And that was 2009. Fast-forward seven years, throw Instagram and Snapchat into the mix and you have a very different world. A world where putting your plate on the floor at a restaurant and standing on a chair isn’t met with disapproving looks, and where taking a photo for a complete stranger requires taking fifteen photos from varying angles with different lighting.
In today’s virtual existence, it seems Instagram followers are fast becoming the new social currency. But whether you’re creating your feed to interact with friends, pull a date, share a passion or build a business, these Instagram tips will help you master your account.
Whether you’re shooting inside or outside, natural light always produces a better photo. If shooting outside, early morning and late afternoon is the best time to shoot. Overcast days are also a good opportunity to get nicely lit snaps.
Pay attention to the previous photo in your feed when you upload a new photo. Be aware of composition, colours and content and how your pictures will look side by side. For example, when you have posted a busy picture with lots of colours and content, your next picture needs to be less active. Incorporating white backgrounds can give your viewers visual space and help to alleviate visual. This consideration makes a big difference in the way your profile appears to new followers.
Practice shooting – over and over and over! Photography and styling food is a skill that is learnt through practice. When shooting, compose your picture and take many different frames of the same dish. If you’re not satisfied, recompose your shot. Through trial and error, you will learn what works and what doesn’t.
Get the lighting right! I always find shooting in the afternoon shade works best for any flat lay image. It’s not overly exposed from the sun but light enough to make everything visible and in focus.
Line up your photo! Working on the 1/3 rule will see your image with great composition. If you’re shooting your breakfast for example, turn your grid on then place your plate in the last two thirds of your image and leave the last 1/3 with maybe your coffee cup or just a blank space.
Edit the image in the Instagram settings tab. I tend not to use the preset filters but prefer to play with the editing tools – usually contrast, highlights, brightness, temperature and sharpness.
Sometimes it takes more than one shot to get your favourite so don’t feel shy in doing your own mini photo shoot, everybody’s doing it. That being said, don’t post them all! We love selfies but try to keep your page at a one to five ratio minimum.
Think about ticking off these three things with every selfie. Hold the phone or camera slightly higher than your eye level, never from below or too far above to avoid unflattering angles and try to have the light hitting your face. Avoid direct, harsh sunlight and never have overly bright backgrounds that will wash out or pixelate the photo. Whichever editing program you use, keep it natural. Do not over edit or put on strange filters that make your skin look orange – no one thinks that looks good, natural beauty is in.
When it comes to selfies we have two golden rules: keep your tongue in your mouth, and the photo should only include a tasteful and classy amount of cleavage (if any), we want to mostly see your beautiful face.
If you have a partner in crime and you’re not going for the selfie look, it can often help to get a friend to take the photo. Read our funny article to discover how to have an Instagram Husband.