How to take Instagram pictures like a Blogger!

It seems that every blogger in the world is writing tips on How to Improve this, How to turn your blog into that… and, I gotta say… I love it. 
I love soaking up all the tips and tricks that some of my favourite bloggers are sharing, and not wanting to miss out on the party, I thought I’d have my say too. I’m not going to be making this a weekly feature or anything like that (I’m not that organised guys!) but every now and then, when a moment of inspiration strikes, I’ll spill the beans on a subject that might help you out in some way or another. 
Today, how to take instagram pictures like a blogger. 
It’s something I get asked a lot by both blogger and non blogger friends, “how do you get so many likes on your instagram pictures?!” “How did you get the lighting to look like that?” “Where do you buy your props for instagram?” etc etc so I thought I’d answer all of those kinds of questions in one post. Or maybe two.
The truth is, I put a lot of thought and effort into my instagram and won’t post up any old pretty picture, I have a list of ‘rules’ in my head that I try to stick to, and it often takes 10 tries to get the perfect snap. Seriously. You should see my camera roll!
Without further ado, here are my top tips for taking instagram pictures like a blogger:
1. It’s all about the light. When it comes to taking a snap for instagram, nothing beats natural light. Don’t use flash. Ever. It makes me cringe when I see people taking close up snaps with the flash, it’s just going to give an unnatural orangey glow to your pictures. Having said that, direct sunlight isn’t the one either. If I’m taking photos for a flat lay in my bedroom, i’ll do it on a sunny day, but not in direct sunlight. You don’t want harsh shadows creating odd shapes on your snaps! 
2. There’s an app for that. There are literally thousands of apps for improving your Instagram images, but you don’t want it to be obvious that you’ve edited your pictures. My favourites are VSCO Cam (although I use this less now), Afterlight (for clarifying and brightening) and Perfect 365 (for getting rid of my eye bags). It’s easy to get carried away – especially with the latter – but don’t be tempted to blur out your entire face! Also, while we’re talking about apps, make sure you download and set up IFTTT, it stands for If This Then That, and basically you create a ‘recipe’ which means every time you post an instagram picture, the app automatically posts the actual picture (not just the link) as well as the caption, to your Twitter. It’s a real game changer.
3. Quotes are the best. I take screenshots of quotes that I come across and think that my followers will love as much as I do, and save them in a folder so that I can post them when the time is right (more on that later). Quotes are a great way of engaging with your followers, they are some of my most ‘liked’ pictures, because they’re so relatable! People will often tag their friends who they think the quote also applies to, and voila – your post has gone viral!
4. Photograph pretty things. It doesn’t always have to be an image that you’ve perfectly constructed yourself – keep an eye out for beautiful displays in shops, floral arrangements, pretty doors, anything. If you get the angle and lighting right then any beautiful display can be turned into a gorgeous instagram snap.
5. Consider the grid. Before posting a picture, take a look at the Instagram grid on your profile and how will it fit in. Already done a picture with marble background? Don’t post another for 4 or 5 pictures. I try to mix up my angles (view from above, close ups, busy shots, quotes) so that my feed is varied with not too much of one colour or texture appearing too much on the grid at one time. Equally I try not to post two outfit snaps next to each other, or so that they appear on top of each other on the grid. It’s hard to stick to this though, so consider the grid, but don’t be bound by the grid.
6. Master the view from above. It’s hard to take a flattering picture of yourself, especially when there’s no mirror (or you CBA to tidy your bedroom, or the part of it that’s in the background of your mirror selfie) so mastering taking a snap from above can be handy when you’re outfit is instagrammable! I turn the camera to selfie mode, get it in a square ready, and then set the three second timer so I can get a better hold of the phone when I’m taking the picture.
7. Sharp images are pretty. Tapping your iPhone screen on the item you want to focus on will make that part of the image sharp, and the rest of it a little more blurry – which is the effect that all us bloggers lust for! There’s nothing worse than a blurry picture so if it isn’t sharp, don’t post it. If you’re fancy and have a camera with the wifi setting then you can always take the pictures on your camera then upload those pictures to your instagram – I’ve recently got the Olympus Pen camera and am already obsessed with this feature!
8. Be consistent! Your followers like to get a good idea of what your page is about, just from the first look at your grid, so make sure you’re consistent in the type of images that you post.
I hope you found this useful, and I really enjoyed writing this so let me know if you’d like any more Instagram tips, like ‘How to grow your Instagram Following’ and ‘Where I buy my Instagram Props’ – things like that! I LOVE hearing your ideas!