Instagram has shaped the way we travel, in more ways than one. We can now upload, share and like travel photos taken around the world. What’s even more exciting is when we search hashtags like #tokyo and #stockholm we get a live feed of what people are doing, seeing and exploring in those cities. I even use hashtags to check the weather in a city I am about to visit – it’s brilliant! But there’s no point taking photos on Instagram if they’re too dark or blurry, too bleak or bright. So how do we take better Instagram photos? Below are some of my tips to help you take better photos, enjoy!

1. Use your camera I mostly use my iPhone 5 to take photos for Instagram. However, if I happen to take an amazing photo on my SLR, I’ll email it to myself, download it onto my iPhone and then upload onto Instagram.

2. Use editing apps I never upload a photo using Instagram - I like to use photo editing apps. A couple of the most popular apps are Snapseed and VSCO. Photo editing apps have great editing tools such as brightness, clarify and tones, and excellent filters. I personally don’t use filters, but if you do, there are lots to choose from.

3. Take photos in square mode Instagram images are square. I therefore like to shoot my images in a square frame to ensure I fit everything in the photo. There is nothing more annoying than taking a photo on my phone only to realise it doesn’t fit properly into a square, so when taking a photo on an iPhone (as an example), select square instead of photo.

4. Keep filters consistent Keep your filters consistent. A plethora of filters and boarders is unappealing and can deter people from following you. Find a combination of tools or filters you like and stick to it.

5. Composition is king Whilst I like centering photos, they become more interesting when the subject is not placed directly in the middle. Be it myself or a particular feature in a landscape, I use the lines on the screen (found in most photo editing apps) to divide the images into thirds both horizontally and vertically, otherwise known as the ‘rule of thirds’. Using this rule means images will create more interest if you place the subject along these lines or at their intersections.

6. Shoot straight There have been many times where I’ve been standing on the side of a mountain or on a sandy beach taking a photo of a beautiful landscape only to find later on that I wasn’t holding my iPhone straight. Mega frustrating! Use the straightening tool when there is a horizon line through the photo, like a sunset, beach or water. Once you starting using this tool, you’ll start taking notice when other photos that need the straightening tool!

7. Include people Without a doubt, and most especially when shooting landscape, always include people or animals (such as horses, cows or sheep). They make a scenery look so much more interesting and relatable.

8. Choose your background wisely Keep your background simple, bright and light. I’ve learned over time that dark brown backgrounds, such as timber tables, are not appealing to the eye. Mix up your background by using different textures and colours – white is always best if you’re unsure. I've always said restaurants should paint dining tables white so their food looks better on Instagram!

9. Lighting is king The difference between good lighting and bad lighting is simple – natural light. Always shoot in natural light and avoid using flash. If you still can’t quite get the image bright or light enough, simply use the Brightness tool.

10. Use a great caption Even though Instagram is a photo app, sometimes (if not all the time) the caption is just as important. Use puns, humour and light hearted descriptions to connect with people.

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