10 Ways to make your Instagram photos more awesome

We’ve all been taking photos of mundane things, squeezing them into awkward square frames and furiously filtering them for a good few years now. So, we don’t blame you for getting a bit bored of the same stuff (and by stuff we mean cats, hashtags, burgers you definitely didn’t eat and of course a healthy dose of narcissism) over and over again.

Well, we’re coming to the end of #PhotoWeek here at shinyshiny, so that’s a great excuse to refresh your Instagram feed. We’ve collected together our top 10 tips to breathe a bit of life back into your Instagram creations and make them look better than ever. (The ball’s totally in your court when it comes to cutting out the selfies and the over-sharing though.)

You can check out the original version of this post from a few years back here.

1. Combine photos for an “OMG look how much fun I’m having” montage

Sometimes uploading 3,492,943 photos from one holiday or event is a little too much, so use an app like Diptic to combine them into one handy square.

2. Use a camera replacement app when you’re taking your snaps

Many of the cameras built into our smartphones are now more amazing than we could have ever imagined a mere three years ago when Twitter was born. But that doesn’t stop many avid mobile photographers from relying on separate camera replacement apps like Camera+ and VSCO Cam, which have a few more features than you’d find packed into your iPhone, like white balance and exposure.


3. Don’t be constrained by that demanding square

If you’ve ever had an Instagram snap that just doesn’t fit in the square no matter how much you crop, zoom and tilt, don’t worry. Squaready will either help you squeeze it into the square or optimise it so it’s a landscape or portrait snap with just the right amount of borders at each side. The team behind the Free People Instagram account are experts at never missing out on a great photo due to that demanding little square.

4. Add DRAMA (!!) with HDR

Like things to look dramatic (!!) and skies to look all moody and stormy? Well then play around with the HDR settings on your handset if there’s some already built in, or get an app like HDR Camera or Pro HDR.


5. Don’t rely on Instagram’s set of filters

Granted Instagram has some good-looking filters that have become a core part of our lives (ILY Nashville), but don’t feel like you have to stay faithful. There are plenty of other apps out there, we love the filter choice from Aviary, CameraBag and VSCO Cam. But browse through our list of our top 8 apps of all time, too.

6. Use tilt-shift for photos of landscapes, objects and even selfies

It focuses your eye on an object or landscape, it makes scenery look dreamy and sometimes even toylike and it can even add a flattering glow to the edge of selfies. All hail tilt shift. This blurring tool is now built straight into Instagram, so you have no excuse to upload only crystal clear photos in the future, just blurry ones.

7. Add text to make your photos even more Pinteresting

This might make some people feel nauseous, but if your Instagram feed is a creative outlet or there just isn’t enough colour and style in the caption box to say everything you want to say, then overlay text onto your photos. Just make sure it’s only a 4/10 or 5/10 on the cringeworthy scale. For text, stickers and silly captions we love Piction.


8. Invest in a lens for your phone

We’ve been testing out the Olloclip this week. It’s a 4-in-1 lens that clips onto your iPhone and turns your shots into a device capable of capturing fish-eye, wide-angle and close-up macro shots. The Olloclip is designed to be compact enough to fit in your pocket and robust enough to fit into your life – with little lens guards and a cute pouch to keep everything in when you’re done. Adding a different lens will produce dramatically different images to those you’re used to, so it’s worth investing in a lens if you’re keen to shake things up a bit and make your Insta-snaps more creative.

9. Have fun when blurring out imperfections (but don’t go too OTT, please)

There are a loads of apps specially designed to help you blur out imperfections. Well actually they go way further than that, with the help of a trusty app you can make your skin all glowy and shiny-looking, stretch out your legs so they look leaner and longer, and even whiten those teeth. It’s kinda fun and silly, kinda absolutely terrifying, so approach these kind of apps in a curious, light-hearted way so you don’t become a bit obsessed.

10. Use hashtags wisely and sparingly (or not at all)

Hashtags on Instagram photos can be a great way of tagging your snaps and meeting new Insta-photographers, but they can also be annoying and look a bit ridiculous. We know it’s #summer, we know you’re a #female and we can see this is a #selfie, so stop patronising and irritating us, please!

Becca Caddy