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Hi there! Are you doing well? I’m sending love & positive vibes your way! Life can be tough. Make it a little easier by being kind to yourself ❤
I thought I’d share a few tricks for Instagram photos that I’ve learned through trial and error so that maybe you don’t have to learn the hard way! I’m no expert, and I just do Insta for fun, so this is a pretty basic tutorial.
I joined Bookstagram a few months ago and absolutely LOVE IT! It is so fun to indulge my creative side and see what I can do with the books I love. I shared some tips & tricks for Reels in another post, so check that out if you’re interested.
Without further ado, here are my 6 tricks for better Instagram photos:
1 Lighting – I can’t stress this enough. Not only will it help with the sharpness and clarity of your photos, but people love bright photos on Instagram! Some of my older stuff is not very bright, and it looks a bid dingy to be honest. I tend to get more likes on brighter photos, and people on IG just really like the bright look. This looks like a pretty good photo light, if you need one.
2 Stick with a vibe. A flavor. An aesthetic, if you will. My photos have a bit of an airy, classic vibe. Lots of cream colors, muted tones, flowers, and fur. I also have been using the same backdrop (it’s actually a table cloth) for a while and it gives my my wall a really cohesive feel. I started getting more traffic once I started to stick with the same vibe throughout my pictures. This way, my followers know what to expect from me. If you scroll down further in my account, you can see that my earlier photos were a bit all over the place. We grow, we learn. That’s why you’re here, right?
3 Photos have are more visually pleasing when they’re a little off-center. Now, this isn’t always the case, but it usually is. For book stacks (I’m a Bookstagrammer) I will usually keep them pretty on-center, but for one book or a collection of books laid out on a backdrop, it’s good to make the focus point off-center.
Turn on your grid while taking a photo. Try to make your focus point line up with one of the intersections. This can be a book, or a picture or word on the book (if you’re taking a picture of books). It’s also best if they are not straight up & down. Keep in mind that your camera typically takes a rectangular photo, while Instagram will crop to square, so the situating may be done after the fact.
4 Knick-knacks and other random items can add depth and interest to your photos. I have some pebbles, candles, flowers, decorative balls, rings, and bookmarks that can all be mixed & matched to create the look I’m going for. Adding things that pertain to the subject of your photo is always good as well. Placement should be done with your focal points in mind, but also with a bit of randomness. Working too hard on placement can sometimes add stiffness to a photo. Below, you can see 3 different placements of items. I kept rearranging until it felt right.
5 Filters – I actually edit my photos in the IG app. I know a lot of people use other softwares, but frankly I’m just too lazy to do that. When editing, I will pick a filter first. This way, the little touch-ups I do will look good with the filter I’ve chosen. As I mentioned before, I’m trying to stick with a certain vibe, so I only use like 3 of the filters. I pick the one I like best for the photo I’m editing based on lighting, subject, and the feel of the photo.
6 After you’ve chosen a filter, select Edit to adjust other aspects of your photo. I usually crop and move my photo around until the focal point is right where I want it. If there’s only one book, I like it to be a bit off-center. Adds some dimension. I’ll also play with the other toggles until I get the look I’m going for. Usually upping the brightness, saturation, and warmth, and lowering contrast. It depends on the photo, and the vibe you’re going for, but this just fits for me. I also really like the sharpness and structure options. It pulls out the shiny little details like the glitter in the table cloth or the shine on the book without overdoing the brightness. Don’t be afraid to play around with it until you get the look you’re going for. You can always press and hold on the image to compare to the original.
I’ve included the before and after below so you can see the results!
I hope you found these tips helpful! I’d love to see some of your photos or hear any other tricks you’d like to share, so feel free to add you account or pointers in the comments below!
Check out my Bookstagram account if you’re interested in seeing my work.