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!


My camera, the Canon G12

#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.

Don’t do it!

#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.

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Comments (66)

  1. Agree to be a top instagrammer there is so much to do. Great tips! We usually just post what we capture and have never thought of these tips, may be its time to work on these. 🙂

  2. Super informative post, and really relevant today. Thanks so much for sharing your tips and tricks! 🙂 Really love your blog’s layout as well.

  3. wanderingwagarschristina

    Great tips! For me, I definitely have to take loads of pictures with the hope that at least one of two will be good enough for Instagram.

  4. These are great tips, and funny too:) I’m always horrible at dressing the part – esp since most of my photos are camping hahah. But this is great motivation to get my act together😛

  5. travelerettenyc

    Thanks for these tips. I’m not a great photographer–my passion is writing–but I’m trying to learn. I am glad to know that most of your photos don’t come out right either. It will encourage me to just take more pictures!

  6. Great tips shared! Instagram plays an important role for any travel bloggers to expand their audience!

  7. Thanks for numerous tips! I only took lots and lots of photos and most of the time got lazy to curate, then I’ll only get back when I’m back in my mood. Sometimes I think I need focus just to uplift my IG game.

  8. Those are some excellent tips… and your photos look amazing.
    I would like to add one more tip for Instagrammer: Create a mise en scene in your photo, make it become narrative, put some story in it. People will want to jump in it.

  9. Thank you so much for your tips! I love instagram and I like posting there, but I don’t have that much growth 🙁
    I will now follow your suggestions and share them with my followers

  10. Great tips you’ve shared! So agree on the instagram camera! It’s like it was made to make your phone camera ten times worse! I do try to use my dslr for pics, but the phone rules for quick, in the moment, instagram updates.

  11. Great ideas and tips you have provided here in this post. IG presence is definitely important for Travel Bloggers these days and such a post is very useful for many of us. Thanks for this

  12. Wonderful round up of ideas to take better changes.Many of them are very practical and sensible. The rule of thirds is one of the most important of course.

  13. […] the plunge and go all-in, some specialize in destination weddings while others take wildlife shots, some even get their start on Instagram!. There’s no one way to get into this field, but each path is awesome in its own […]

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