Whether or not you have an iPhone or Android, chances are you’ve heard of the photo app Instagram. Taking ordinary photos shot from a camera phone, the app allows users to add an extra oomph to quickly captured moments through a plethora of filters that range from the simple, yet classic black and white (Inkwell) to nostalgic 1970′s inspired edits (1977).
That being said, it’s easy to be swept up in all of the madness surrounding the app. However, like every other form of photography, there’s a certain etiquette when it comes to Instagram. Yes, even something as simple as adding filters to a photo from your camera phone takes some tact.
Now don’t go and get yourself in a photographic tizzy, we here at Talenthouse have created a handy little guide on how to improve your presence on Instagram. With these seven tips you’ll be photo-ready at any time — well, as long as you have your phone on you!
Use Your Own Work
Let me just be clear: plagiarizing sucks. It’s one thing to be “inspired” by a photo, but to take another artist’s work and try to pass it on? Just don’t do it. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when Instagramming is: If you didn’t capture it, then don’t post it.
This rule could also be applied to the re-posting of funny memes and e-cards you find while browsing Tumblr or Reddit.
Your followers want to see photos that you’ve created and of your life — not someone else’s. They don’t want to see things that have already been posted on all of your or anyone else’s social media forums. Sure, you may think that your life isn’t too eventful, but your followers are following you for a reason so give them some motivation to stay.
Mix It Up
Sometimes when you’re at a super cool event or place you’ll feel the urge to photograph and post everything you come across on Instagram for your followers to see. While sharing your photos is perfectly fine, a flood of photos from you all in one day may be overwhelming — if not a bit annoying — to your followers.
Luckily, various collaborative apps have been developed to sync Instagram that allow users to cut and paste photos into collages so that they can showcase the happenings of a concert, cool food they ate at a restaurant or some sightseeing that they might have done in one day all in one neat photo. Some great free photo-collage apps are: PicStitch, Instapic Frames, Photo Collage Free and Diptic.
Composition? Who Needs It!
While having your subject perfectly posed in the middle of your photo is standard for portrait photography, on Instagram it doesn’t matter much. Yes, it works when you’re shooting group shots with your friends, but don’t be afraid to mess with the composition.
If you’re taking a picture of this awesome meal you’re having, instead of shooting it from directly above, zoom in, give some more negative space on the left than the right — play around with the camera. That way, you give your followers something different, unique and sometimes a little surprising in all of your photos.
Think Before You Post
In the age of the Internet the concept of TMI seems to be barely understood. With people posting pictures of themselves past the point of drunk and belligerent; doing their business in the restroom; or just acting like a fool, it may seem socially acceptable to follow these actions and do them too.
But I’m going to tell you now that it isn’t.
Yeah, you want to share with your followers what goes on in your daily life, but do you think they really want to see that picture of you doing that thing that one time? Trust me, no one wants to see that. Especially your followers.
Instead of posting these incriminating photos, Instagram pictures of the before; you know, before everything happened. If you’re at the bar for a friend’s birthday, don’t upload a picture of them drunk and stumbling, take a picture of the bottles or drinks so your followers just get the idea of the chaos that will happen, not actually see it themselves. There’s nothing wrong with being subtle, and sometimes subtlety can be the best policy.
That being said, it’s easy to be carried away with hashtagging.
It’s perfectly fine to tag the location, food and subject of your photo, but when you start to add “#” to full on sentences, it’s time to reevaluate your usage of the hash. A good way to decide on what you can hashtag and what you shouldn’t is asking yourself if your tag can be used as a caption. If it can’t then feel free to hash it up, if it can, then write it as a caption. It’s simple!
Another thing to keep in mind is to keep your hashtags relevant to your photo. Don’t bombard your followers with hashtags. They don’t come to see you tagging your photos up with a plethora of keywords — they come to see your photos, not paragraphs! You should cater to those already following you instead of incessantly adding superfluous tags to try and gain more.
Speaking of controlling yourself, we know that the advent of the front-facing camera on many phones has allowed a lot of photo-enthusiasts to start snapping pictures of themselves with a lot more comfort and ease.
That being said, you should limit yourself to how many “selfies” you take.
It’s nice that you want your followers to see what you look like, or what you wore, but to post a picture of yourself with the same smile/pose every single day? It can lead to followers going “ugh” instead of “ooh!”
Shots, Shots Shots
Ever find yourself at a concert or high-energy event and trying to get the perfect shot? That’s when having a camera phone comes in handy! With and a quick and easy press of a screen or button, you’re able to snap a multitude of photos in just a few seconds.
Although it isn’t guaranteed that your photos will be perfectly still and unblurred, the more photos you take the better your chances and choices. You never know either, maybe you’ll just get so many fantastic shots that you’ll have to utilize a collage app to post all of your favorites!
What are some other cool Instagram tips and tricks?
All photos are from my personal Instagram account. Don’t forget to follow Talenthouse on Instagram!