Over the last few months, I’ve completely changed my approach to Instagram, and, instead of trying to stick to a specific “theme” or grow my following, I’ve been focusing on making it a place to share some of my favourite photos instead,

Here are some of the techniques I’ve been trying to use to make my Instagram account a little more interesting…

26 ways to make your Instagram more interesting

1.

 

Get a good Camera

Up until recently, most of my Instagram photos were taken using my phone – which is all well and good, obviously, but it wasn’t until we got our new Nikon D7500 that I realised how much better the quality could be. The main feature of the new camera that helps here is the SnapBridge  app, which allows me to import photos from the “big” camera – as we call it – directly to my phone, from which I can then upload them to Instagram. Previously, if I’d wanted to use higher quality photos on Insta, I’d have to download them to my computer first, which was all a bit of a faff – thanks to Snapbridge, though, I’ve found it a whole lot easier, which makes me much more likely to share more photos on Instagram!   You can see a direct comparison in the quality difference between the camera phone and the Nikon below: you get a lovely creamy background on the Nikon picture as well as better focus: the iPhone picture, meanwhile, is just a bit, meh, and would need a lot more editing for me to want to upload it.

2.

 

Use interesting angles

Standing staring rigidly at the camera will let people see your outfit, sure, but it’s not very interesting, is it? Try putting the camera on the ground to get a dramatic perspective (this can help you get more uncluttered sky into the background with full length photography), or snapping photos from above: I find that this technique tends to get more engagement as it’s not a commonly used angle.

3.

 

Capture your events

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of taking the same type of pictures all time – and if you have a set Instagram theme, it can be really hard to break out of that – but remember your followers are also interested in you so don’t be afraid  to show them some of your real life. I get a much better response to photos with people in them than I do to things like flatlays or interior shots: people like to see people!

4.

 

Symmetry

Our brains love symmetry, and if you get it just right in a photo, it helps get those extra few people engaging with your shot. Both of the photos below forced me to break the “theme” I had going at the time, but I really liked the symmetry of them and how it draws your eye to the center of the frame.

5.

 

Make people smile

Sometimes you can get struck in a rut of posting the same type of pictures on instagram and you forget that your followers are interested in you as a person.  Humour is a universal quality and letting your personality shine through in your pictures can really help build your follower numbers.

6.

 

Movement

When it comes to outfit photos, I like to use movement as much as possible: as well as making the photo more interesting, it also looks much more natural, too.  You can use simple techniques like spinning a little on the spot to get your hair to move (see this) or slightly lifting up the corner of a flowing dress or skirt to give the appearance of wind catching it (like so).

7.

 

Find the emotion

Following on from my point about people liking to see other people, I also find that they like to see emotion: some of the most popular photos on my account are ones where I’ve shared some big news, or opened up about something personal – again, this kind of thing will always, always get a much better response than something like a flatlay will, no matter how much time and effort I’ve put into styling it. Emotion makes people want to interact with your pictures and makes them feel more connected with you as a person – which, in turn, makes them more likely to want to keep following you.

8.

 

Foreground

Another way to avoid the, “Here I am staring at the camera!” effect in outfit photos is to use something in the foreground to add interest to the shot: I like flowers, but, you know, you do you…  If you have a nice shiny DSLR then this is a way to get nice foreground blurring which helps draw the eye to the subject.  If you don’t have a giant field of flowers to hand then you can try scattering some leaves on the ground in front of the photographer, or even throwing them in the air, as Terry has tried (not always successfully) to get me to do a few times now.

10.

 

Bright colours

I spent a lot of time over the last few years trying my best to stick to an “all white” Instagram theme … which is ironic, really, given that bright colours always seem to get a better reaction from my followers. While instagrammers are scrolling through their feeds colours that pop get that little bit more attention – probably because they stand out from all that white!

11.

