6 Simple Hacks To Make Your iPhone Instagram Look Professionally Photographed

Capturing things from a unique vantage point adds interest.

When it comes down to it, the most important part of your Instagram post is the photo. A picture speaks a thousand words, right? Make sure your pictures say it all. Even if all you’ve got in your Instagram arsenal is your iPhone’s camera, you can make a story of everything you photograph if you put your own unique focus on it.

Download this cheat sheet for 6 simple hacks on how to make your iPhone Instagram look professionally photographed.

1. It’s All About How You Look At It

The number one key to a great photo is putting your own personal touch on it. You don’t want the same old picture of food or the sunset as someone else. Set the scene, add personal belongings to the shot, or take a unique angle. Think about what can accompany a scene that sets your picture apart from the stream of constant photos. If you’re shooting a person, shoot from far away and slightly above them to give them a thinner appearance. Also make sure to shoot in landscape mode for wide angles – and especially, of course, if you’re shooting a landscape. Don’t settle for good. Don’t settle at all. Make it your best – take a photo that makes you feel.

2. Lighting Matters. A Lot.

Make sure your lighting's spot on to get the most out of your photo.

Make sure your lighting’s spot on to get the most out of your photo.

First off, don’t use built in flash. Iphone cameras are definitely improving on it, but the flash tends to create a washed out effect that’s not a good look for anyone or anything. For the light source, think broad and think narrow. The broader the light source is – you know, like, the sun – the softer the lighting in the photo will be. Vice versa, a narrow source like a lamp will create a harsher light effect. Soft lighting tends to be more flattering, so if you absolutely can’t escape that harsh light, try to diffuse it with plastic or white fabric if available. If your subject is movable and you want to emphasize one side over the other, place the side of your subject you want to emphasize with the light source shining on that side. This technique draws out textures. Again, on the other hand, if you want to hide wrinkles or allow shadow to create volume, leave that area in the dark.

 3. Fake It Till You Make It

Add saturation to emphasize elements of photographs.

Add saturation to emphasize elements of photographs.

A little editing never hurt anybody, and you can’t look at life through rose colored glasses if you didn’t have a filter. So go ahead and embrace Instagram filters. Add some light on top of your light and brighten up dark shots and turn up the contrast – but not too much, because your picture will look less than real. If your photo looks yellow or dim, adding the “warmth” filter can help you to bring up the heat while bringing down the dullness of your picture. For mostly every filter, make sure the strength is no more than twenty-five percent, or it will look unnaturally edited. Fake it ’til you make it, but at the same time, keep it real.

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4. Time To Focus

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Flowers as a focal point create a center for the shot.

Establishing one clear focal point in your image will not only improve your photo overall, but is statistically proven to boost likes. And who doesn’t want to boost likes? Unless you’re deliberately going for a fuzzy effect, focus, focus, focus – a blurry shot is the number one thing that determines an amateur shot from a professional one. Your iPhone’s camera is pretty smart, but give it some pointers by tapping the screen to bring your main subject into focus. After you focus, don’t adjust the difference between the phone and the subject. This can erase all the work you did to set the focus in the first place. Iphones also don’t like close calls – try not to take a picture any closer than three inches from the phone to the subject, as it will likely never come into focus. If you must capture that close-up, a micro-lens could be a good investment for you.

5. Add Some Tools To Your Tool Belt

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Keep focus on what you want to focus on, and not what you don’t.

Keep some tricks up your sleeve by downloading some handy apps that will up your photo game.  For $2.99, Camera+ will add clarity to your pictures – literally. The built in filter on the app with bring your pictures into focus and draw out the natural light in even low-light photos. Advanced shooting modes and touch exposure will fool people into thinking you have a top of the line camera. The Camera Awesome app will help you out with composition and lighting for free. Also free, the Snapseed app offers filters, retouching, detailing, and everything else you can need for iPhone photo perfection.

6. Give It Some Flair

A little bit of effect can go a long way.

A little bit of effect can go a long way.

Once you’ve mastered every aspect of picture taking, take it to the next level by adding effects – if you wish. If it fits the style of your account, posts with text draw the eye and subsequently draw likes and follows. Over easily allows users to add simple and elegant text over pictures you can snap directly from the app, draw from the web, or upload from your photo library – and it’s free. For around five dollars, Bazaart will give you everything you need to crop, edit, and add any effect you want to your already existing photo – it’s a mini photoshop powerhouse for your phone. The “cut-out” tool will work wonders for anyone looking to get creative and blend images together.

If all you’ve got is an iPhone, you have everything you need to make your Instagram photos look professionally taken. For free. With these tricks of the trade under your belt, get out there and get behind the lens of your iPhone camera. Your Instagram will thank you.

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