For bloggers, social media gurus, business owners, or those who just want an aesthetic Instagram feed, it all comes down to posting great photos. Keeping up a popular Instagram takes work and it’s always better to take your own photos instead of grabbing stock photos. Your audience will be more engaged with you and your feed will seem way more personal if you have some self-portraits sprinkled in every once in a while.
But Shea, I’m not a photographer! Don’t you worry. You don’t need to have fancy equipment or a personal assistant constantly following you around snapping candid photos. You actually can do everything that I’m about to share below on your own! There’s no need for professional photography experience to create a better Instagram feed, you just need to be motivated and willing to experiment and grow.
Lucky for you, I have a quick and easy guide on how to get some great Instagram photos to boost your engagement and bring your feed to the next level.
(Note: The following links are affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you should you choose to purchase through these links.)
1. Decide on a Brand Image or Aesthetic
Instagrams that have a clear and consistent theme often have a higher follower count. They’re more captivating and pleasing to the eye, so it’s much more tempting to hit that “Follow” button when we see a beautiful feed. Take a moment to decide what color palette you like. Do you want photos that are the same color temperature? Photos that are mostly fresh and clean? Maybe some that are dark and moody? Make a Pinterest board for inspiration or keep a folder on your phone of photos that you could potentially use for your feed. Start brainstorming and have a clear idea before you launch.
2. Use a Self Timer
Now that you’ve decided on the types of photos that you want to take, make sure you have some way of taking self-portraits. The best option is to use a device with a self-timer. Most phones have self-timer options, but if you want really crisp and clear photos, a DSLR camera is your better option. If you’re a serious blogger or photographer, chances are you already have a camera that can be hooked up to a remote. I currently own a Sony a5100 that allows me to use my iPhone as a remote! Check out this video below to see how I attach my iPhone to my camera and use it to take awesome self-portraits.
3. Vary Your Posing and Locations
Make the most out of every photo shoot session! Get a variety of photos during one photo shoot so you can have content to post over the span of a few days. A single photo shoot can look like different ones if you switch up your outfit, change your location, and mix up your posing. Some tricks I use are changing my hair and accessories and maybe adding a jacket over my outfit before moving to a different location. I’ll take some close up portraits and full body shots to switch things up as well. Play with the angles and lighting to really change the mood and tone of as well.
4. Location Scouting
If you’re out at a cute restaurant, walking through a cool part of your hometown, or seeing a cute spot during a drive, take notes of places that match your brand aesthetic. Keep a list of your favorite places or potential places that you want to get photos at. Planning will only help you and even if you don’t shoot there right away, you have a whole list to refer to when you’re ready.
TIP: You can also search hashtags of your city on Instagram to find some cool spots that others have used for photos. That’s how I’ve found a lot of great spots. Plus, you can connect with other bloggers!
5. Step Up Your Equipment
Let’s say you’ve already done all of these steps and you want to step up your Instagram game even more. Maybe you’ve seen some stunning travel photos with beautiful colors and you feel like your iPhone just isn’t cutting it. If you’re serious about your social media presence, it’s time to invest in some nicer equipment.
I personally own the Sony a5100 DSLR camera. It’s part of the Sony Alpha series and is one of the older models. It comes in black or an adorable and trendy white like the one pictured above! The newer Sony models are the a6000, a6300, and a6500, which you can see in the chart below. The a7 models are for more serious photographers and I’ve heard amazing reviews about those, so if you’re into photography I’d definitely recommend the a7s.
I personally chose the Sony a5100 for vlogging and have had it for over a year now. It has a flip-up screen so I can see myself when taking videos. It also can shoot 1080p HD video at various frame rates. Plus, it has the ability to use interchangeable lenses! That’s all I need for my videos and blogging purposes, and it’s a LOT cheaper than the newer models.
I got my Sony a5100 for around $450 and the newer models range anywhere from $800-$1000. If you’re looking to take better photos for your Instagram or blog, I HIGHLY recommend the a5100 because of its low price, great quality, and functions like the smart remote, interchangeable lenses, great quality, convenient size, and flip-up screen.
If you’re interested in purchasing a new camera, I found the best deals on Amazon. Check out these links to the cameras I recommended above.
For a detailed chart comparison including the specs and more details about the capabilities of these models, check out this website here.
Or if you want to see more of me, check out my video about vlogging below to hear me talk more about various camera options.
- Have a solid brand vision (Colors, concepts, layouts, designs)
- Use a self-timer on phone or camera for professional looking shots
- Switch it up with posing/locations/outfits
- When it’s time to get more serious…step up your equipment!
If you have any other questions about my equipment or ideas for Instagram growth, let me know in the comments below!