How to Take Instagram-Worthy Photos with Your Phone

Written by: Sarah Kalvaitis

Do it for the ‘gram! Don’t have access to a high-quality camera, but still want to have picture perfect posts on Instagram? No big deal. You can still capture amazing photos with your smartphone, and we’re here to tell you how. Whether you’re aiming to improve a business, impress a client, or help your personal Instagram account stand out, these five quick and easy adjustments are sure to do the trick for your smartphone photography.

1. Composition

The rule of thirds is always a great way to keep your photos in check. And if you have an iPhone, it will automatically insert gridlines when you open your camera. The intersections of the four lines of the grid help guide you when placing focal points in the photo. 

Playing with symmetry is also a fun way to make your photos more interesting. Center your subject, watch your lines, and pay attention to where the leading lines in your image are.

Always remember that portrait photos and videos are better suited for posting on Instagram than landscape photos. Portrait format creates a picture that is taller than it is wide, while landscape format is when the image is wider than it is tall. 

2. Resolution

Most smartphones today take photos in high resolution. However, in the situation that yours does not, this can be challenging. A big factor that causes low-res photos is zooming. Do. Not. Zoom. This causes the photos to get grainy and blurry no matter the quality of your camera. You can avoid zooming in by getting closer to the subject of the photo. It is best to only use zooming features on professional-grade cameras.

When uploading photos to social media, it’s important to know the right sizes. Each platform has different size requirements–and if you don’t meet those minimum requirements, your viewers could end up seeing your photos blurry and low-res. According to Sprout Social’s Guide, the ideal Instagram photo size is 1080 x 1080 pixels. As long as you stick to this, your photos will be published beautifully.

3. Lighting

Even the most advanced phones aren’t always great with lighting, so take your photos in natural light. If going outside isn’t an option, shooting near a window is your next best bet. Put your subject off to an angle and take the picture with your back to the window. If you shoot directly into the window, the lighting will be too harsh and your photo will turn out too bright. 

Contrary to popular belief, using your phone camera’s flash is not a good idea. It can make the lighting very severe and it can cast yellow light or shadows over your subject. This is especially true when photographing food. 

4. Content

Candid shots of your subject, product, or event are often far more dynamic than posed photos because they effectively capture the emotion and essence of moments. A good way to capture the perfect candid shot is by taking a ton of photos, and then going back through them to select the best.

When posting to your Instagram Story, it’s best to think quality over quantity. Viewers tend to lose interest after 10 posted photos, so take interesting photos that capture the event, subject, or product. These photos should be clear, good resolution images–nothing that is dark or blurry. When it comes to posting to stories, it’s not about documenting everything; it’s about strategic storytelling. 

5. Editing Tools

There are many apps out there that can help improve your photos even further. Here are some of our favorite free photo editing apps:

  • Snapspeed
  • VSCO
  • Adobe Photoshop Express

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