How to Take Better Pictures For Instagram

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How to Take Better Pictures For Instagram

Remember the first mobile phone cameras? And the grainy, blurry, low-quality photos they produced?

Well, these days phones are capable of some pretty impressive feats.

Start with a Plan

Once you complete this article, this daunting step will seem much easier.

You’ll have a good idea of the visual impact you’re going for. You’ll know your subject matter, colors and how you’ll organize images on your page.

You’ll understand how to take Instagram photos that align with your goals and style. You can start building an effective Instagram strategy.

Setting up your Phone

Before you can even begin to think about composition, lighting, and editing, there are two things you need to know about how to work the camera on your phone in order to take a good Instagram photo:

Under-expose Your Shot

Have you ever taken a photo of a bright sky, only to realize later that half of it is over-exposed?

Mobile phones tend to blow out portions of your photograph naturally, resulting in over-highlighted areas.

But there’s a trick to fix this: under-exposing your shot. It’s better to have a slightly under-exposed photo that you can then brighten with editing, instead of ruining the whole shot with over-exposure.

Keep HDR Off

HDR (High Dynamic Range) is hard to get right and can make a picture look unnatural and overdone.

Essentially, the function takes many different exposures of the same photo, and puts them together in one photo so you have tons of details.

Keep it simple, less is more when it comes to taking good Instagram photos.

Map Out Your Aesthetic

How to Take Better Pictures For Instagram

Sure, your photos only show up one at a time in your followers’ feeds. But, when they click through to your profile? They’ll see all of your photos together.

You can think of your Instagram grid as a mosaic—it’s composed of individual images, but will have the strongest impact if each of those images fit together and create a somewhat cohesive appearance or vibe.

Shoot Your Photos Portrait-Orientated

Instagram prefers photos that shot in portrait mode (Vertical orientation).

If you’re shooting with a DSLR, take your portraits to the next level by keeping your aperture wide. By setting your camera to around f/2.8 – f/5.6, you’ll have a blurred background that will help your subject stand out.

Use your phone’s internal camera

Instead of taking photos through Instagram itself, pull up your device’s dedicated photo app.

Your internal camera doesn’t have the same size constraints, so you’ll be able to take large, high-quality photos and edit them to suit your exact specifications later on.

This will enable you to shoot on the go without stopping to open another app.

Soft, natural light is best

How to Take Better Pictures For Instagram

Decide on the style and composition of your photo. Play around with negative space (the area in between and around objects) and use symmetry or the rule of thirds to structure and balance your images.

Ask for a table by the window if possible and always try to shoot your photos during the day time.

When styling your table, add elements that evoke the mood of the cuisine such as flowers, cutlery, herbs, spices or fresh ingredients.

When sharing, “geotag” the location so that others can find it via Google maps. Tag the restaurant or bar so others can easily connect and follow your recommendations.

Tell a story through your posts by finding your personal niche and style – you could provide a description of your favorite dish on the menu.

Pay attention to composition

Don’t just automatically put the subject in the middle, which can create a listless image with no sense of energy or direction.

Symmetrical images are appealing, but most images aren’t perfectly symmetrical.

Instead, try the rule of thirds.


It takes only 1 shot and tends to be more focused, which reduces the potential blur of the motion.

HOWEVER, it also means taking numerous photos to get the one you want.

Now that the built in camera timer takes multiple photos it really is much easier to get the right shot if you can use it (again in bright light).

Set the timer and watch it count down a few times so you have an idea of the rhythm.

Choose a Grid Layout

What is a grid layout?

A grid layout is how your posts are positioned in your feed. It helps you know what photo to put next to another photo.

A layout makes it easy to start (and stick to) a consistent Instagram theme.

Clean Background

How to Take Better Pictures For Instagram

This is, perhaps, the most important tip you can implement right away and see a difference.

Distracting backgrounds tend to shift the focus away from your subject, whereas, uniform backgrounds make for a more clean image.

White Balance

Be mindful of color cast in your image. A color cast is a strong shift in the overall color of the image that usually comes from artificial light such as tungsten, which leaves a very yellow or orange cast.

Similarly, fluorescent lighting which gives off a green cast especially on the areas of the photo that are meant to be white.

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