Largely what has made Instagram such a hit is the community and the ethos behind it. Instagram suggests that we should share the world in moments and images. Much as Twitter, it allows you to quickly capture a mood or a location, but unlike Twitter, it allows you to be far more descriptive and creative. These are largely photos of the mundane – ‘selfies’ taken in bathroom mirrors, and empty coke cans – but that’s the whole point: it’s turning everyday life into something beautiful. Who’d have thought that you could take a photo of your pencil case and see it quickly generate hundreds of comments and somehow find an artistic poignancy?
To really join in with Instagram though and to feel like you’re a part of this tremendous community that celebrates beauty in the mundane, you need to understand how to take great Instagram pictures and how to find the moments to capture. Read on for some tips…
Instagram is a lens through which you can view life, and that’s why the most effective pictures are those that somehow capture a moment or a mood unselfconsciously. But how do you go about achieving this? Well the first tip is to stop planning your pictures, and instead take them only when you feel that you want to capture the moment you’re in. Watching the sun come up with friends after a great party? Capture it. Completely relaxed with a pizza and your favourite TV show? Capture it. This is where Instagram excels.
In the spirit of this ‘moment framing’, you should also try to avoid setting shots up too much. If you capture a photo at an odd angle while you’re in a hurry then that will be much more interesting and authentic than if you sit down and perfectly compose the shot.
The Importance of Omission
Any good artist or good photographer knows, that you can tell a whole story simply by choosing carefully what to leave out of your image. Think about how poignant and melancholy a single empty chair can be around a table. Or an empty glass of wine with party string hanging off of the glass. The best Instagram pictures make you wonder what you’re looking at and what the story behind that item is. Is the empty wine glass all that remains from a wedding? Or a hen party? And what happened at that wedding? This is much more relatable to a wide audience than a photo of the bridal party posing, because the viewers are invited to create their own story. Why do you think that the Mona Lisa is so popular?
Find the Interesting Angle
If you have a scene you want to capture, but don’t think it’s going to look great as a photo, then try and simply change the focus or find a more obtuse angle. This might be a ‘behind the scenes’ shot for instance – someone tying their shoelace at a wedding, it might be an honest action shot – two people hugging and not realising they’re being photographed, or it might be the intricate detail on the grain of a piece of wood. Show people something original and different in a familiar scene and your image will have an instant appeal.
Using the Filters
Once you’ve captured your moment the fun begins – applying your filters. This is where you get to turn your random photo into a small work of art, so be careful in selecting the right filter for the occasion.
The secret to success with filters is to try and find the one that matches the mood of your image. Is it a sombre image? A small one? Or a big vibrant extravaganza? Either way, try to match the filter to the image – and don’t be afraid to be subtle with it as less is often more.
Follow these tips and you’ll discover the pure joy of using Instagram, and you’ll find you quickly amass a large selection of followers.