7 tips for better Instagram photos


Tips-for-better-instagram-photos7 tips for better Instagram photos

Today’s post is a fun one, and also one that’s been requested quite a few times by a lot of you.
Ever since the Photography category took off last year, I’ve been getting a lot of comments here and on my Instagram as well as emails, asking me for both Instagram and phone photography tips. Because I never use my phone for blog photography anymore, I wasn’t really sure how to go about doing a phone photography post. I do use my phone quite a lot when it comes to Instagram, so I thought that I would kill two birds with one stone (horrible metaphorical phrase by the way, why would anyone want to kill birds?).

The tips mentioned in this post can be applied to your phone photography even if you don’t have an Instagram account. Please keep in mind that most of these photos were taken with my phone, so they might not exactly be the usual blog-quality photos, but they do look great on Instagram.


And if you happen to take your photos outside, even better. This is something that I always stress in my Photography posts, but I never get tired of repeating myself. Using even, natural light is crucial for great photos. This what my setup usually looks like:

How to take good pictures for Instagram

As you can see, it’s pretty much the same as my blog photography setup. I shoot by the window on a bright surface and I also use a reflector to make sure that I eliminate as many shadows as possible, it also helps to brighten up the picture as well.


As you know, Instagram photos display as square tiles and that’s something you need to keep in mind, especially when you take pictures that you plan on posting later on. Sometimes, when cropping photos they can become blurry and not very sharp. To avoid blurry photos I either shoot in square mode, or I take a full-frame photo, but keeping in mind that I will crop it later on. Here’s an example:

Instagram photography tipsAfter cropping:

Instagram Photography tips1


Up until a few months a go, I wasn’t too active on Instagram and I basically used it as a mean of promoting my blog content. This means that most of the pictures that you saw on my Instagram account were also featured on the blog. This also means that I used my DSLR. Right now, I do use my phone here and there, but the truth is, the pictures taken with my Samsung aren’t as great as those taken with my Canon DSLR. Still, when I do use my phone, I rarely shoot pictures using the Instagram app. First of all, when you use the app, you can only take one photo at a time before you’re prompted to chose your filter, etc. This means a lot of going back and forth to get that perfect shot. I highly suggest using your phone’s camera, rather that using the Instagram app. It not only allows you to take multiple shots at once, but you can also change your settings and customize your photos a bit more.


This goes especially for those photos that we take whenever we go out. Whether you want to take a picture of a delicious salad you just had at your favorite place, or you want to snap a selfie of you and your bestie at a party, make sure to take a lot of pictures so that you have a lot to chose from. First, this leaves you with bigger chances of having that perfect shot, and second, you do not want to be that person that stops everyone from enjoying their night out, just because you NEED that perfect shot. I know people who are so crazy about constantly posting content on social media, that it really stops them from enjoying their lives. Whether you’re going out for a walk in a park, out to eat with your friend, or you’re planning on bar hopping all night, take a few pictures, post them whenever you get a chance, and don’t forget to enjoy your time out.



This is important for both DSLR and phone photography. Even the slightest movement can ruin a picture, so always make sure that your hands are steady. To make this easier you can lean against the wall, or rest your elbows on a flat surface when taking your pictures.




This might seem obvious, but if you take photos with your phone, it is crucial that you always wipe off your lens. We don’t even realize how many times a day we touch our phone, and if you wear makeup then you also know just how much foundation and other makeup products love to stick to the surface of your phone (although this happens only when you actually talk to someone on the phone and does anyone even do that anymore? :P ). Then, of course, there’s also sweat, your fingerprints and all that other stuff that isn’t very cute. Point is, always clean your lens before taking your pictures. This will help your images to be more crisp, clear and not blurry.



Now this, right here, is huge. Editing is a must, especially if like me, you’re a blogger and you really want your photos to be aesthetically pleasing. When using my DSLR, I always edit my photos using Photoshop (up until last year I used Picmonkey, you can see a few of my editing tutorials right here). Now, whenever I use my phone for taking pictures, I usually use a combo of both VSCO cam app and the Instagram app itself. In Photoshop, I always adjust things like contrast, brightness, sharpness, and shadows. Here’s how I edit my photos in my phone:

how to edit photos for instagramFor the first three parts, I used VSCO Cam app. I used a HB1 Layer, then adjusted sharpness and highlights, sometimes I also play around with exposure. The next three steps are done in the Instagram app. I adjust the Lux effect, brightness and once again, highlights. I follow a similar process for all of my pictures.

how to get bright nstagram photos

To see an updated version of this post click here.


  • Reply
    Jodie Vernon
    August 11, 2015 at 10:44 am

    So many useful tips, I’m definitely going to be using them to improve my Instagram pics!

    Jodie xo // Jodie Loue

  • Reply
    Rachael Broomfield
    August 11, 2015 at 11:16 am

    You’ve given some brilliant tips! I always wipe down my cameras on my phone – it’s so gross how much gunk can build up.

    Rachael at

  • Reply
    Amreeta Sagoo
    August 11, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Some great tips, it couldn’t of come at a better time as i’m trying to be more active on Instagram and work on my photography skills :)

    Amreeta |

  • Reply
    Cat Byrne
    August 11, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    amazing advice! natural light is so important with photography xx

    je suis cat

  • Reply
    August 11, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Brilliant tips, your photos are always gorgeous!

