I often get a lot of comments, direct messages and people telling me in person that they find my Instagram account beautiful and inspiring. Even though this happens quite often, every single time someone sings my praises, I get totally awkward,blush a little and throw out my favourite go-to line, “I am just lucky!” This signature Sharyn exclamation does ring true though, as I live along probably the most beautiful coastline in the world, and the photo opportunities are endless. But even though I have the perfect setting on my front step, there is A LOT OF HARD WORK that goes into every photo that is posted on my Instagram account. Having an awesome Instagram feed means you can’t just post photos at random, or just post whatever you’re in the mood for. One doesn’t “just happen” to take a good photo with a simple point and shoot, or with your cell phone (unless you get really lucky!). It takes planning, planning and more planning! Oh, and did I mention hard work?! Each photo on my Instagram feed has carefully been hand-selected after hours of contemplating and editing, always keeping my theme, colours, audience and the general “flow” of my feed in mind. If I don’t have an image that fits the criteria, I’d rather not post something and work at it some more, until the perfect photo is born; one that would make me proud of sharing it with my followers.
Still interested in upping your game? If you are ready to take your Instagram account to the next level, read my five tips for a gorgeous Instagram feed.
1# Time to get serious
Whether you are a newbie to Instagram or already have an account (personal / business or lifestyle), you need to get serious and be prepared for hard work. This very often goes hand in hand with questioning your sanity every now and again!
If you think you can rack up followers and fans with quick snaps on your iPhone, iPad or “point and shoot camera”, just stop. Don’t. Yes, it’s true that all of these devices take beautiful photos and with technology progressing at the rapid pace it does these days, the camera functions and picture quality will only get better in the near future. Sure, mobile features such as shooting in RAW-mode and excellent Leica lenses have significantly improved the quality of mobile photography, but for the absolute highest quality photograph, a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera is the only way to a gorgeous (and much loved!) Instagram feed. Depending on what type of photography you are interested in, I would recommend a 50mm lens for portraits and an 18-200mm lens for travelling and landscapes. Treat yourself to a good camera, take the time to learn how to use it properly and find your Instagram inspirations.
I recommend the following “must haves” for an aspiring ‘grammer:
Nikon D3200 DSLR camera– The Nikon D3200 is the perfect entry level camera. In fact, I shot my first wedding with one! It is very intuitive to use and packed with loads of easy-to-use features. It takes great quality images, whilst you navigate your way into the tricky terrain of photography. On the flip side, Nikon lenses are usually slightly more expensive than Canon. This is something that you will need to consider, and find the camera and lens-kits that work for you.
50mm Nikon lens – Portraiture / Lifestyle photography – This nifty little lens is definitely in my top three favourite lenses that I use. It’s small and compact, lets in a great amount of light and creates the most amazing depth of field (DOF) and bokeh photographs.
18 – 200mm Nikon lens – Landscape / Travel photography- If you are more into landscape- and travel photography then this lens is a perfect place to start, as it is a multi-purpose zoom lens capable of wide-angle and telephoto imaging.
“Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs” by Henry Carroll – This is any aspiring photographer’s handbook! Learn how to focus, know what lenses to use, assess how much light you need, and tackle aperture and shutter speeds!
2# Decisions, decisions
People are visual creatures by nature. If you see a photoof delicious food, you automatically want to rush out, buy it and taste it. Experience it for yourself; indulge in its beauty. This is also true for Instagram accounts. When people browse Instagram looking for new accounts to follow, they will automatically be drawn to the “delicious” photos. They will then explore your account and creativity, appreciate the hard work you’ve put into your account and heart each one of your photos from that moment on! People will be curious to see what you post next, putting your account on their mental list of favourites. This is when you’ve created a fan and follower for life. Your account lived up to their expectation of “deliciousness” and who wouldn’t keep on coming back for seconds?! This brings me to the flow of your account. Humans are also lazy creatures; if and when they do give your account a second glance, they might skim through your bio and briefly look at your “first six – this is the moment when you will catch or lose a follower.
If you look at my account (bearing in mind, it has evolved over time) Itry to bring out the yellows and blues (those are my colours). My theme is not set in stone; the majority of my images are water-themed, but recently I’ve been trying to incorporate “people in nature” shots. The key is to be consistent; incorporate new elements slowly and if you want to introduce other themes, remember the magic word is “evolve” not “change”.
Find your own inspirations. These are mine. Take some time to study the “flow” of various accounts, shop with your eyes, and incorporate elements you like from different accounts into yours. Create your unique “signature” – give it a twist and call it your own.