With 77.6 million users uploading 100 million photos per day, Instagram is the number one photo sharing site. So, while it’s still a great place to get noticed, there’s never been a more important time to make sure your photos stand out from the crowd.
Three professional photographers recently assembled to share their creative secrets with O2 Sessions. Making their passion for photography into careers, Bal Bhatla, Vicky Grout and Neil Andrews have learned how to get noticed on Instagram.
- Choose your background carefully
It’s natural to only think about the subject of your picture, but what’s going on behind is just as important. Portrait guru Vicky Grout spends her days photographing famous faces, so she knows what she’s talking about: “If the background isn’t done right, you can ruin the image. You don’t want a background that’s too cluttered or noisy.”
Take time to pick a background that complements the foreground. Doorways provide a natural frame. However, if you want to focus on your subject and blur out the background, go for a wide aperture.
- Find the right angle
Neil Andrews gives familiar London landmarks new life by finding angles that wouldn’t occur to others. He suggests not staying still: “Stand in the centre, stand to the side, get symmetry, get asymmetry. Try all kinds of angles. The beauty of today’s devices is that they can store loads of images that can easily be deleted, so take lots of shots until you catch something special.” Looking for a low angle shot? Turn your phone upside down so that the camera is close to the floor.
- Try out manual mode
Because modern smartphones take great picture just on automatic, it can be tempting to leave it at that. But by playing with settings on Pro Mode (such ISO, shutter speed or aperture) you can find ways to take truly distinctive pictures. Most flagship phones will also have custom settings slots where you can save your perfect set ups. Vicky Grout says: “Get to a stage where you’re shooting fully manually. You don’t have to right at the beginning, but that should be the aim.”
- Be active in the community
Creativity isn’t just about developing your own skill. It’s about collaborating with and learning from others. By being an active user, you’ll get more engagement, more followers and more exposure. Joining in 2011, Neil Andrews quickly joined a London photography group: “It was great to go and talk to them, be inspired by them, see what they did, find out what apps they used, what was their style of photography and meet people with the same passion as me.”
- Find the right light
Low light photography master, Bal Bhatla, uses light to make his pictures stand apart. He says: “Start with a light source. It could be a streetlamp, a lit shop front, or even the reflection in a puddle. That should give you an interesting image.” If you’ve taking pictures in low light, set the shutter speed to 1 second and keep ISO low to avoid a grainy picture. When you have a good light source, increase shutter speed.
Image credit: Creative Pictures via pathdoc/Shuttestock