We see perfect Instagram pictures on our feed every day. In fact, some of them are even so great that they make us drool over our phones and wonder what it takes even to come close to such angle, lighting or effects.
In reality, perfect Instagram pictures are the ones that tell a story and inspire people. Ones that are spotlessly clean and of high-quality. Most importantly, one that has the ‘wow’ effect and is unique on its own.
In order to see the art behind such photos, you need to know one thing.
There are two elements vital to every great photo: how it was taken and what effects were used to edit it afterward. As a combination of both of these elements, the photo is what it is.
Just like that, great effects can improve even the worst photo – and a beautiful photo does not need filters at all. But when both of these things are done right, the result is nothing but amazing Instagram pictures constantly coming on your feed.
How To Snap Perfect Instagram Pictures That Deliver The ‘Wow’ Effect?
To help you start ‘wowing’ your followers with some great content, we are listing all the tricks from up our sleeves, letting you know what the main game behind perfect Instagram pictures is.
Step 1 for perfect Instagram pictures: Set Up Your Phone
The first step is where you start focusing on your phone’s camera and what it can do and what it cannot. As you probably know, a lot of bloggers out there have perfect Instagram pictures on their feed that were taken with professional cameras, which is certainly part of the big ‘wow.’
However, you should know that a great Instagram picture is not solely defined by the camera (even though it helps to have a sharper lens by your side). What matters more is the composition, lighting, and editing which are all important parts you should be aware of even before working the camera to take a great Instagram picture.
Some of the things you can do here include:
Underexposing your shot: This helps a lot when the surroundings are bright – or too dark – and half of the picture turns out to be over-exposed. In fact, this is a common issue in mobile phones nowadays that tends to blow out portions of the photographs naturally, overly-highlighting some areas. So, to underexpose your shot, you only need to tap and hold the brightest area of the phone while taking a shot and move the camera around to compose the photo you want.
Keeping the HRD off: the HDR stirs a lot of confusion out there mostly because it makes Instagram pictures unnatural and overdone. That is why you are better off without it – and could go over the tons of details and keep it simple following the ‘less is more’ rule.
The 3×3 rule (rule of thirds): Remember that grid view on your iPhone camera? Well, that is the 3×3 divider that can help you structure your focus on the photo you are taking and be symmetrical when snapping every shot. This rule is known and practiced by every blogger out there on Instagram.
Step 2: Prepare….And Capture!
Capturing an Instagram picture is a moment – and sometimes, it can take a while to wait for it and seize it. Essentially, there are two main things you should know when capturing the perfect shot: your composition and your lighting. As long as they are good, you can definitely get the professional and wonderfully looking Instagram pictures that you deserve.
And while the successful composition is all about finding the nice angle to direct your viewers to the subject of the photo, lighting is also an essential element to a photo that no filter can perfectly fix afterward.
It also pays off to have a unique style of photographing things – or even to stick to some colors you love and filters you like playing with. Whether they are wild and playful like pink, turquoise and yellow or faded black and white, having a unique style can help you stand out and find success on Instagram. And while warm photos are generally for travel and food, cold motives can be best seen in nature and landscape Instagram pictures.
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"I have so mushroom in my heart for you." Out wandering around in the forest with @forestfairy717 last night. We found a few friends along the way 🍄🐌 Made in a single exposure with the @lightpaintingbrushes . A blue filter attached to the black fiber optic in the background, and the purple hooded filter to add color to the shroomies. f/22, ISO 100, 38 seconds. #chrisbauer_lightpainter #lightpaintingbrushes #universalconnector #lpwalliance #loves_longexposure #rsa_light_members #nightshooterz #longexpoelite #nightphotography_exclusive #nightphotography #light_shots #lightjunkies #pnwdiscovered #pnwonderland #ig_shotz_le #nocturnal_visionaries #ig_color #mushrooms #fibinacci #rsa_nature #igers_portland #instagood #addicted_to_nights #westcoast_exposures #tgif_longxpo_mbr #tv_longexposure #lightart #lightpainting
A great tip you should know is to bring the best of your autofocus when snapping Instagram photos. For example, if you are photographing someone in front of a nice background – tapping on them before capturing can make them pop and seem they are closer to the camera than the actual background. On the other hand, playing with the brightness when capturing still images (landscapes, food) can also help you get the right tone.
There are no rules when it comes to snapping perfect Instagram pictures. Some people like minimalist things and others prefer colorful locations. Some like to snap objects, and others prefer people. It is up to you to see what you want to focus on and what kind of content your followers can expect from you.
Fun fact: According to some stats, people ‘liked’ way more lighter images than darker ones on Instagram – and blue usually gets more love than red.
Step 3: Mornings Or Afternoons? Cloudy Or Sunny? It’s Up To You!
Timing is important when it comes to Instagram photography. A lot of people know that, and it’s true. For example, some bloggers wake up as early as 4 am, prepare themselves and go to popular landmarks just to make most of the perfect lighting and take advantage of the empty scenery that may otherwise spoil a great photo or them.
