by Mia Olea Garza

On Instagram, photo quality matters. Fortunately, you don’t need a fancy camera to enhance the quality of your photos; it’s easy to use what you have when you know the right choices to make. Whether it’s your personal or a brand/professional account, the same general practices apply. Following a couple of simple rules can take your Instagram’s quality from beginner to professional.

  1. Take enough photos

Find someone who is willing to take the time and effort to take your photo. Try a variety of locations, backgrounds, and poses so that when it comes time to post you have a large selection of photos from which to choose.

  1. Size matters

Instagram will cut off photos if they are too long or tall, so it’s important to keep that in mind when figuring out where to place the subject of your photo. Although, typically, it’s smart to follow the rule of thirds, keep this in mind if you are framing your subject on either side of the photo since it gives a sense of dimension. Instagram leaves square photos as is so if you ever want to play it safe, use tools and apps that can help you reformat an image. If you’re planning on posting more than one photo in a post, they should each have the same specs for uniformity.

  1. Editing made easy

Don’t rely solely on Instagram’s editing options as they are very limited. There are plenty of free apps that make editing easy and pro quality! Adobe has official free app versions of their professional programs including Photoshop Fix and Lightroom, that allow you to hide blemishes and color edit. For more creative editing, VCSO Cam is also a great app with more creative options. When editing your photos, it’s important to create a consistent style. For example, if you are going for a light or clean look, you might want to keep the exposure high on all of your photos, but if you are going for more of a moody/dark look, you should dim the primary colors on your photos.

  1. People want to see YOU

The posts that do best on IG tend to be the ones with people in them. Even better, is when the audience can make a personal connection with the people/person shown. While group shots can do well too, solo shots perform even better, so don’t be shy!

  1. Lights, camera, action!

Lighting can make or break a good photo, especially if you’re just taking a quick shot on your phone. Natural lighting is always the best, so if you can find a good outdoor space for a photo, that is the ideal location. If you’re indoors, position yourself near a well-lit window. Be sure not to stand directly in front of a window to avoid backlight and unwanted shadows. You want the light in front of you versus behind. If the lighting is dim, you may need to add flash.

There are plenty of rules regarding hashtags, words, and algorithms to enhance the amount of traffic you get, but ultimately, IG is about the photos. No matter how much traffic you’re able to attract, people decide to follow you for the photos you post and the cohesiveness of your feed. If you keep these 5 simple tips in mind when an IG-worthy moment occurs, you’ll be ready to capture an amazing photo that will perform well on Instagram.