Top 10 Tips to Take Cool Instagram Photos

When Instagram was founded back in 2010, the phone cameras were not so good and lacked a lot of features. The photos turned out to be blurry, grainy, and low-quality. But now, time has changed. You can find the latest sensors in phone cameras, and the quality of the pictures is better than ever! Moreover, people prefer taking pictures with their smartphones as they are easy to carry and are not as bulky as DSLRs.

To help you create “wow” pictures for your Instagram, we have put together this brief guide, so next time you can have a lot of cool pictures to post on your Insta profile.


1. Understand How Light Works

a girl standing against the sun

The one most important thing that can make or break your photos is light. Whether it is too much light or too less, both can result in bad pictures. If your picture is overexposed, the subject will look washed out. On the contrary, if it is too dark, it won’t grab the viewer’s attention.

If you run a brand and want to take amazing pictures of your products and post them on Instagram, you should understand how light works and affects the location you are shooting in.

For example, if you are taking pictures for Instagram in a bar, you should note where the sun comes in. If all you have is artificial light, then you should find a sweet spot where there is a nice spread of light.

When taking photos in the outdoors, you should go out early morning or during sunset because this is the best time when the sun usually tends to cast the softest glow.


2. Keep HDR Off

overdone photo of a rowing boat

High Dynamic Range, known as HDR, is hard to master and can make your pictures look overdone and unnatural (just like in the picture above). Essentially, what this function does is take several photos and merge them all in one single photo so the final version can have a lot of details.

If you know how HDR works and take good pictures with it enabled, then perfect! If not, you should avoid and keep it turned off.


3. Create Interest in Your Photos by Adding Layers

a landscape photo of a heron during sunset

Although minimalistic and simple photos look more elegant, you can take your photos up a notch by adding layers. What this technique means is mixing in various textures and having a background or foreground against your subject. This way, you will still have your main subject in focus, but the background/foreground will help add interest and guide the viewer’s eyes to the subject.

For example, in this picture, the main subject is a heron, but the foreground and background are adding depth to the picture, making it look much more interesting.


4. Follow the Rule of Thirds

a shallow focus photo of a purple flower

Another most important factor that matters a lot in photography is composition. It refers to the arrangement of photo in a way that it looks attractive. The arrangement includes shapes, textures, colors, and other elements that make up your photos.

Among many composition rules, the rule of thirds is the most well-known principle. It is a simple method of balancing your image using the photo grid. To use the rule of thirds, you have to divide your photo into a 3×3 grid, and then align your objects or subjects along those grid lines. This will create a striking balance and make your photos look good.

For example, you can align your subject in the center or achieve a pleasing effect with the help of balanced symmetry. In balanced symmetry, your subject or object is off-centered, which creates an element of interest.


5. Take Help of Continuous Burst to Capture Action Shots

dogs playing in the water

When you are trying to capture the action, taking only one photo is not enough. You need to snag a high amount of photos to choose from. If you want some candid photos for your Instagram, ask your friend to click a continuous burst while you are talking to someone or doing something. This way, you will have a lot of candid photos to choose from.


6. Go Square

a woman holding her phone and checking Instagram

Before Instagram, people were familiar withonly two options; landscape or portrait. These photos were taken according to a certain set of rules. But now, some of these rules don’t apply to square-shaped photos.


7. Add Depth to Your Photos

a field of red poppy flowers at daytime

When you add depth to your photos (include layers), your photos start looking cool automatically. You can find patterns or objects in the background/foreground that can add fun to your photos. For example, if you want to take a photo of flowers, rather than just cropping tightly on the flowers, you can include a railing behind them with the sun shining in the back.

Each layer of these elements will add depth to your photos and make them look interesting.


8. Take Care of Colors and Contrasts

a woman standing in front of a wall

Sometimes, your photos might get washed out due to excess light or look dull if underexposed. Therefore, you can boost your phone or camera’s brightness a little and play with contrast until you land on perfect settings according to the scene. Doing this, you can instantly improve your photos and make them look brighter and crisper.


9. Edit Your Photos

a person editing a photo on his phone

If you want to make simple and basic edits to your photos, then that can be done in the Instagram app. But if you are looking for another option with many more interesting features, then you can download editing apps like VSCO, Snapseed, or PicsArt. These apps provide amazing features for post-production picture work.


10. Don’t Take Photos via Instagram

While many people might take photos from Instagram and post them directly on their account, your phone’s built-in camera app is much more convenient. Also, your smartphone comes with an HDR function that can enhance your photos (not every type), which is what you cannot do with the Instagram app.

Final Words

Instagram, with a user base of 112.5 million people, is growing stronger every year. The users are increased by 5.4% as of 2019. If you want to make your Instagram profile look unique and attractive, then you should follow these top tips to make your Instagram photos look cool.