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Take Good Instagram Photos: Best Practices

Bronagh Loughlin | 10 Jul 2020

Mastering how to take good photos on your phone requires understanding some basic principles of composition and lighting. As well as sharpening your own instincts as a photographer. To begin your journey of taking good Instagram photos, I need to walk you through nine tips which will act as a basic guide for you. Here we go!

1. Use Natural Light To Take Good Instagram Photos

Take Good Instagram Photos

Lighting is the foundation of a good photo. Having an understanding of how the first and most important rule of capturing great photos using only your phone. So, avoid using your flash and stick to the natural lighting. This creates richer and brighter photographs. 

Flash can flatten out a photo and in return wash out your subject. If you cannot capture your pictures outdoors, take photos near windows or in well-lit rooms. Even at night, it is preferable to find sources of ambient light, such as street lights and store windows. 

2. Don’t Overexpose Your Images To Take Good Instagram Photos

Take Good Instagram Photos

You can brighten up a photo that is too dark by using editing tools. However, there is nothing that can fix a photo that is overexposed. You can prevent overexposure by adjusting the lighting on the screen. 

You can do this by tapping and sliding your finger up and down to adjust the exposure. Another method of preventing overexposure is by tapping your finger on the brightest part of the frame to adjust the lighting before snapping your photo. 

3. Shoot at the Right Time To Take Good Instagram Photos

Take Good Instagram Photos

There is a reason photographers adore golden hour. This time of day, when the sun is low on the horizon, makes every photo more beautiful. It’s nature’s Instagram filter. 

If you are shooting at midday, clouds are on your side. It is challenging to get a good shot under direct sunlight as it can be rather harsh in photos. In contrast, clouds diffuse the light from the sun, therefore, creating a softer, more flattering effect. 

4. Follow the Rule of Thirds

Take Good Instagram Photos

Composition refers to the overall arrangement of the photo: the shapes, textures, colours and various other elements that make up the photograph. The rule of thirds is one of the most well-known composition principles. The rule of thirds refers to a simple method of balancing your image. It divides an image into a 3×3 grid and aligns the subjects or objects in a photo along the grid lines to create balance. 

For example, you can centre images. You can also achieve a pleasing effect with “balanced asymmetry”, this is where the subject is off-center but balanced out by another object. Turn on the gridlines for your phone camera in settings and use them to practice aligning your photos. 

5. Consider your Viewpoint

When you go to take a picture on your phone, you probably hold it up around eye level and snap, right? You are not alone, that is how everyone does it. However, you need to resist this natural tendency if you wish to take interesting and unexpected photos. 

Taking photos from a different position will provide fresh perspectives, especially when it comes to a familiar place or subject. Try shooting from above or below, crouching low to the ground, or scaling a wall if you are feeling any way ambitious. However, do not break your leg in pursuit of the perfect shot, but challenge yourself to see things from a new perspective. 

6. Frame your Subject

Leaving space around the focal point of your photo can add more visual interest than zooming in. Sometimes you get a surprising detail that makes the photo even better. Unlike a camera with an adjustable lens, your phone camera “zooms in” by shrinking your field of view. In effect, you are just pre-cropping your image. 

This can limit your options for editing later and you may miss interesting details so avoid doing it. Instead, just tap your photo subject or focal point to focus the camera. If you want to give yourself even more options, you could always buy an external lens that fits on your phone. 

7. Draw the Viewer’s Eye

In photography, “leading lines” are lines that run through your image that draw the eye and add depth. These could be roads, building or even natural elements such as trees and waves. Be sure to keep an eye out for leading lines and use them to add motion or purpose to your photo. You can use leading lines to direct the viewer’s gaze to your subject. 

8. Add Depth

It is very easy to focus solely on the subject of your photo, whether it is a person or a good ole slice of pizza. However, photos that include layers, with patterns or objects in the background as well as the foreground, are naturally interesting because they offer far more depth. Each layer of a photo, draws the viewer in more. 

9. Don’t Forget to get Creative

Some photos on Instagram are so booming with popularity that they become cliches, inspiring an entire Instagram account dedicated to repeat images. Do not get so caught up in these Instagram trends that you lose your creativity. You want to stand out from the other brands with an Instagram presence. Remember to always challenge yourself to find a fresh angle on a common subject. In return, this will help you establish a distinctive and memorable brand identity. 


This article discussed how to take good Instagram photos. Remember that to master taking good Instagram photos you must implement these nine steps. Make good use of natural lighting in photography, do not overexpose your images, shoot at the right time, follow the rule of thirds, consider your viewpoint, frame your subject, draw the viewer’s eye, add depth and don’t forget to get creative. Once you have put these steps to good use, let us know how your Instagram photography game is changing. Good luck!



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