GUEST POST - 3 STEPS TO TAKING "INSTA-WORTHY" PHOTOS

This title is about as clickbait-ey as it gets.

But unlike MOST clickbait, it's 100% true. You can read this post in the time it takes you to pee, and I promise your Instagram feed will get better. I'm not a full-time photographer (and not trying to be), but I know some tricks. Here are my 3 tips (and extra credit):

1) Stop taking pictures during mid-day.

I realize that every so often something is SO amazing and fleeting that it absolutely MUST be captured (and I'm a huge proponent of the Gary Vaynerchuk-ism "document, don't curate"), but whenever possible use lighting to your advantage.

Tip: Google when "golden hour" is for you - basically a 1-hour-ish window around surise/sunset that you get the best light. Plan your content/locations and shoot then! Lighting is the #1 thing that differentiates a good pic from an amazing one - there's just no way to replicate it.
Here's a photo taken during "golden hour"...

Here's a photo taken during "golden hour"...

...and one taken NOT during golden hour...see the difference?

...and one taken NOT during golden hour...see the difference?

2) Spend the time to edit your pictures THOUGHTFULLY.

No more auto-HDR, and don't make your photos B&W when you don't look "tan enough." Use Photoshop when you can - it's great for putting bokeh (fuzzy background) into a picture you took on your iPhone, or adjusting a photo to true color (hint: google "find light and dark colors Photoshop").

Tip: If you can't use Photoshop, edit your picture until it looks "true" to what you see, then maybe add a filter, but only at ~20%. NEVER, EVER apply an Instagram filter at 100%. Look at my feed from ~2 years ago to see why. #amateurhour
#tool from 2 years ago...

#tool from 2 years ago...

Naturally editing pictures looks WAY better

Naturally editing pictures looks WAY better

3) If you're shooting with a "real" camera (AKA not a phone), resize your image before uploading to Instagram.

Instagram displays images with horizontal axis 1080 px - and has a s**tty algorithm to downsample images. This means your fancy Canon that shoots 20mp images (5475x3650px) will get sized down to 1080x720 - and it doesn't know which pixels to choose! This could leave you with a blurry image even though it looks great on your camera's viewfinder and on your computer.

Tip: You're already using the computer to download the contents of the SD card - open the photo in something like Mac Preview (or better yet, Photoshop) and re-size it to 1080px wide.
 
Resizing a photo in Photoshop is pretty simple

Resizing a photo in Photoshop is pretty simple

 

Extra Credit: Use a "real camera". 

It's not as convenient as a cell phone, but the "manual point and shoot" I use allows for some pretty sick settings (fuzzy background, long exposures, great sunset colors), but fits in your pocket (or purse) - the best of both worlds. The GorillaPod lets you take photos of yourself, and I take mine everywhere! 

 
 

Check out my YouTube vlog at bit.ly/chrisolfers and subscribe to keep up with what we're doing. It's the least-annoying subscription you'll ever make since I only upload videos once every 1-2 weeks! Here's a video I made for Arielle and my 3-year anniversary of being married: