1.) Shoot in focus. Let’s start with a simple — but important — one! Make sure your lens is clean and ready to shoot. I always tap my phone’s screen before I snap the photo, so my lens can focus on the subject. Also try using the iPhone HD mode for extra definition for your shot.
2.) Be aware of your surroundings. Whether you’re shooting a landscape, person or object, be aware of how certain elements play together. Look up, down, and around for inspiration. Maybe it’s an eye-catching background, a boldly colored wall, cool flooring or tile you’re standing on, or an interesting sky in the distance, incorporate those surrounding elements that make your perspective unique.
3.) Take your photo within your camera’s square mode. If there’s a chance the photo will be posted to Instagram, I’ll shoot in my camera’s “square” mode. Doing so will ensure the photo is properly positioned (and won’t crop out any important subjects!).
4.) Experiment with editing apps. There are hundreds of apps dedicated to mobile photography. My top favorites are VSCO and Snapseed. Within each app, you can easily adjust brightness, color, detail, cropping, filtering and more.
5.) Turn up the brightness. This is a personal preference. I like my photos to appear light and bright, so I’ll turn up the brightness or “exposure.” Don’t go too crazy, though — you should still be able to see contrast and detail!
6.) Turn down the temperature. Again, this is personal preference — I almost always prefer to turn the “temperature” down for my iPhone pictures. I feel they look more crisp and clean this way.
7.) Consider the angle. Some photos look great when shot from above, like a delicious spread at weekend brunch, or looking up, say at an impressive skyscraper. Either way, I try to align and frame the photo with any existing straight lines or angles around the subject.
8.) Take advantage of natural light. It’s always best to shoot when natural light is present. Overhead lighting or low-light conditions can make your photos appear too warm, full of shadows, or grainy.
9.) Remember the rule of thirds. This is a Photography 101 concept, but a well-composed photo always stands out among the rest. Here’s a quick run-down on the rule of thirds to keep in mind.
10.) Have fun. Instagram (and photography, in general) is meant to be creative and fun! As much as this post is admittedly about capturing a great photo… not every photo will be “perfect.” And know when to put your phone down to fully enjoy the moment as it happens 😉