How To Stand Out on Instagram With Awesome Images
We all know a first impression is crucial. When it comes to Instagram, you have mere milliseconds to hook a potential new follower. So how can you stand out amidst the millions of accounts on Instagram? Inspiring photos are a great start to your effective Instagram marketing campaign. But you don’t need to be a professional photographer to have stunning images. Most smart phones have built in cameras that take high-quality photos that you can edit and crop to your liking. Following a few additional simple steps can have you on your way to high quality, audience-capturing Instagram photos. Here are 7 tips for bumping up the Wow factor on your Instagram feed.
The overall look of your individual photographs makes a big impact on the viewer. Pay attention to things like composition and balance when framing your photos. A good guideline to follow is the rule of thirds: divide the picture plane into thirds horizontally and vertically using a 9-grid system. Ideally, the most important part of your image — your subject — should be at the intersection of two of these lines on the grid. You can enable gridlines on your smart phone to help you out if you’re new to this way of composing pictures. Using this method will create photos that are pleasing to the eye on subtle levels, making your pictures energetic, interesting, and harmonious.
Let the grid system also help you balance your composition diagonally. Diagonal lines make dynamic compositions that have movement and intrigue. If there is a concentration of imagery at one corner, balance that out with an object at the opposite corner. This arrangement will move your viewer eyes through the image, drawing them in and increasing engagement.
Choosing an effective or cool angle for your photo can make a difference in your overall photo as well. Don’t be afraid to get up on a chair or a ladder to take a fantastic overhead shot of your product. Try straight-on views for portraits of people or animals for direct and immediate imagery.
Make sure that your photos have a clear focal point that communicates what your product is and what your brand is all about. Don’t clutter the image with too much visual information – keeping photos concise and clear will help increase brand recognition and retention. Depending on the product, the background you choose for your object can make a big difference. Fashion and outfit shots tend to be best paired with a patterned backdrop or tiled floor, while beauty products stand out against solid, neutral backgrounds. Be sure to think about texture in your photo, too – including layers of cool surfaces like marble, concrete, or hardwood will make the image eye-catching and memorable.
Crop and Edit:
When taking your photos it’s a good idea to include more of the image in the frame than you need and later edit down to your perfect shot. Orient the lens horizontally to maximize the in-frame content and use cropping tools on your phone’s camera (or Photoshop if you’re using a regular camera) to cut away extraneous imagery that doesn’t serve your shot. You can ramp up your images, too, with editing apps like FaceTune, Litely, and Snapseed. These tools will help you have more control over the look of your photos – create perfect skin and white teeth in portraits; retouch images in the right spots; and even add text to your photos to make them more interesting. Ultimately, these beautifying tricks will get you more followers and more likes!
The filter feature on Instagram is a great way to get your pictures to go from pretty good to totally fabulous with just a few clicks. You can use filters to improve the look of your photos; add effects, like aging or weathering; manipulate colors and contrasts; or highlight certain features of the image. Recent research has shown that using filters that increase contrast, exposure, and warmth positively affect followers’ engagement with photos. Filters like Hefe, Rise, Mayfair, and Valencia were particular favorites among those surveyed, attracting more likes, views, and comments than photos with other filters. Of course, the filter you use depends on the style of your brand, so don’t stray from your established aesthetic necessarily. Remember to be true to your style! If you’re still searching for the right filter, Shift is an app that allows you to customize filters that will be perfect for you.
Let There Be Light:
No amount of filters or editing can undo bad lighting in a photo. Make sure that your subjects are well lit. Usually natural light is the best, no matter what the subject. For outdoor shots, aim for sunrise, sundown, or overcast days for the most beautiful light. For indoor lighting, also try to shoot in as much natural light as you can. And remember that lighting creates effect: to highlight the volume of an object in your photo, try lighting it from the side; and for the most flattering effects go with a direct frontal light source.
The Bigger Picture:
People browsing Instagram will start by looking at your landing page first, before drilling down into individual photos. So be sure to keep in mind the overall look of your page and make it as beautiful as the single images that make it up. Consider the pacing of your images – don’t overload your page with heavily detailed images; instead, intersperse detailed photos with simple, pared down ones and vice versa. Styla.com suggests using a 1:3 ratio to compose your page. When you upload new photos they appear right next to the last one you posted and right above the third one. Keeping the look of these adjacent photos in mind when posting your pics will keep your page consistent and balanced!
Your Instagram page is part of your branding, so be sure to stick with one look and feel to your page. Newcomers to your feed will take in the overall aesthetic when assessing your brand and deciding whether or not to follow you. Your page should capture the feel of your brand. Once you’ve decided on the tone of your page, maintain consistency throughout to maximize the effects of branding and brand recall. If your brand has more of a minimalist feel, go for crisp, graphic images, with a contrasting palette, like stark blacks and bright whites. If your company has a more romantic vibe, try a pastel palette and soft focus filter to capture the dreamy qualities of your brand. Whatever your vibe be sure to stay true to it throughout your feed to create focused, recognizable branding.
Your Instagram page tells the story of your brand and you’ll want that story to accurately reflect who you are. The photos you upload to your feed should be beautifully shot, well-composed, dynamic, and stylish – just like you! Don’t be afraid to edit, crop, and get creative with angles and lighting. Keeping the overall look of your page in mind in addition to the individual appearance of each photo, will create consistency in your feed and, ultimately, cultivate brand recognition. This means more likes, followers, and returns for your company!