Last week we focused on taking your Instagram engagement to the next level (if you fancy giving it a read – here it is). As a part of that topic, we ever so lightly touched on the quality of the photos. After all, everything else you do is just in the service of amplifying the great photos you have. There is absolutely nothing that can make up for the lack of quality. That’s why we decided to compile everything you could possibly need to know about taking and editing some drool-worthy shots.

Even though there are close to infinite apps that will help you edit your photos (and we’ll talk about some of them later), they are not magical. Meaning you need to make sure your initial shot is as good as possible, before you go ahead and add some embellishments afterwards. So let’s dive into it, shall we? Here are some boxes you’ll want to have checked.

  • Composition

In order to have every detail in its perfect place, try working around what’s called rule of thirds. By now it has been proven over and over again that respecting certain ratios leads to taking photos that are simply more appealing. The way it works is that you’ll first need to set up a grid on your screen (any smartphone will have this feature) and then make sure that focal points of your photo are on the intersection of the lines. Furthermore, you’ll want the vertical lines of photographed objects to align with the vertical grid and horizontal to the horizontal one. This, of course, makes the shot perfectly straight.

  • Focus

You decide what the people will be looking at. Don’t take this decision too lightly. If you’re doing a product shot, you want it to be crystal clear what’s the main point of the photo and being smart with focusing will enable you to do just that. Even if you’re shooting a video, you can shift focus by tapping on the object you want to be in the first plan while filming. This is one of the things that’s almost impossible to adjust afterwards. Sure, you can always blur certain parts, but you cannot make something that’s not in focus become that. Take a look at this product shot by Nordstrom – they made extra sure to make the jewellery pop, no matter what else is happening in the photo.

  • Lighting

It’s been said before and we’re saying it again: nothing beats the natural lighting. And even though this is much more editable than focus, there are still some unbeatable perks to shooting in daylight. Of course, it’s much harder to tame than artificial light with all sorts of sun glares waiting to happen. Either way, little can beat the natural and effortless look and feel of a shot taken during the golden hour.

Tip: Embrace the bad weather. Bad weather equals good photos. Rain, show, fog, all of it. The light gets spread out much more evenly and tends to make anything look great.

  • Burst mode

When you’re out and about, capturing an event of some sort or something extremely dynamic, try out the burst mode. It makes it simple and easy to capture every single scene, no matter how fast it’s happening and later choose which shot you like the most. This shouldn’t be an alternative to carefully thinking through what you want to have in the photo, but it’s not like we always have time to craft the desired composition.

  • Top down perspective

When you’re doing a product shot or some sort of a food shot (especially the food shot), definitely try to snap it from above. It’s a tried and true way of getting everything in a single scene while making it extra attractive. And for a reason as well. Not only does it give a bit of flavour to the pic, but it also is rather easy to arrange. Play around with this perspective in a way that works best for whatever is the star of your next shot.

  • Editing tools

Last, but certainly not least – editing apps. As we’ve briefly mentioned, there are hundreds of them out there, but some are just a bit more loved than the others. Here’s a list of the ones we think you should give a go:

  1. VSCOcam (free, iOS and Android) – widely used, with a great range of vintage-esque filters.
  2. Snapseed (free, iOS and Android) – extremely powerful and flexible app made by Google. It offers seamless perspective adjustments and control like none other. You can easily add or remove parts of the picture. Highly recommended.
  3. Afterlight (0.99$, iOS, Android and Windows) – endless supply of both filters and traditional editing tools such as brightness, sharpness, size and other types of adjustments
  4. Enlight (3.99$, iOS) – even though it’s on the pricier side of things, it’s still very much worth it. It has a very user-friendly, intuitive and professional interface with quite unique features.
  5. Instagram – well… obviously. But even though it’s generic, it’s hard to argue that it offers some pretty handy filters that we all recognize and love.

Is there anything we skipped and you swear by it? Let us know in the comments below!

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