but your background might seem unnaturally colourless in comparison, which is why I take advantage of cloudy days for architecture, city, and closeup shots. The hours surrounding sunrise and sunset create beautifully colourful compositions, as well as coffee addicted bloggers who groggily long for the warmth and comfort of their beds. It’s best to shoot with natural light, because artificial lights will never measure up to the real deal. One last thing: it’s best to leave flash off, unless you’re going for the “washed-out drunken bush party” effect.