The Art of Taking Instagram Photos

With its many different filters, the Instagram app can turn any photo into a work of art. Whether it’s taking a picture of an ominous rain cloud hovering over a wintry morning or kicking your feet up after a grueling day of hiking in the desert, capturing a frame-worthy photo on a mobile phone has never been easier.

However, to capture a truly compelling photo isn’t just about pointing and shooting. And, although the photo-sharing app provides the basic features needed to transform a great photo into an awe-inspiring one, there are iPhone lenses sold to help capture your moment the best way possible.


In-Phone Features

How many times have you marveled at a simple snapshot of an orange on the Popular page without effects? My guess will probably be never.
It’s the filter, and the occasional blur feature, that adds the depth that inspires users to double tap your image.



Depth of Field

Instagram’s blog suggested that the best way to bring focus to a subject is to blur the surroundings of the
subject, allowing it to stand out.

They call this depth of field, DoF, and it gives your photos the focus and romantic haze needed to kick it up a notch.

This also helps give a photo a 3-D effect by focusing on the part of a subject that is closest to the screen and blurring out the rest of the image to shrink into the background.


How to Apply:

  • Take a photo or select one from your camera roll.  If you want the image to appear 3-D, choose an image with a part of the subject already standing apart from itself.
  • Click on the tab that looks like a water drop; that is the blurring feature. You can either choose to use the linear blur, the line, or the radial blur, the circle, depending on what it is you want to put the focus on.
  • If you want the image to appear 3-D, it is best to use the radial blur so it only focuses on that one point.
  • You can manipulate the blur feature to have the linear blur highlight a slanted subject, it doesn’t only have to be horizontal, or stretch the size of the radial blur.
  • Next, choose a filter, if you haven’t already, and voilà! You just created a masterpiece.


Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is key to properly cropping and balancing an image without photographing your subject in the dead center of the screen.

Thanks to the iOS 5, you don’t have to imagine the grid of two vertical and horizontal lines going across your image. The key is to line up your image along or under either one of the lines to give it an “aesthetically pleasing” balance.

Instagram said this style of cropping can “make your composition more interesting” by cutting out unnecessary or blank space in the foreground.


How to Apply:

  • Take a photo or select one from your camera roll.
  • Click on the edit tab on the top right hand corner and then click on the crop symbol located on the bottom right corner.
  • You will then be taken to a screen where your image will appear in the rule of thirds grid. Click on the constrain tab.
  • Different options of sizes will pop up. Instagram encourage you to use the square option since that is the size needed to upload photos on Instagram.
  • Move the image to stand along a vertical line or in a corner under a horizontal line.
  • Finally, click on a filter that you like best.

In their blog they admit favoring the Rise filter, but the Lomo-fi feature adds a deep contrast to your image, while X-pro II adds a softer contrast.

If you want your photo to have a vintage look, add the Earlybird, Amaro or Walden filter to soften the edges and add a hazy glow to your photos.


Add-on Lenses

If you want to up your game a little, lenses are sold to help you capture a landscape’s entirety or zoom in to
capture the whiskers of a beetle.
Fisheye lenses, wide-angle lenses, macro lenses and telephoto lenses can be clipped onto your iPhone to capture more of the scenery as opposed to using the lens the iPhone comes with.

Photojojo has magnetic lenses that can be sold individually or in packs, while olloclip sells a two in one fish eye and macro lens and a wide-angle lens in a convenient pouch.


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