Tech Tips & Tricks

Up Your InstaGame: 20 Tips for Better Photos

August 10, 2016

#7 Angles, angles, angles!

Play around with how you take your photos. Take them from up high. Take them from down low. Look for interesting formations within your subject. Think of things from a different perspective. You’d be surprised to see what you can come up with, and some of your images might just be so visually compelling that they’ll get thousands and thousands of likes! After all, that is the end goal here!

#8 Framing the photo

There’s a lot of great photos out there that use elements in the scene to frame the rest of the photo. Try using a tree or hedge to bound one side of your shot, or shoot through a doorway or arch! Pillars, corridors, bookshelves, railings, stairways: they all work great as borders. Oftentimes, you’ll get a super fun image from a whole different perspective!

Related: Check out these awesome travel Instagrammers

#9 Editing

They say that editing is half of the photo. I don’t know who “they” are, or even if “they” say that, but “they” are right! Editing might just be the hardest part of taking photos because after your exotic vacation, you have to plop your derriere down on a wheelie chair and sift through hundreds of photos, many of them almost identical and, if you’re like me, most completely unusable. But editing is also where the magic happens. I love using the completely underrated Windows Photos program to make minor adjustments to my shots. It’s great for adding filters and changing the brightness and colour settings, and I can really see the difference between my cheating edited photos and my trash original ones. For bigger booboos, my go-to is Photoshop. I’ve masted the lasso tool, the magic wand, the clone stamp, the right click, and essentially nothing else, but it works wonders at replacing photobombers with a whole lot of nothing. Pro tip: sometimes, you can also fool around with the clone stamp to end up with magical little gems like this!


Inspired by/practically copied from a classmate from 9th grade art class. You know who you are, so thanks, you! Don’t blame me if you get nightmares.

I’ve also heard that VSCO and Snapseed are particularly good for editing photos, but haven’t personally tried them because I never edit my photos on my phone and I’m waay too cheap to purchase filters on an app.

#10 Rule of thirds

This is something that I swear by. It’s a really handy tip, especially for beginning photographers, that tells you to put the most interesting elements of your photo at power points, the intersections of the lines, and to put any natural lines in your composition along the thirds lines as well.

Of course, you’ll find amazing photos that break this rule as well, but if you’re a beginner, or pressed for time, this will generally give you a reliably good shot. Most camera and phone screens have a built in thirds line feature, if you’d like to turn that on.

#11 Foreground, fiveground, sixground

If you want a photo that has a lot of depth, use the elements in your composition to your advantage by creating a foreground, midground, and background. For(e) example, you could take a photo of a friend (foreground) standing in front of some hills (midground) with a nice blue sky (background). Photos with more depth tend to look more interesting.

#12 Avoid grossness

Do you think your photo looks gross? You know that feeling: the “ew, something isn’t right about this photo, it makes me feel uncomfortable” feeling. If you answered yes to that question, that’s probably because your photo is gross. Usually, photos are gross for two reasons: 1. They are not tinted right and 2. The lens you were shooting out of was dirty. For those reasons, make sure to play around with the colours on your editor, to avoid making your photos gross, and wipe your lens before taking photos to get the sharpest, cleanest, crispest image you could possibly get.

Related: Need travel inspiration?

#13 FOOD!

You and your travel buddy are sitting down to a hard earned hearty supper after a long day of exploring. Your buddy’s just about to dig in when you whip out your phone. “Wait!” you cry. “What?” he asks, startled. “Let me take a photo of it first!” He facepalms as you proceed to take hundreds of barely usable photos of his dinner.

It’s really hard to take good food photos. The most delicious shades of burnt sienna, ochre, and caramel will all turn to uniform brown beneath the judgmental eyes of your phone. But only you can prevent forest fires uniform brownness. Choose the most colourful plates to memorialize in your IG feed. Turn up the brightness and the saturation. Shoot from right above the plate, or at the same level as it. And for heaven’s sake, do it during daylight hours!

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  • Reply gobeyondbounds August 14, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    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. 🙂

  • Reply piernirandara August 14, 2016 at 5:22 pm

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

  • Reply wanderingwagarschristina August 14, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    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.

  • Reply Tae August 14, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    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😛

  • Reply travelerettenyc August 14, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    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!

  • Reply Anamika Ojha August 14, 2016 at 10:15 pm

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

  • Reply Blair Villanueva (@BlairVillanueva) August 15, 2016 at 4:41 am

    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.

  • Reply Veronica August 15, 2016 at 9:23 am

    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.

  • Reply polly674 August 15, 2016 at 10:04 am

    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

  • Reply Alina Popescu August 15, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    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.

  • Reply Tamz August 15, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    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

  • Reply Vyjay August 17, 2016 at 3:49 am

    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.

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