The Handbook

Up Your Instagram Game

Instagram is huge. It now boasts 200 million monthly active users sharing about 60 million photos in a single a day. And sure, a lot of those photos are of lattes and lunches, but what makes Instagram so fantastic is that it's allowed us to see our lives a little more artistically. We tend to stop and notice more beauty in our day-to-day lives. You capture the moment, add some of your personality to it and then share it. Of course, when you post a photo, you want to see some likes and comments and the best way to do that is to make your images interesting. Herewith, a few simple ways to snap more alluring shots.


Don't Shoot Live

Your Instagram camera lacks several features and is likely nowhere near as capable as your phone's camera. Shoot all your photos with that camera and when you want to 'gram one, simply choose the best one to edit and share. The key is to shoot a lot, but post a little. You're sharing a specific moment, not merely documenting your entire experience.

Composition Is Key

Clever framing will always improve your photograph. When capturing or cropping images, consider the rule of thirds. Ever notice those grid lines on your screen? The rule of thirds states that the interesting aspects of your photo should be placed at the intersection of those lines. And it seems to work. But you can also crop photos in new, more playful ways as well—like a big sky with just a hint of something peeking out from the bottom of the frame.


Focus on Lighting

Lighting has always been one of the most important aspects of photography. And there's nothing more beautiful than natural light. Don't even turn your flash on. An easy way to adjust the lighting is by playing around with the focus. Tapping on the darkest area of the photo will add the most light into your lens. iPhone owners can also lock the focus and exposure to get the exact lighting they want by tapping and holding their fingers to the screen. When the words AE/EF Lock appear on the screen, the focus and lighting won't change.


Less Is More

When Instagram first took off, the filters were an easy way to make an average photograph seem interesting. Now, we've all gotten a bit better at shooting and so the filters should be something you use sparingly. Before you use a filter, tap the tools icon and adjust things like the brightness, contrast and saturation. It may be all you need to enhance your image. We're not saying you need to ditch filters altogether—it's all about moderation.

Another App


VSCO Cam is a free app (for both iOS and Android) that's become the go-to photo editing app of photographers and creative types thanks to its simple design, granular yet accessible tools and extensive collection of subtle filters.