Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Instagram photos :: some tips and tricks

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Instagram is one of my all time favourite apps/social media platforms. One of the best parts of my morning routine is flicking through instagram on the bus on the way to work – and being inspired or otherwise affected by the snippets of other peoples day.
Lately I have been trying really hard to improve the photo’s that I take with my iPhone and upload to instagram. I have been having fun playing with different filters, composition and subjects.
In no way at all am I good photographer but I thought I would take some time to share a few tips and tricks that have been helping me out lately.
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Shooting in HDR mode – in your camera options you can choose to shoot in HDR (High Dynamic Range) mode. This is where your camera takes three photos and then basically the best aspect of those three photos produce the photo you receive. I leave this option permanently on as I feel it makes my photos much more vibrant then regular mode. This is a great article on shooting in HDR. 
Focus - I wasn't going to include this because I thought people would be like well duh of course you can do that but since I only figured it out a week ago I thought I would share because maybe someone else out there is like me and doesnt know. Instead of moving the phone around to try and get the focus where you want it you can just tap the screen and the camera will focus on where you have tapped - pure genius!
Auto-enhance – since you can’t always get the lighting perfect I usually go to the edit function on each photo and see how the photo looks with the enhance function on (the the little magic wand icon) depending on whether I think it actually does enhance the photo determines whether I leave it on or choose to leave the photo as is.
 Afterglow – I love my photos to have a vintage/dreamy look which I really couldn’t get before I bought this app. Afterglow is hands down my favourite photography app. I find now that I am much more likely to  use a filter from afterglow then the instagram filters.  My one tip was just make sure your filter compliments the photo and doesn’t look like you just used a filter for the hell of it.
I have also just bought VSCOCAM but haven’t really had a chance to use it yet but am looking forward to testing it out in the future.
Squareready – it use to take drive me nuts when I would take a photo with my iPhone camera and then it wouldn’t fit the whole photo into the parameters allowed by instagram. Square ready fixes all that and allows you to fit your photo into instagram parameters, you then upload the image from squareready to instagram.
The sun button - ok so I am not sure what this button is actually called but when you are in instagram and choosing a filter it is the sun button above the filters. I think it might be like the auto-enhance button in your iPhone camera but I always check out if this makes the photo look better or not.
Story telling -  While all of these apps can help your photos look better it is also fun to think about the composition of the photo, do you want to show the whole picture or just a little detail? Do you want to make the viewer think? inspire them? teach them something?  
Caption - use your caption to compliment your photo or to provide another level to your photo- you can give a background story, describe how the photo made you feel, why you took the photo - or maybe your photo needs no caption at all and you want to let the viewer come to their own conclusions - it is up to you!
Overall instagram is designed to be a fun little app that lets you share little details of your life with others. Every photo doesn’t need to be over-thought but it is definitely fun to experiment with different features and apps when you get the chance. 
If you would like to follow my photos on instagram my username is timeaftertea I would love you to leave your username in the comments for me to follow along!


  1. I love Instagram a think a little too much!

  2. Such great tips. My Instagram usage has fallen to the way side since discoovering twitter, but I must get back to it.

  3. I just started using a different phone (the HTC OneX) and I don't have Afterglow anymore! The camera is a lot better on the HTC but I do really miss my iPhone. This makes me want to switch back. :)

  4. I love using Snapseed to take and edit my photos in. I then upload them to Instagram. I love Instagram!

  5. Great tip about Squareready! It drives me bonkers when regular pics don't fit into Instagram; should've known there'd be an app out there for this! Thanks for sharing Megan!

  6. I didn't know about the focus thing! I Can't wait to have a play =)

    Corinne x

  7. I love these tips Megan, you know i am always stalking you on instagram :) Where did you get that moustache hanger from?

    xo Stephanie

  8. Great tips!! I always love your instagram pics! I've been so lazy with instagram lately, I really need to start posting more. Hope you're enjoying the long weekend xx

  9. you are so cute about the focusing ;)

    Afterglow-- YES! My fave too. I always use the russ one because it looks like film (if it's too much effect, I mess with the brightness/contrast/colors manually too on afterglow). If it's nighttime in my room and I'm snapping a photo of Felix that looks too dark, sometimes "bloom" works.

    Marianne discovered Squareready back when I didn't have an iphone (Squareready isn't available for Droid users). I would send her my photos and she would put them in squareready for me :) It's so much easier now that I have the iphone!

    I LOVE your instagram photos and think you're such a doll to share your tips. I'm curious about VSCO Cam so when you get that figured out, please share details :)

  10. My favourite app to use in conjunction with IG is 'Magic Hour' - so many great filters to use as well as the ability to make your own and share them with other people :)

    x Jasmine

  11. Great tips, Megan, thanks! I've only had my iPhone for a month, so I've still got a lot to learn. I love Instagram, and will definitely take your advice :)

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