4th St

Are you using it yet? Instagram is gaining users as fast as any new social media platform has. So I got the app and started shooting pictures and experimenting with it. Then people began complimenting my pictures and I kind of deflected it thinking if I can do it everyone can, nothing special to see here. But you know what? The other day looking over a shoulder I watched a guy take puke-tastic pictures and I starting thinking more about it, because over the course of a couple weeks I've had a dozen people ask me what techniques I use when taking instagrams so... I'm going to do something I normally hate, the How-to.

I've always eye rolled my way through how-tos because they seem too obvious but I can at least add to the conversation and this way I can give people a link instead of rewriting it out every time.


This is going to be from the perspective of an iPhone user but should be applicable to any platform, it's not comprehensive but just a starting point outlining what i do when I Instagram a picture.

First a few super basics.
This should be obvious, but, if you aren't artistic at least center your subject. Or even better turn the grid lines on and place your subject on one of the lines, or ideally at the intersection of two lines. This is called the rule of thirds. It adds tension and interest to the picture.
No matter which app you want to eventually want the picture imported, always use the iPhone's native camera app, I have mine set to HDR almost all the time.
Usually when I take a picture I already know how I'm going to edit it, but I never let that stop me from going in another direction.
After the image is captured it gets cropped and maybe receives some editing in superretro.
From there it may or may not be edited again in tiltshiftgen or 100 cameras.
Only after capturing and editing does it get imported into instagram.
Always think outside the box, embrace your screw ups, sometimes they turn out to be interesting compositions.
That should be a good starting point, remember rules are made to be broken, good luck and good shooting.

Elm St ambassodore
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  1. Twitter, Instagram...what's the next social platform I'll bully you into using? Oh yeah, Path. :P

  2. I'm having trouble getting into Path, but you know I'll jump off any bridge you tell me too.