How To Take Better Instagram Photos Than Your Kids

How To Take Better Instagram Photos Than Your Kids

7 min read

Level up your phone photography skills with these tips.

So I recently decided I should catch up with the times, and created my first Instagram account. After a few weeks of posting random photos of my neighbourhood, something felt amiss. Calling my son over, I asked him: “Boy ah, why no one ‘like’ my Instagram photos ah?”

“Ma, because your photos are boring lah!” he laughed. Hearing that, I can’t say I wasn’t a little hurt, but the boy was right. The next day, I decided to level up my Instagram game, and signed up for a phone photography class at the Community Centre. Here are some useful tips that I picked up!

It’s all about the selfie

Selfies are synonymous with Instagram, so let’s begin there! If you’re tired of posting the same old poses as everyone else on social media, these pointers can help to add some “oomph” to your selfies.

Selfie Tip #1: Turn off the flash and use natural lighting

Better instagram photos natural light

Lighting is everything when it comes to photography. | Image source: Unsplash

The first rule of selfie-ing is to pay attention to lighting – it’s the best beauty product you don’t have to pay for! Natural light that's soft and diffused is flattering for your complexion, and can help to mask blemishes like undereye circles and shadows. If you’re shooting indoors, stand beside a window to take advantage of the natural sunlight streaming in. Try angling your face to one side to achieve partial side lighting, for that classic portrait look!

Selfie Tip #2: The right angle changes everything

Better instagram photos angle

Finding the best angle can really make a difference in your shots. | Image source: Unsplash

Finding your best angle can be challenging, but one thing’s for sure – looking into the camera straight on isn’t going to produce the most flattering results, because most faces aren’t naturally symmetrical!

Try tilting your phone slightly up, down or to the side for a more interesting angle. Here’s a little secret for the ladies: shooting from a higher camera angle makes your eyes look bigger and has a slimming effect on the face too! For the guys, shooting from a lower angle can make you look taller and more dynamic. 

Selfie Tip #3: Look away from the camera

Better instagram photos looking away from camera

Lighting is everything when it comes to photography. | Image source: Unsplash

I get it, not everyone is a natural in front of the camera. Staring into the lens can be quite intense, leading to us feeling a little self-conscious. If you’re an awkward selfie-taker like me, one useful tip is to try looking to the side or at an object in the distance, as if you’re deep in thought. It has the added bonus of producing shots that don’t look like typical selfies. You can also try holding a prop like a coffee cup to make the picture a little more interesting.

Composition (no, not the ones you did in school)

The composition of a photo refers to how the elements within the shot are arranged. How you put things within the frame of your lens can help you tell a story, and is often the difference between a good and great shot.

Composition Tip #1: Rule of thirds

Better instagram photos rule of thirds

Use the grid lines on your phone camera to help you frame the shot. | Image source: Unsplash

A quick way to ensure a decent shot is to apply the Rule of Thirds. Imagine your photo as a 3×3 grid, dividing it into 9 equal parts. Next, place the main subject of your photo along the grid lines or at their intersection points, like the Supertree in the photo above. 

Aligning the subject like this creates a more interesting shot, rather than simply placing the subject at the center of the photo. If you’re using an iPhone, you can turn on the Grid feature to see gridlines in the Camera app. To enable this feature, go to Settings > Camera > Grid.

Composition Tip #2: Use leading lines

Better instagram photos leading lines

Look out for lines in the photo to help you draw attention to the subject. | Image source: Unsplash

Another technique you can apply is the use of leading lines to draw attention to the subject in your photo. Our eyes are naturally drawn to lines like paths or tracks. Use them to “lead” the viewer’s eyes – in the example above, the straight road draws attention to the little girl on the bike.

Composition Tip #3 – Add depth

Better instagram photos depth

Including objects in both foreground and background makes for a more interesting photo. | Image source: Unsplash

You can also consider adding layers to your photo to make them more visually interesting. Rather than focusing directly on the subject, try including patterns or objects in the background and foreground. This offers something to look at within each layer of the photo and draws the viewer in.

Get creative

One of the great things about Instagram is that it’s a platform that’s all about personal expression. So don’t be afraid to experiment, have fun and get those creative juices flowing!

Creative Tip #1: Symmetry

Better instagram photos symmetry

The 2 identical staircases help to add symmetry to the photo. | Image source: Unsplash

When two halves of your composition look the same and balance each other out, symmetry is achieved. Look for signs of symmetry both in nature and the man-made world. It’s a great way for photographers to create visually-pleasing and cohesive images.

Creative Tip #2: Patterns

Better instagram photos patterns

The patterned tiles on the wall contrast nicely with the plain red wall. | Image source: Unsplash

The human brain likes patterns. Its repetitive nature suggests harmony and rhythm, which is why patterns appeal to our eyes much like music appeals to our ears. We’re surrounded by patterns in our daily lives – you can seek inspiration from buildings, design, and nature for all kinds of fascinating motifs.

Creative Tip #3: Colours

Better instagram photos strong colours

Photos with strong colours will naturally attract your eye. | Image source: Unsplash

Bright, vibrant colours are a great way to add a pop of energy to your pictures. Colours give off positive vibes and can make a great impact on your Instagram photos. They can even make a seemingly mundane scene look interesting and beautiful!

Taking better Instagram photos isn’t difficult

These are just a few tips to get you started on the journey to leveling up your phone photography skills. Now get out there, create your own personal style, and who knows, you may even impress a few of your kids along the way!

Spread the love