How to Rock Instagram Photos like A Pro

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How-to-snap-Instagram-photos-like-a-pro-LiWBFEver wonder how some folks have Instagram feeds that full of awesome photos? When I started using Instagram, I had no clue what I was doing. My friends with hundreds and thousands of followers had these feeds filled with lively, vibrant photos while mine kinda looked as though someone said: “Okay, let’s throw her into the pro photographers pot and see what happens next.” **Snickers while finding humor in my distress.** Do you sometimes feel that way? That you’d like to know how to snap Instagram photos that rock?

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Well, being the determined little minx everybody says that I am, it wasn’t long before I found a couple of fab online courses from the ladies of A Beautiful Mess and Udemy. Both me and my trusty buddy DSLR-phablet (yeah, the Galaxy Notes are known for their DSLR quality photos) set out to conquer the Iger (nickname for the Instagram obsessed… aka me) world. And guess what? Based on the feedback I’ve got, I think we kinda rocked our goals. Looking back over my feed, I can definitely see an improvement in the quality of the photos I’ve recently taken over the first group. What did I do differently? Well, I thought you’d never ask. I’m always happy to share my successes. 😀

Top 7 Tips for Rocking Instagram Photos Like a Pro

1. Lighting is everything. For the best outdoor snapshot results, you should pick areas that have plenty of natural light and no shadows lurking in the background. I know from experience that this is much easier said than accomplished. There’s a reason photographers like to call the one or two hours just before sunset “the magical hours”. If you’re capturing photos inside your home, you’ll need to make sure the lighting does two things: a) provides enough light to make sure folks can actually see your subject and b) creates a  specific type of ambience or mood that shows off the subject of your photo. Also, be weary of artificial light that makes your subject look too warm. Unless of course, that’s the look you’re aiming to do. My house naturally gives off a warm glow because of the terra-cotta colored walls in my living room. I shoot most of my tutorials and things near a large picture window in the kitchen. I also shoot these photos during the mid to late afternoon time frame (aka the magic hours for daytime photos).

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2. Use the square to your advantage. I know. The Instagram box can make things hard for getting the perfect shot. However, you should still strive to use the rule of 3 in all photos. Instagram’s square limitation makes mastering this technique easier than it first appears to be. The subject of your photo should only use about 2/3 of your photo space. Play around with this concept in several test photos and you’ll see what I mean. Keep in mind that it’s okay to crop your subject. Most times, the cropping adds some serious professional shine to your photo.

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3. When taking selfies, your imagination is key. Use special filters and have fun. That’s the beauty of Instagram. The auto filters they’ve included with the software are pretty darn awesome. Yet, they’ve added a few more advanced tools such as the vignette and the awesome shadow/highlight adjustment features. If you have selfie camera software installed on your phone then use that instead. Just make sure it’s set to frame up your photos in the style of the Instagram square.
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My Galaxy Note 4 has a special built-in selfie feature that makes you look like a movie star when used correctly. Got blackheads? No worries… No one will see them. Forgot to powder your nose? Again, the Note 4’s got you covered. Super smooth skin awaits in the finished photo. This feature also eliminates the need for heavy-handed filtering of the product.

I’ve heard through the techvine that the new Note 6 will even shoot in the RAW. For those of you who aren’t photo pros just yet, this means that the phone will produce DSLR quality photos to edit until your perfectionist heart gets content. We’re heading into the age of the DSLR-Phablet and I LOVE it. The fewer gadgets I have to log around in my purse (a habit that’s sure to create shoulder problems at some point) the better.
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4. For group selfies, you can use the almighty selfie stick. These little guys keep getting fancier each time someone reinvents the design. We live in an amazing time, don’t we? Group photos will have to be cropped. So make sure everyone’s smiling face gets caught inside the frame (aka the square). Figuring out how to work Instagram’s square limitation was so hard for me at first.

However, I have found ways to make the best of the limited amount of space we have been given to use. I would even put myself out there and say the space limitation has improved my photography skills since I’ve had to learn how to use a smaller area to get my visual point across. Kinda like twitter with its 140 character limitation made me learn how to write some killer loglines for my novels. The techies know what they’re doing!

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5. Have fun with Boomerang. Video is the future. Vlogging is on the rise. Did you hear that spell check? As I type this article, spell check keeps on insisting that vlogging isn’t a real word. LoL Stir up your feed with a little spice. Yeah sure, you could easily shoot a video instead. But where’s the fun in that? Boomerang allows you to snap Instagram photos and make them into moving works of art that gives you a slightly different perspective than one filmed in a video. Instagram belongs to the one who can creatively present photos of everyday life in unique ways.

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6. Use photo editors. Depending on the quality of the photos you need then you can either use Instagram’s cool built-in filters or go for mobile editors like Lightroom which is super awesome by the way. If you followed the tips in step 1 (remember that little thing called natural lighting?) then you should already have a pretty super duperly image to work on.

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7. Have fun! As with almost all the tips I present on any of my tutorials, I always enjoy telling folks to have fun. The vibrancy will radiate in your photos and everyone will say you know how to snap Instagram photos like a true pro.

What other Instagram tips would you add to this list?

**All photos shown in this tutorial were taken using the Instagram camera function**
**The article How to Snap Instagram Photos Like a Pro first appeared on Live Well… Be Fabulous!**