I'm not going to tell you that I'm an Instagram expert, but now that I'm almost reaching my 1000th Instagram photo, I wanted to share a few of my personal tips that I picked up over the last few years. Things that I've learned and seen that work and don't work. Let's get right into it!
1. Lighting, lighting, lighting!
The right lighting is so crucial for a good Instagram picture. For food pictures, bright natural sunlight always makes best and makes everything (the food) look most appealing. I also always make my photos a bit brighter and decrease the shadows, simply using the editing on the iPhone photo app. No one really likes dark pictures, so always try to capture nice and light shots.
2. Don't get too excited
I know Instagram is probably one of the most fun social media channels to use, but don't get too excited and post too often in one day. If you're taking care of the Instagram of a big company, I think around 3-4 posts is good. If it's your personal Instagram account, don't post more often than 3 times a day. Also try to spread your posts throughout the day, so you're not being 'spammy'.
Even if your pic is focusing on for example a nice cup of coffee, if the background isn't nice, the pic won't be as good as it could be. I'm a fan of white background when it comes to food pics, but a nice wooden table, white marble or a cool magazine are also beautiful backgrounds.
4. Make it personal
People not only like to see beautiful food/lifestyle/travel pictures, but they also like to see the person who's behind the camera. Therefore I think an occasional selfie is kind of a must, but don't overdo it! If you're posting selfies every day, people will quickly get bored of your feed, and they really don't need a daily reminder of what you look like (unless you're a celebrity, then we want to see what you look like every day (girl logic)).
5. No flash
Flash photography rarely gives you nice Insta-worthy results, so try to keep it to a minimum. Going-out photos of course need a flash most of the time, but then add a filter to dim down the flashy-ness.
Hashtags are really important if you want other people to find and discover your lovely photos. Keep the hashtags relevant to the pictures and please no #tagsforlikes #likes4likes #cutegirl #follow4follow #whyareyouusingallthesehashtags. If you're posting a nice photo, you don't want to clutter it with hashtags nobody likes seeing. You want people to genuinely like and follow because they like your content, so relevant hashtags are key. Keep it to around 5 or 6 max.
If you've just made a nice picture you're proud of, why not share it with the brand/service that's in it by tagging them? It's not only nice for them to see that their product/service/food is appreciated, but they might also re-post it, which will get you more followers. Always a bonus! This works well with new businesses, service-based brands and magazines.
Always include a location if you're going to a restaurant or other cool place. This is mostly for your followers to know where the place is, they might want to go there too. Sharing is caring!
9. Be courteous
If it's not your own picture, always mention the source. It's fine to re-post quotes and other fun things, but if you didn't make it yourself, it's nice if you give the creator some credit.
1o. Keep it real
A little filter here and there can make a picture look that extra bit better, but if the pic was bad to start with, no filter in the world can ever make it work. Also, be careful with adding too many filters, borders and effects. Clean, bright photos are still the most popular ones so stick to the real stuff!
I definitely should start following my own tips a little better (such as using good hashtags and making it a little more personal), but I hope some of these tips are new to you and useful! Let me know what your best Instagram tip or absolute no-go is, I'd love to know!