Why your Instagram Photos Suck

penguin on a stool

Instagram penguin

Every phone is a camera. All phones connect to the Internet. The online world is now populated with purple out of focus food.

Yep. I'm talking to you. That breakfast platter, the one you sent out this morning on Instagram, were the eggs really green and fuzzy?

Instagram brought photo sharing to the world. Flickr or Facebook allowed sharing after the fact; Instagram gave us instant upload goodness.

Sadly, Instagram didn't build in basic photography skills in the app. They did pack in filters. Those filters that give photos a vintage, lomo, or I don't know what the heck that filter is filter.

You've been abusing both the lack of skill and those filters. Let's get you out of that bad place.

There are hundreds of photography lessons to give, sharing five particularly relevant ones saves time.

Tip 1: Light the place up – the biggest problem with your photography on the phone isn't you, it's the lighting. You're not going to bring your own flash and the one on the phone likely won't work well. Do what you can by finding an angle where you're not blocking the light and the food isn't otherwise in the shadows.

Tip 2: Foucs the shot – cameras on phones should come with a focus button, most just 'autofocus'. Many don't work well without practice….and great lighting. To improve your ability to focus, first light up the shot as best you can. Second is to move to a distance where the lighting is even across the shot. Third – yep 3rd – sit the phone on the table, a box, on anything that's not moving. No matter how steady your hand, it moves.

Tip 3: Start with no filter on – Instagram now comes with several filter choices, and the ability to lighten, darken, and more. Those can all be applied after the shot is taken. Before you apply any filters or changes, check to make sure the shot is well lit and focused. Toss the bad ones. Taking another shot is easy.

Tip 4: Darker isn't better – your photo is well lit, in focus, and it's a keeper. You've applied a filter and you're ready to share. Stop. Take a moment to look at what you're going to share. Did the filter make it so dark we can't see the face, the toast, or the actual flowers. Is the filter making things too blurry, especially faces? Just give it a once over, or better yet, ask the person your with to take a peek.

Tip 5: Take a ton of photos – the best way to get great photos, and the secret of many pro photographers, is to take more photos than you share. Literally, take hundreds of photos, thousands if you have the space. Don't share them all. Each one gives you a chance to refine your skills and your eye for what works and doesn't with filters.

All in all, the best advice is to spend a minute before you hit send. Alternate best advice? Don't start with taking the photo in Instagram. Just use the camera directly and pull the good ones into Instragram. It's actually faster when you need to take several shots in rapid succession.

What about you? What should be tip #6 for Instagram or similar app users?



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