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Winter in Iceland surely creates magical meetings that make Iceland’s most photographed landscapes take on an entirely different world. Contrasts of the black volcanic sand and wild rock formations covered by the white frosty sheaths of snow is simply a delight for all photographers, not to mention under the mysterious and ever-changing Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. The immense glaciers cast into lagoons with transforming crystal blue icebergs, frosty waterfalls and unique ice caves, reflecting blues you have never witnessed before, are forever enticing photo subjects. Our winter photography workshops offer the rare and unforgettable experience to enter the most beautiful yet ever changing ice caves of Iceland. I [email protected] teaming up with @icelandenroute , with our vast experience in landscape and winter photography, will guide you and make sure you reach the greatest locations at the best possible light conditions to capture unique images while living memorable experiences. Interested in joining us in the exciting adventure? Simply follow the link on my profile. Shot using @canoncanada gear with @formatthitech filters #shotoncanon #formatthitech #instagood #instadaily #instanature
Another great example comes with the weather. While sunny weather makes great sun rays captured on camera and nice natural lighting that you can use, cloudy weather also accents nature and delivers certain mood and emotion.
So, our tip is to embrace both sunny and gray weather with your open arms – just like mornings before the sun has come to the top (when the lighting is probably the best) as well as afternoons when you can capture a ray or two on screen. Needless to say that full moon and sunset motives are also perfect for snapping.
There is a trend known as ‘the golden hour’ or ‘magic hour’ in photography – referring to the first hour of light in the morning and the hour preceding sunset. However, if you ask a professional photographer about the best time or season for photographs, they will tell you that there is NEVER a bad time to take photos.
Sometimes, people don’t care about weather or time of day when taking Instagram pictures. But then again sometimes, it pays off to wait an hour or two and get the perfect picture that you were hoping for. What you should know that if you don’t have the sun in your picture, the dynamic range is less (meaning that it’s harder to get overexposed highlights) – and if there is too much sun, the risk of overexposure is bigger.
That is why taking more than one photo is always worth it (as mentioned below).
Step 4: Take A Lot Of Pictures
Taking a lot of pictures don’t hurt – and is always better for having more ideas, seeing how you (or your motives) from different angles, with different lighting and in multiple shots. It is a privilege to have smartphones with great memory nowadays – one which you can use to take as many Instagram pictures as possible before you sit down and choose ‘the winners.
The truth is, getting a picture right on the first try is not only difficult – but almost impossible. That is why you can take multiple snaps of whatever you are trying to capture. The rule of ‘five photos per motive’ works well when it comes to different scenes, backgrounds or positions – after which you pick your favorite and start.
So, taking a lot of Instagram pictures can help you achieve 2 things:
- Perfect the way you are taking snaps and make most of your skill
- Give you the exact shots you were hoping for
And even if you like more than one picture, Instagram now gives you the possibility to add a mini-gallery (below) where you can showcase your best work from different angles.
Step 5: Learn How To Edit Your Photos
Editing perfect Instagram pictures is a true skill – and not just something that everyone can do without any knowledge whatsoever.
It all begins with the great photo you have chosen to edit. As we mentioned earlier, if the picture is by itself great, it can be edited well – but if it is not – you can do nothing about it but post it as a blurry picture. So, make sure you always get the best photos and follow things like composition, lighting, symmetry, and rules like the ‘rule of thumb.’
So, once you have chosen the great photo, you should check out some of the most popular photo editing apps – rather than Instagram itself. There are so many apps you can edit your Instagram pictures with out there, and our best votes go for VSCO, Afterlight, Snapseed, Camera+ and SKRWT.
First and foremost, you need to decide if your photo needs adjusting such as cropping it, tuning it or straightening it. All you need to do is crop, straighten or adjust the picture in the angle you need it and continue to the other parts of editing.
The main things you would want to tweak at first should include the basic stuff such as brightness, contrast, and highlights. The great thing about this picture editing stuff is that you can see how your changes affect the original picture – and if you have gone too much on it.
Even though we said that you could skip Instagram when editing your pictures, you can certainly consider it if your photos are solid. For example, the ‘Lux’ feature on Instagram is ideal for adding the photo a dose of natural light, just like the ‘Sharpen’ actually sharpens it and gives it an extra flair.
Last but not the least in editing are the filters. The truth is, filters were great in the past and were used so much. However, technology advanced and our eyes now appreciate the depth of a camera and natural pictures more than over-edited ones. A good thing here is that you can also adjust your filter after choosing it on Instagram – by just tapping on the filter again and increasing or decreasing its effect.
Some of the most popular Instagram filters include Lark (ideal for desaturating reds), Moon (great for a vivid and vintage look), Crema (perfect for a creamy vintage look), Valencia (vintage, warm and antique), X Pro II (highly contrasted making colors pop), Brannan (metallic grey-ish filter with deep colors) and Lo-Fi (adding strong shadows and rich colors to your photos).
When it comes to filters, it is true that everyone has a different taste and we all have our favorites. While some people love experimenting with them, others prefer editing their original photos without any automatic addition of color. One thing is certain though – a lot of Instagram pictures can have a different look with the right filter.
A Final Word
At last, you should also not forget about captions. The right caption can sometimes make perfect Instagram pictures pop, and even more: inspire or motivate someone to do something. That is why it is best to think of the best caption at the exact moment while editing an Instagram photo.
What about this beautiful and shocking caption?
So, are you ready?
If you have what it takes when it comes to shots – but find it hard to promote your Instagram account and make most of them, contact our team at Manager Gram today and start growing your Instagram business!