Monday, April 23, 2012

Make-It-up Monday: 8 Instagram Tips

So this may be a tall order, but I'm going to try expanding my blog. There are some things I love doing that don't always involve church. I know that may be hard to believe seeing as that seems like all I post about. I really love design. The design of buildings, comics, websites, photos, cars... It all interests me. I love shapes and I love how shapes fit together to make the world more beautiful. We all love beauty, but many times we don't know what makes something attractive. I want to write about the things that make the world beautiful.

I'm not claiming to be the best. I just want to share. Many times I'm not going to talk about things I've created but about what others have created. I hope you enjoy.

Instagram is an app on iOS and Android. It is a photo enhancing app and social network. In its simplest form it takes regular pictures and makes them look better. It does this by adding filters, boarders and some simple effects like tilt shift.

The results make the picture look like something taken 40 years ago. But it also makes the picture warmer.

Tip 1: Don't Use It To Take Your Normal Photo
Instagram is not a service you want to use to take your typical family photos. I think it is being used best when it's used to capture abstract scenes. Some of the best pictures I've seen on Instagram aren't of whole houses, entire bikes, or complete guitars. The best pictures are of the parts of those things that create shapes that make the eye smile.


Look for simple patterns and shapes. Don't take a picture of a bike. Take a picture of the circular wheels or the angles of the frame. Look for angles that don't confuse the viewers eye, but draw it in.

Tip 2: Don't Use Instagram's Camera
I recommend using the camera app built into your phone (Or tablet). Many times those apps will take better pictures than Instagram's camera. You'll be able to focus, zoom, and snap multiple pictures quickly. Using your regular camera app and then importing those pictures into Instagram also allows you to crop the picture how you want. You get to decide what the viewer sees.

Also you don't want all your memories Instagrammed. In the future you might want your pictures with all their fidelity. Using your regular camera app allows you to have an Instagram version and a regular version.

Tip 3: Use Light to Your Advantage
Some of the best Instagram pics I've seen use light to create glare. In normal photography glare probably isn't good, but in Instagram it can give your pics that extra flare.

It makes the pictures seem as though they are bathed in light. It creates a warm glow and interesting focal points. Don't over use this, but it's nice ever once and a while.

Tip 4: Don't Take Pictures of Food (For The Most Part)
I've found that food always looks better in person than it does in pictures. I have a theory on that. I think the smell of the food interacts with the way that our eyes perceive it. Stinky food doesn't usually appear as good as food that smells good.

Until we get Smellagram, for the most part leave, the food pics to the pros. Food usually ends up looking like a big pile of halfway digested stomach content. If you absolutely must take pics of food I recommend using a black and white filter. It will take out the dull colors and increase the contrast.

Tip 5: Find Something to Focus On
If you have the touch to focus ability on your camera, use it. Find an object or item to focus on and touch the screen there. Many people will need to turn off auto focus in order to use this feature. This will give people's eyes a singular place to focus.

Tip 6: Use The Rule Of Thirds
The rule of thirds is basically dividing your picture into nine equal sections. It's easier to show you a picture than to explain it.

Rule of thirds

Line your subject or object up on one set of the lines. It's best to line it up on the horizontal and vertical lines. You can see how the girl in the picture above lines up with both the vertical and the horizontal lines. People say it adds tension to pictures... I think it just look more interesting.

Tip 7: Use The Filters and The Enhance Button
You probably already know how cool the filters are, but did you know about the enhance button. It automatically makes the blacks blacker and the whites whiter. This is usually a good thing.

The enhance button

A word of warning. Using enhance can make some pictures appear harsh. That can take away from the warmness Instagram is known for. If it makes your picture too harsh don't use it (duh).

Tip 8: Experiment!
The best part about digital photography is it cost you nothing to experiment! Take lots of pictures and you are sure to come out with some good... no, great stuff.

I hope these tips were helpful and have inspired you to make art. I'd love to follow you on Instagram. You can follow me at Gradearawk. Happy Instagramming!

Give some more tips in the comments section.

Thanks to JuliaMillard94, Loswhit, and Graysonlittle you should check them out on Instagram.