    Maddy, xo // UNSTITCHEDD

  • Reply
    August 11, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Love this. But I do hate to admit it took me far too long to actually shoot in square!

    Annabel ♥
    Mascara & Maltesers

  • Reply
    Giselle Flores
    August 11, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    I love this! Great tips, can’t wait to try them out!!

  • Reply
    Nereyda Gonzalez
    August 11, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Bookmarking this! Love your pictures so I’ll listen to any tips :)

  • Reply
    August 11, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks for these – definitely saved the post! I’m always looking to take better pictures!

    Nabihah | The Sunday Wardrobe

  • Reply
    Ilia Mura
    August 12, 2015 at 6:34 am

    I always love me some photography posts :) Liked the point about cleaning your lens! I feel like it easily gets forgotten and makes SUCH a big difference.

    x Ilia from Ilia’s Cup of Tea

  • Reply
    August 12, 2015 at 7:49 am

    These are great tips!! Up until a few weeks ago I just slapped a filter on my pics without using the other editing tools on Instagram! This will really help me too

    Nihaad – The Little Blog of STUFF

  • Reply
    Sophie Sierra
    August 12, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Absolutely love these wonderful tips and tricks Paula, your IG shots are always out of this world and seriously to die for, and it’s no wonder with all your gorgeous advice and knowledge. The dreamiest Instagram inspo there is <3

    Sophie | soinspo xo

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Hisle
    August 12, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of VSCO Cam. It might be because I used a flip phone up until last year so I’m just not tech savvy, but I found it so difficult to figure out compared to Snapseed and Afterlight! However, I am now thinking it’s the better program, I just needed to get used to it. I rarely take pictures with my phone though – the camera on it is terrible because I cheaped out on my phone. I won’t do that again.

  • Reply
    August 12, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I’ve been on holiday for the past month and have really been
    looking forward to reading your blog when I got back- it didn’t
    disappoint! xx


  • Reply
    Jasmine Harding
    August 12, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Your photos are BEAUTIFUL! Such an amazing set up you have. VSCO cam is a great editing app for Instagram pics, I always use it!

    Jasmine |

  • Reply
    August 12, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I love al the photos on your blog, seriously, they’re all absolutely amazing! And these tips are great as well, very helpful, i usually struggle with taking my instagram photos(

  • Reply
    Katya Van Bick
    August 13, 2015 at 10:23 am

    You’re photography is gorgeous so I’ll definitely be taking these tips on board. So helpful thank you!

    Katya | The Beauty Harbour

  • Reply
    Cori Scherer
    August 13, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Such great tips. Love your Instagram and all of your bright photos! Love the marble tray you showed as well.

  • Reply
    Jasmine Talks Beauty
    August 13, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I loved reading this, it was so helpful :) I really like your Instagram too by the way! xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

  • Reply
    Eli Dumas
    August 15, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Tip number 6: I never thought of that, so stupid of me! Thanks for sharing, this has been most helpful <3

  • Reply
    Jolie Luu
    August 17, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Love this post. Your editing has a vintage feel to it that I absolutely love.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2015 at 2:45 am

    This is such a lovely post!!!Love your pictures!

    Rachel x

  • Reply
    Rita Macedo
    August 26, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Your photos always look lovely! I think the hardest thing is actually to keep steady! I always end up shaking or moving something! I always use the VSCO Cam app to edit the photos on my phone, I think it’s really good! Xx

  • Reply
    Nikola Hessová
    September 4, 2015 at 6:31 am

    I love this so much, but the problem for me as a beauty blogger is, that if I correct/edit photos like this, I totally destroy real colors of lipsticks, blush etc. And I think, that my audience want to see reviewed products in real colors…But at the same time, I really like bright soft concept of pictures…so what to do? :) How to get bright photos but with real colors of captured makeup products. I always struggle with this using my DSLR.

  • Reply
    Tania Jayne
    September 28, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I love your photos & will definitely be referring back to this to improve my own pics! Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

  • Reply
    Eliza Dayanghirang
    October 21, 2015 at 4:37 am

    I love how you have so much to share! Thanks for all your tips! I’m a beginner when it comes to blogging, so I read your posts for reference. I’m struggling right now because I still don’t have a camera, I just use an iPhone 6 and I was wondering if you have a post for tips on that? Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Laura Ann
    October 26, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Finally I’ll be able to have better instagram photos! lol! Thanks for you tips! xxx

  • Reply
    Shayah Isabella
    November 12, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Paullaaaaa, please do an in-depth post on photography composition! I need yo’ tips! Forgive me if you already have…I may have missed it!

  • Reply
    Tia Jones
    January 20, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Good point about cleaning lenses. Although it is like the most obvious thing I should remember to do, I still manage to forget to do it. :P Great post!


  • Reply
    Sora Simone
    February 5, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    I posted instagram photos too using DSLR and edited with Lightroom. Quality of your posted photos is important. I love this article,very informative.

    Sky Lacea |

  • Reply
    chelsea van egmond
    February 8, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Thank you so much again! I spent all day on your blog and it is so helpful and honest! i just made an instagram account and I am really going to use your tips!

  • Reply
    Emily Aagaard
    July 24, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    I love this! Great tips!

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