 

Nice backgrounds

I mentioned foregrounds above, but when it comes to taking an interesting outfit photo, nothing beats a good background, does it? Lately I’ve been making an effort to travel a bit further afield to find those decent backgrounds, both for my blog and my Instagram: it’s extra effort, obviously, but it’s always worth it – especially if you can use it as an excuse for a cheeky day out!  Something dramatic is perfect (like this), but you should also consider that an absence of background can really help draw attention to the subject, too –  see this as an example.

12.

 

Mirror Selfies

So, I have absolutely no idea why this is, but when I look back at my Instagram analytics, a surprisingly large number of the most popular uploads are good ol’ mirror selfies, that took me approximately 10 seconds to snap. These photos aren’t great quality, because they were taken in low light, with a phone, but for some reason they work!  (Oh, and if you’re doing a mirror selfie, it’s a good idea to have a quick tidy up first – the stripey dressing gown in the backdrop of the second photo has annoyed me ever since it was taken!)

13.

 

The small moments

There’s a temptation with photography to only capture the special moments, like weddings and birthdays, but there’s also beauty in the small moments and sometimes they can be my favourite things to capture.  They help pull your followers into your everyday life and really help people feel engaged, especially with something like Instagram Stories, which is the perfect medium for those little “behind the scenes” or diary-style uploads.

14.

 

The golden hour

Everyone tells you you should take your photos in the “golden hour” before the sun goes down (or comes up). Everyone is right about that – it creates such beautiful, flattering golden light, that can make even a really basic outfit photo look a little bit more interesting.  (Oh, and if you live somewhere like Scotland, that “golden” hour can sometimes be the only time you see the sun!)  We use a tool like this to give us the right golden hour time, as well as the direction of the sunset, which is an important factor as you might want to consider the direction of the shadows when taking your pictures.

15.

 

Get creative

Rather than going for the most obvious shot, take a look around and see what you can use to make the photo a bit more memorable: reflections are always a good one, and, for me, these photos are a bit more evocative than a standard shot of a sunset or sunlounger would have been.  You always have to consider that your followers will sometimes scroll through hundreds of pictures a day and getting a creative angle on the norm is the perfect way to get them to stop scrolling and actually take a closer look!

Cheers! #wine #vacation #cheers

A post shared by Amber McNaught (@foreveramberblog) on

Sunglasses selfie…#sunglasses #selfie #mirror #mirrorselfie #vacation

A post shared by Amber McNaught (@foreveramberblog) on

16.

 

Blurry backgrounds

The holy grail of fashion blogging – there’s a tutorial on how to get this effect here. The main aesthetic purpose of this effect is to focus the attention of the viewer on your subject, but the fact that it looks pretty doesn’t hurt, either.   One of the biggest benefits of mastering this technique is that it allows to you take pictures in locations that would otherwise be drab.

17.

 

Use the weather

I hate the snow in “real” life, but I LOVE it on Instagram – it really helps make the colours in an outfit pop, and although fog doesn’t make for ideal shooting conditions, it can make for some interesting photos. I’ve also gotten some good shots in high winds where it makes dresses and hair flow in a way you can’t get in any other conditions.  Rain can also give the ground a lovely sheen for reflections.

19.

 

Selfies in the car

I always used to wonder why so many of the selfies I’d see on Instagram seemed to be taken in cars. Finally I worked it out: it’s because the lighting is perfect for it – you have all of that natural light coming in through the windows, but the roof stops it being too harsh. Now I take almost all of my selfies in the car – only when I’m the passenger, though!

Just back after a lovely dinner out – now to veg in front of the TV for the rest of the night!

A post shared by Amber McNaught (@foreveramberblog) on

20.

 

Get in order

This could just be me, but I’m an absolute sucker for any kind of organisation photo: seriously, I could look at other people’s closets and storage solutions aaaaalllll day…  Think of nice neat rows, tidy drawers, colour coordinated makeup and succulents in little white pots: love ’em all…

21.

