1. Don’t Use the Instagram Camera
I know you want to. It’s easier. It’s quicker. And how much difference can it possibly make anyway? The answer is a lot. You will find that the native camera takes better pictures, responds more quickly and is better capable of making adjustments for lighting. You are far more likely to get a clear picture that is in focus and is how you want it to look than by using the Instagram camera
2. Don’t Use the Native Camera Either
Chances are there is an app that does a better job than your native camera. I was dubious about this when I first discovered it. But certain apps are capable of taking all the potential of your camera and making a vast improvement upon what your standard camera can do.
If you are using an iPhone then two of my favourites for photos are Camera+ and ProCamera (available in the app store) and if you are on Android (as I now am because I’ve crossed over to the dark side) then so far I like PicsArt and Pro HDR Camera (available in Google Play)
It can take a while to wrap your head around all the different settings but once you do it is well worth it and you are much more likely to get the image the way you want it to be.
3. Don’t Get Locked Into a Square
I hear this complaint about Instagram all the time. Who takes photos in squares? What is that? Who composes in a square when it looks so much better in landscape or portrait. Well the answer is you can have your instagram photos and your non-square cake too.
The apps essentially put white space around your photo to make up a square, but because the backgrounds on social media are all white, it won’t appear to be a square, and the photo will look as you intended it to.
On iphone, Squaready does this and on Android Square Instasize does this.
The only thing to be aware of is that if you do this you can’t apply filters in Instagram without that affecting the colour of the whitespace. So you are probably better off editing and applying filters before sending them to Squaready or Square Instasize.
I much prefer editing to filters. I think it gives you a whole lot more control over the images and makes them more unique because you are not using the exact same filter as everyone else.
For iPhone I like Camera+ for this and on Android I like PicsArt.
5. Do you need a border?
This question is rhetorical. You don’t. Let the image stand out on its own without the distraction of a border.