Five simple tips for improving your Instagrams

Do you ever have those weeks when you put so much pressure on yourself to create but your brain freezes as if in protest? Yeh, I’ve been feeling like that recently and it’s just got in the way of doing anything. So I decided to write the title of the first post I could think of and funnily enough the next morning a whole host of others came to mind.

So let’s get stuck in to this one then. Basically, I faced the white screen of death the other week (iPhone holders will know that this spells doom) and was forced to use my old iPhone for a week. As I browsed through my old photos on the tube, I made the happy discovery of some old Instagrams and, without blowing my own trumpet too much, realised how much better my posts have got. I know this is part as a result of phones and Instagram getting more sophisticated but it got me thinking about what I’ve learned. 

I don’t have a huge following so this isn’t about gaining followers, but if you love the app or want to improve your photography skills I thought you might be interested in getting a handful of tips. 


Get out and about

The quickest way to get better and to enjoy the app even more is to simply take more photos and to do this you just need to get out and about. Take a wander on your lunch break, join an instameet or pluck up the courage to meet up with someone you’ve had a regular exchange with over your snaps. You’ll learn to notice different things, pick up some great tips and have a camera roll of things to share.

Remember the rule of two-thirds

An often repeated photography trick that you can apply to Instagram too. Katya provides an explanation of this in her great guide.



Keep it straight

Instagram works on grids, so thinking about lines when you take pictures and post them can make a really simple improvement. Your horizon has got to be straight for a start, which you can fix through ‘adjust’ on the edit tab. I also like to play around with the vertical and horizontal perspectives to fix those occasions where I’ve not got the angle right (like doors that look like they’re leaning backwards.) You just have to be careful that you don’t go too far and make it look squashed.

Apply some simple edits

I use Snapseed (iPhone/ Android) for cropping and tidying up pictures. It’s great for removing little details like cigarette ends (try the ‘healing’ tool), has a handy auto-straight feature and a set of simple-to-use edits to enhance your snap. If I’m in Snapseed or Instagram I often up the exposure, contrast, structure and sharpening, and reduce shadows to add a bit of depth.


Curate your feed

This is a tricky one and despite reading loads of articles I’m not sure I’ve got it spot on yet. But ever since I started using the 3×3 grid on Frame Swagg to plan out my posts, I’ve noticed a better mix of photos because I can easily work out what looks good or not. Matching up colour pallets on the commute to work has got a bit addictive (sad I know!) As for content, I like to think I have a bit of an accidental theme of things I like, a bit like the blog really. So you’ll often see coffee shops, colourful houses, places to visit and things to see. 

If you want a few more tips and app suggestions, you should check out Katy and Jaime’s posts. 

The danger with all of this is that you can become a bit obsessive about it! I’m still looking for ways to improve so do leave a comment if you’ve picked up any handy tips.

Oh and if you want to follow me, you’ll find me @thiscitylifeldn.