As a professional photographer, I am naturally drawn to Instagram as my social media of choice. I feel more connected there and find people in general have to be more deliberate about what they post because they need a photo to go with it. Plus, it inspires people to take more photos which is always a win in my book.
Because of my love for Instagram I thought I would share some of my top tips for using it in the best ways possible and getting the most out of the photos we post there.
First and foremost I think it’s important to consider WHY we post the photos we post on Instagram. Is it a daily diary? To show off to grandma or relatives? To inspire or uplift others? To connect? To do or promote good things? Everyday moments? A combination of some of these? There’s no right or wrong answer. I have a pretty strong “Why” when it comes to the things I post on my Instagram feed. And every photo I post on there has to fit with my “why” before it gets posted. When I know I want to post a photo on Instagram, I’m more thoughtful about the photos I’m taking and why I’m taking them.
A few tips for taking better photos in general for your Instagram photos.
1. Find good, natural light. If possible, have your subject face the direction of the light source (window/door when inside).
2. Turn off your flash. I never shoot with my flash on.
3. Turn off any overhead lights when inside to avoid a yellow tint (from the light) to your photos.
My favorite app for editing photos on my phone is PicTapGo. It allows you to layer filters to get just the look you want. That being said, in my opinion “less is more” when it comes to using filters. My goal to taking photos is always to get them looking as good as possible coming straight out of the camera to minimize editing time on the back end. But I often spruce them up a bit in PicTapGo. My favorite “recipe” is to use “Lights on” + “Contrast”. You can move the sliders on each filter to adjust how much of the filter to apply. Lightening up your photos just a bit can make a world of difference in their appearance.
I don’t ever use the native camera in Instagram. I take all my phone photos with the native phone camera. I then use PicTapGo to either crop them into a square, or share them as a full frame photo. If you take them in Instagram, you don’t get a full frame photo and are stuck with the square one. When I first started using Instagram I did this for several photos and was later disappointed when I wanted to use those photos for something else and didn’t want the square crop.
And of course my biggest tip is to take your photos one step further than just posting them on Instagram and PRINT them! However, don’t try to print photos straight from your IG account any bigger than about 5×5 or the resolution will be bad. Instagram compress’s the size of your photos to around 600 pixels by 600 pixels so if you try to print photos straight from the app, the resolution won’t be as good as printing them from their native source (ie the camera roll).
These are some of the ways I print my photos, ones I’ve used on Instagram and just in general:
3 different wall displays using square photos:
You can also use Chatbooks to print off your Instagram account. The Chatbooks App syncs with your IG account and once you fill up 60 pages, they send you a new book. It’s a great way to keep a journal of what you post and because you “subscribe” you don’t have to remember to order more books as you share more photos. Plus, each book is only 6 bucks!
And, I LOVE the Project Life App to document our family story. It’s simple to use and you can do it anywhere, anytime from your phone. Once you create your layouts using the App, you can upload them straight from your phone for printing (I recommend Persnickety prints). I wrote more about it here.
Instagram can be a powerful tool to help us be more deliberate about the photos we take and to pay attention to how and why we take them. And if we print those photos, along with the others we take, it can be a great way to tell the story of our families.
Join us in the #projectprint challenge on Instagram. Print your photos and post a photo of it on Instagram using the #projectprint hashtag. Your photo could be featured here or on Clickin’ Moms website.
Lindsay Ross – Guest Post
I am a writer and natural-light photographer from Lehi, UT. I spend my days keeping 4 little people alive, and my nights trying to save the world via the Internet. I am an avid reader and podcast listener and believe there is no such thing as too much time boating on the lake.
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