#14 Solo travel photos

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The Gorillapod Hybrid by Joby

Yeesh, these are the most time consuming because you aren’t behind the camera! The experts out there suggest for us to find the perfect manual setting for the scene and hand our cameras over to unsuspecting victims to our zeal for travel fellow travellers and locals, but really, for us noobs who can’t use the manual settings on our dinky point and shoots (ain’t nobody got time to learn that!), we need a better option. Hence, I present to you, the lowly Gorillapod.

Well, really, it isn’t that lowly. Unless you got one cheap from Chinese Amazon (I fully did not do that). But I’m a huge fan of the Gorillapod because of how versatile it is. You can turn almost anything into a tripod just by wrapping a Gorillapod around it. Find a good angle, set your camera on continuous shooting mode, and snap away. Make sure to change up your posture, facial expression, and actions, and repeat this at least twice so that you can adjust the focus, brightness, and angle after the first time around.

#15 Obligatory sunrise/sunset pics

Sunrises and sunsets are undoubtedly some of the easiest good photos that anybody can take. By the time I hold my camera up to the scene, 95% of the work has already been done for me, in the form of lighting, framing, and colour. Sunrises and sunsets on different days and in different places give off a wide variety of colours, from blazing orange and red to pale pinks and purples. Adding an extra bit of saturation and contrast while editing can turn your sunset/sunrise photo from good to excellent.

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Navy Pier, Chicago

#16 When one uploads to Instagram

When uploading to Instagram, there are a few things to consider. First of all, to crop or not to crop? Landscape orientation photos, I find, typically get fewer likes than square and portrait orientation photos because in an attempt to squash all of your images within the width constraints of your phone, Instagram will often make your landscape photos teeny tiny. I like posting square and portrait photos for that reason, as they fill up the screen.

If your account isn’t private, use hashtags. I suggest using 10-12 to get good exposure while at the same time making sure that your caption isn’t a bleeding mess. Write a genuinely engaging caption. Questions (e.g. Have you ever been to ___? What are some of your favourite ____?) are really good at prompting total strangers to comment on your post with their opinions, but if your brain is totally fried and you can’t think of anything, Google a travel quote and stick it in. Hey, it’s better than nothing!

One feature that I really love about Instagram is its Lux feature. Almost all of the time, turning up the Lux on your photo to 50 will make it look so much better. For those of you who haven’t used it before, click the black and white sun on the top of the editing screen to access it.

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#17 Overall feed appearance

Make sure to return periodically to your account to see how it looks overall. Sometimes, even after uploading, some photos need to be tweaked or deleted to make your account seem more cohesive. Try to determine if your feed is lacking in one particular type of photo, or if your future photos need to be heavy in one colour, angle, or brightness. This will give you a better idea when you’re shooting in the field of what you want or need to capture.

#18 Do your research

Before I go to a new place, I’ll figure out where to take the best photos. I’ll start with Google Images, to find a map of the area as well as overdone yet still enduring classic photos that I might want to take. Next, I’ll locate the area on Instagram, either through a tag or through the map, and see what crazy things the rest of the Instagram community has been up to at that location. Finally, once I get there, I’ll ask a local or two where they’d recommend I take some photos. They’re usually very obliging and nice and will point me to an angle or view I would have never thought of.

#19 Is it likes that you’re after?

Three years ago, Curalate wanted to find out what kind of photos got more likes on Instagram (we can only guess this was because their account wasn’t doing so well), so they pored through millions of photos to figure out what they were doing right.

In short, they found that brighter photos, photos with more background, photos with a single dominant hue, bluer photos, photos with low saturation, and more textured photos generated more engagement. (They also found that duckface selfies generated more than 10 times the likes than normal selfies, so I really don’t know what to believe here)

View the full results here.

#20 Don’t worry, the photos are worth the judgement

Really, they are! I can’t tell you how many times my friends have posted embarrassing photos of me, hunched over, crouching on the ground in the Chinese farmer squat position, holding a camera in one hand while wildly gesticulating with the other, my brow scrunched up in concentration and my tongue between my teeth. There will be times when your quest for Instagram fame will earn you the stares, chuckles, and indulgent smiles of strangers. But just remember, at the end of the day, they won’t have as many nice photos of the world as you will.

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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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