It's safe to say that Instagram is up there as one of my all time favourite forms of social media and possibly one of my most used apps to date. That isn't because I like to post billions of selfies on the regular (I try to keep that on the down low as much as possible) but I like the fact that it gives me the opportunity to share the things that I'm loving at the moment as well as it being a great way for building up followers in terms of blogging too. A few people have recently been asking what apps I use to add borders and create certain effects on my pictures, which is why I thought I'd put together a little post with 10 of my very own personal tips - the ones that I feel have helped me to improve when it comes to taking that perfect 'Instagram worthy' photograph. This isn't to say that you have to follow these steps in any way, but sometimes I just think it's nice just to get an idea of what others are using (especially if you're nosey like me!). You can follow me and keep updated with my posts over at - @marleylaceyx.
KEEP YOUR BACKGROUND SIMPLE
When taking photos indoors, I usually tend to go for a plain white or marble effect background as I just think it makes my photos look so much tidier and more professional if you like. For this, I either take them on top of my bedside table or on top of the canvas that I covered in a marble effect sticky back plastic. So yeah, if you've seen my marble backgrounds recently, it's not some swanky new table top or anything... I discovered this amazing bit of cheap and effective DIY on YouTube one day and fell in love with the idea!
POST AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE AND KEEP UPDATED DAILY
If you don't see me post at least 1 photo a day then assume that there's something drastically wrong with me. No, I'm joking but I'm not ashamed to admit that I am a bit of a news feed spammer at times, but that's only because Instagram is one of my favourite apps to use. I don't know about you guys, but I'm much more likely to follow an account if I see that they're active and post photos a few times a day... Whether it's pictures of food, their selfies, ootd posts or even photos of pets, I'm all for a bit of extra night time stalking material (I promise that wasn't meant to sound as creepy as it did). Most of the accounts that I follow are in fact my favourite bloggers, so my newsfeed is always exciting for me to browse through and I hope that people think the same when they have a nose at mine.
FILTERS ARE KEY
I believe that a good filter can completely transform any photograph, and for me it is the most important part of the whole 'editing' process. All of my recent photographs from the last few months have been edited on VSCO Cam which is amazing (if you haven't downloaded this yet, do it now!) - the ones that I use the most are A5, F2 and HB1 as they do a good job at taking out any yellow tones but also brighten up my photos and make white objects look even whiter which is great when it comes to my backgrounds. When it comes to Instagram filters, 2 of my favourites are Valencia and Lark but I don't tend to use these as much as I used to anymore.
WHITE BORDERS TO MAKE YOUR FEED LOOK NEATER
I've always loved a good old white border on my photos as I just think it makes my feed look so much cleaner and nicely spaced out. For this, I use an app called 'instant pic frames' (you can download this for free).
NATURAL LIGHTING IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
We all know that lighting is key, especially when it comes to getting that perfect selfie. Annoyingly, my bedroom is at the back of the house which overlooks my garden right next to some woods which means natural lighting is not something that I see very often when I'm indoors. However, when I do get the rare chance to embrace a sunny day, I try everything I can to avoid shadows in my photos by opening my blinds and taking them on my white chest of drawers that I strategically placed right by my window. Luckily, if you don't have a well lit room indoors, you can always brighten up your photos on the Instagram app which I've mentioned below in a little more detail.
USE THE INSTAGRAM EDITING TOOLS
Although I don't use the filters as much as I used to now I've been introduced to VSCO Cam, for me just the standard Instagram app is perfect for adding any final touches to an already edited photo. There are various amounts of simple tools to adjust the brightness, contrast, warmth and also to sharpen your photo which comes in handy if you feel that it just needs that little bit extra before you post.
GAIN INSPIRATION FROM FEEDS THAT YOU FOLLOW
Follow accounts that literally make you want to pick up your phone and take photos. The majority of the accounts that I follow are other bloggers/beauty lovers as those are the ones that intrigue me the most when scrolling through my feed. I love the fact that I'm constantly learning new things through interacting with other bloggers, whether it's being introduced to a new app, discovering upcoming beauty/fashion trends or finding new blogs to follow - in my opinion, Instagram is the best way to keep updated in every way possible.
USE PROPS THAT COMPLIMENT YOUR PHOTO
Make your background a little more exciting by adding a props that are related to your photo. I'm one of those people that have 'Instagram prop potential' in mind when I go out shopping and I'm constantly picking up new things that I think will look good on my feed. Flowers are my favourite thing to use when it comes to taking photos so when I receive a bunch from my lovely boyfriend, I'll make full use out of them before they're ready to throw away. Clearly, it would become a very expensive habit if I was to buy flowers for every time I took a new Instagram photo, so I've found that artificial flowers are a great alternative too. You can buy these from places such as Next, Dunelm and Wilko. I also like to use patterned notebooks, little printed cards, candles and cushions in my background. The Primark homeware section is an amazing place to visit if you're in need of some new props!
TRY STICKING TO A THEME
When I say 'theme', I don't mean that I post photos linked to the same subject - but if you have a little look at my account, you'll find that most of my photographs are edited with very similar filters as well as being bright and finished with the white border. I think it's mainly down to your own personal style when it comes to your feed but I would say my 'theme' is for my photos to look crisp, bright and colourful so that people are attracted to my account. This might not be something that everyone likes to go for and a lot of people might read this and wonder why I care so much but I would say that I take pride in the way that my Instagram account looks (sad, I know - but I think most bloggers would agree!).
DON'T BE SHY TO TAKE 100 OTHER PHOTOS BEFORE POSTING THE RIGHT ONE
I'm not ashamed to admit that there has probably been 1,000 other selfies taken before I've uploaded the 'perfect' one, and the same goes for any other photos that I take, even if it's just a simple picture of a new Mac lipstick. My friends laugh at me when I say that I'll upload a photo and then delete it if I feel that it doesn't suit my feed, but shamefully that is the case. Whenever I'm taking a photo of an object, I'll take about 5-10 photos from all different positions, angles, backgrounds etc and then I'll pick my favourite and that'll be the one that goes through my little editing process. I always find that it takes a few attempts to get the perfect shot which isn't such a bad thing as I'm constantly learning new tricks and finding out what works and what doesn't work for my feed in particular.
What are your top tips for taking the perfect Instagram photograph? Are there any other editing apps that you would recommend?