There was once a time when all our lives were all lived in real-time. You met new people, formed friendships and went on dates without the addition of a flattering filter or carefully sourced, complimentary lighting – today this idea is becoming virtually unfathomable.
Our office is often torn apart by some of the teams, serious social media commitment and even though our Deputy Editor, Paddy is the first to get on his ‘anti-social media’ soapbox – sometimes, you just have to admit that social media is worth embracing and with dating apps, social platforms and forums becoming closely linked to career prospects and success, you have more reason than ever to get on that app store.
When Instagram launched back in 2010, we all figured it was another social media platform that ran the risk of becoming instantly redundant. It was simply another photo sharing feed with the functionality to converse with people from around the World – but when celebrities, icons and social influencers got stuck in quicker than Paddy at an Anti-Fracking march, the app rapidly gained popularity.
Seven years later and Instagram is now used for more than just staring at mundane photos of your Aunt Cheryl’s recent baking attempts – it’s cool, (somewhat) cultured and is now recognised as a hotbed for creative talent.
So, as we fully embrace Instagram, we figured it’s about time we discussed some simple photography tips to up your Instagram game and cement your social status (no help from Paddy). Seriously, anyone can adopt this advice – just add smartphone.
Get to know your Smartphone
It may seem a little obvious but it’s really worth investing a little time in understanding your mobile camera. Every smartphone from the iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy to the Google Nexus has different camera settings and styles. Identify the phone’s unique camera features and use YouTube tutorials and VLogs to unlock the photography potential of your smartphone camera model.
Get the Grid Lines On…
Like a DSLR or Bridge Camera, your smartphone camera will also enable you to put Grid Lines of the view finder/screen. Using Grid Lines is essential when taking an interesting and well-balanced photograph. Basic photography composition usually works on the ‘rule of thirds’.
The rule of thirds means that every photo or frame can be broken down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically). Using grid lines supports you to identify these ‘thirds’ and ensures that the subject in your photo is composed.
Take more snaps!
Get into the habit of snapping just about everything and everyone. Practice does make perfect and if you start shooting a variety of landscapes, objects, people and portraits – you’ll start to develop your smartphone photography skills and find your own niche.
Invest in Phone Camera Add-Ons
With the popularity of smartphone photography, camera and photography companies are beginning to tap into the phone photography market and provide instagrammers with some very interesting smartphone camera hardware.
From as little as £3 you can find some useful additions to your standard phone camera. We’re big fans of the Yarakshop Camera Fish Eye lenses and the LED selfie ring. Little features that add professional edge to your phone snaps.
Let the lighting lead
Good lighting is fundamental to good photography. You don’t need to break the bank on fancy studio lights and equipment, natural light is the best light. Simply take your photos near a window or in a light open space to illuminate your subject and give your photo that professional aesthetic.
Don’t be fooled though – a sunny day is not optimum lighting for photography, it leaves you squinting and can create unwanted shadows. Thankfully, we live in the UK, where there’s always a giant cloud above us and this giant cloud acts as a soft-box to diffuse the lighting without any harsh shadows – thank you dull skies!
Know your angles
There are over 500 million Instagram accounts and millions of photos fighting to win followers and get likes everyday – so the competition is hella fierce. Step outside the box and take a little time to consider your angles. Typically, your average Joe will shoot face on in a perfectly neat frame – we’ve seen this photo tons of times today already.
Get to know your angles and work with them. Use staircases, balconies and platforms to shoot things from a high angle and get down low to capture the action from an interesting, low-angle. Knowing and using your angles lends something a little different to your insta snaps to guarantee that double-tap.
Fear the Filter
Instagram was one of the first social media applications to introduce the photo filter. Filters are a brilliant way of enhancing your smartphone photos but do tread with caution. Many of the Instagram filters are so over-used that they’ve simply lost their cool.
Retro and vintage inspired filters were a favourite when the app launched but bloggers and social influencers are now using different editing software like Adobe Photoshop, Lightbox and specially designed Photo editing apps to elevate their photos. Play around with exposure, contrast, temperature and highlights to get that striking look without the flat filter.
Focus on a theme
Last but not least, the most important Instagram tip we could ever offer is to focus on a theme for your own feed. There’s so many photographers out there, working on their own brand of iPhone photography that it’s easy to lose direction. Consider a theme, colour gradient or photo style that’s unique to you and stick to it.
If you’re looking to start a career in Social Media, employers will often take a look at your feed to see how you execute your own posts and with the help of a theme – your feed will look more professional, polished and personal to you.
We hope that you’ve been inspired by some of our smartphone photography tips and will use them to up your social media game. Remember, finding your niche is important so get your grid lines on, get snapping and build your own insta brand.
If you have any more questions about photography or social media – please post them below, we’re always looking for inspiration and hope to continue to inform our readers with some tips & advice for the modern Gent.