15 tips on how to take a great Instagram photo

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Taking a great outfit photo for Instagram with your smartphone, in my case iPhone, is the most frequently asked question I get. There are many round-ups on how to take a great Instagram photo online, I think I've read most of them. ONE thing that I noticed missing from those posts is listed #1 on my list below.

The first half of my list are technical tips because that will set you up for quality images. The second half of my list is how to capture the best angles for your body and outfit.

1. Clean your lens
You won't believe how smudgy your phone gets from handling it all day long. You always want the highest quality photo and that starts with a clean lens. Clean the lens on your smartphone/iPhone, front (selfies) and back, with a sunglass/eyeglass cloth cleaner.

2. Skip the zoom
Why? Because the resolution breaks down when you zoom on a smartphone/iPhone, meaning the photo will not be as sharp and will pixelate. Just get closer to your subject or ask your photo taker to get closer to you. Remember, you ALWAYS want the sharpest image possible.

3. Lighting is key
If you can't find good lighting then either find another spot or skip taking a photo. I know that sounds harsh but seriously, if you're trying to curate and brand your Instagram then you don't want to post photos that are grainy, dark or use the flash which always leads to unexpected demon eyes and other photo blips.

4. The best time of the day
If you plan on shooting outside the best time is during the later afternoon when the sun is starting to set. I know, not ideal with most of us who work until 6ish but trust me. I've shot in the morning, lunchtime, midday, night and unless you have a professional photographer with great gear, you won't get a super great image. Bright direct sunlight is not your friend for outfit photos outside.

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5. Use default settings
Don't custom set your phone camera, keep it to default settings. You can always use a photo app to customize your photos after. Why? Because you want to get the maximum quality out of you phone camera and any technical tweaks you do will lead to less clarity and sharpness.

6. Full body photos
For head-to-toe outfit photo, have the person taking your picture hold the camera lower. They should hold the camera phone around their stomach area. Ask them to slightly, and I mean slightly, tilt the camera phone up at an angle. This will make your body look taller and leaner.

7. Exposure trick
If the image in your screen appears to be dark, have the person taking your photo press on the darkest area of the screen to brighten up the exposure. If nothing changes then move to a different spot that has better lighting. Be aware of too many shadows on your face.

8. Continuous or burst photos
Most camera phones have continuous shooting if you hold down the button and don't let go. This can capture your movements, like walking.

9. Walking photos
If you plan to take walking across the street images, don't walk fast. Actually don't walk at all. Step forward slowly a few times and do it over again. Have your photo taker use continuous or burst to capture movement.

10. Best body angle
A slight 3/4 turn of you body is usually most flattering in full body images. Meaning somewhere between front to full side profile turn while standing in front of the camera phone. Practice in front of a mirror, to see what angles are your most flattering, then use those when taking photos.

11. Sitting pretty
Sitting down photos are best when the photo taker is holding the camera up higher and pointing down. Not too high because that will make you look like you have a big head and little body. Not good.

12. Up close
Detail shots of your outfit should be taken with the camera phone as close as possible.

13. Best face poses
Face poses that work well – looking straight into the lens with a smile (teeth or no teeth), looking over the photo takers left or right shoulder for a candid type shot, and looking down at your feet but don't tilt your head down completely, just a slight head tilt with eyes closed.

14. The upper half
Upper body shots are best when taken with the camera phone pointing straight towards you, no angling or tilting.

15. Shoefie
Shoe shots are best when you include more leg from either right below or right above the knee down.

Those are my top 15 savvy tips on how to take a great Instagram photo, hope it helps! Let me know if these tips work for you by leaving a comment below. Or if you have a question about shooting outfit photos that I didn't answer, ask me in the comments below.

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