 

Go to interesting places

Holidays are when I take my best Instagram photos: and, OK, you’re probably not going to whip out your credit card and start booking flights just to give your Instagram a boost, but take a look around your local area too, drive down roads you’ve never used before, and you might be surprised by what you can find to photograph. I always think photos taken in my hometown are pretty boring, really, but, of course, people who live in other countries, say, don’t see it that way, and are just interested to see something different to what they’re used to.

Lookin’ good, Teide… #tenerife #canaryislands #teide #canarias #ig_canaryislands #loves_tenerife #loveteide

A post shared by Amber McNaught (@foreveramberblog) on

Just a little bit snowy on top of El Teide today… #tenerife #tenerifephoto #loves_tenerife #loveteide #snow

A post shared by Amber McNaught (@foreveramberblog) on

22.

 

Use burst mode

You’ll find this setting on both your phone and on your DSLR if you have one, and it’s a great way to capture movement by taking a series of photos in rapid succession. I like to take photos where I’m doing something like jumping, stepping off of a kerb, throwing leaves in the air or even just walking – you can get those shots without using burst mode, obviously, but you’re much more likely to get the shot in one take with it.

23.

 

Flatlays

Flatlays are much-maligned these days, but I still have a bit of a soft-spot for them. My main tip here is to use as much light as possible (right next to window is your best bet, unless you have studio-quality lighting at your disposal), and to ransack your house for decent props to include: oh, and flatlays are also an excellent excuse to buy fresh flowers and an an absolute ton of notebooks and other stationary items. That ”Dream” ornament in the photo below? I totally bought that for Instagram, not gonna lie.

24.

 

Use the self timer

You don’t need an Instagram husband to take decent photos: some of my favourites were taken with either the self-timer on my phone, or the remote control that goes with my camera – and the big advantage of this method is that you can take as long as you like to get the perfect shot, rather than having to coax your long-suffering photographer to take just one more photo…

26.

 

Lighting

Even with the best will in the world, sometimes you just can’t get the right light levels in natural daylight, which is a pain, because, as a blogger you end up taking a lot of indoor product shots.  For things like flatlays and makeup shots we use a led light called a rotolight neo. It can be very overcast in Scotland and in winter it gets dark before 4pm so for us good indoor lighting is critical to lift our pictures that extra few percent. Recently, I’ve done quiet a few posts about home decor, which involves lighting up entire rooms nice an evenly.  We used to use giant softboxes for this kind of thing,  but they took up so much space (Which we don’t have now that the spare bedroom is becoming a nursery) that we had to upgrade to these studio lights which we highly recommend for interior pictures or vlogging.

26 ways to make your Instagram more interesting26 Instagram tips to help make your grid a little more interesting

You don't need an Instagram theme: try these 26 photography tips instead

You don't need an Instagram theme: try these 26 photography tips instead
26 Instagram tips to help make your grid a little more interesting
8 Comments
  1. What a wonderful list of tips! Thank you 🙂
    I love seeing what a great pictures you take as well as what great captions you add.
    Wishing you a great day,

    Kind regards,

    Ines

  2. Honestly I love this – thank you so much for putting the tips together side by side with the pictures, I found this really helpful.

  3. This is an awesome guideAmber……u r a legend! Funnily enough tonight I posted an IG pic of me in a hat I bought to day from a Rabari woman it the streets of Bhuj…..Not for selling like most of my pics, just because it’s a cute thing that I bought during a nice encounter…..It’s attracted heaps of new followers! You are right, while one can become accustomed to your own village, it’s interesting to others. I have the opposite problem to you, in that Bhuj has strong sunlight most of the day that presents challenges, but I’m going to share your hints with my assistant (who takes all my Madame Hall pics)….You’ve given some wonderful ideas to make our regular pics more interesting. Thank you!

  4. I LOVE your photography! I haven’t been commenting lately because my new puppy has kept me busy – – a bit too busy, sometimes. The good news is I have about 150 usable photos of her. I’ve used many of these but I can use this extensive list to get even more! Thanks. Wishing you and your loved ones well.

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