Shoot In Focus With Your Smartphone

Anchor arms against the body for stabilization

Instagram is a fantastic outlet to express your creativity. But in addition, it has the potential to be used for marketing. Maybe you have an Etsy store or an online business? Instagram creates opportunities to show potential customers what you do, as well as simply giving you the chance to connect and communicate with interested people. But you’ll want to shoot in focus to make the most of Instagram!

Having spent decades of my life standing next to pro photographers as I directed photo shoots, it’s a fun to be the actual shooter. Through trial and error, I discovered ways to shoot better photos. My primary tips: Shoot pictures that are in focus and think about framing.

Available and low-light

Your photos will look best if they are in focus, and shot in available light. What is available light? This means: don’t use the flash. It’s 2019, and more smartphone cameras have improved their low-light capabilities and many compensate for low light. In fact, Google Pixel 3 has a very cool feature called Night Sight, and it’s really quite amazing.

Door jamb used to straighten camera

Low light can create challenges for focusing, so if you’re in a very low-light situation, a tripod will help as it stabilizes the camera. It’s easy to throw an image OUT of focus on Instagram, and you can “sharpen” a photo’s details, but you can’t really make a blurry photo sharp.

How to focus

On most camera phones, tap the area of the screen you want to be sharp. The camera focus circle or box will appear, and the lens will adjust. Simply anchoring your phone against a solid, plumb surface, like a table or wall or door jamb will go a long way to make sure your shots will be in focus AND perpendicular to your horizon line. If your shots are hand-held, the key is to be as still as you can. By anchoring your biceps against your body (like a support brace) and holding your breath when you shoot, it improves the chances of a sharp picture.

A sub-category of shooting sharp, (in-focus) photos, is shooting straight. For example, when you shoot a lake, and the horizon line is leaning a bit, it can look odd. The same goes for buildings. So if you find your shot is skewed, don’t worry. Instagram has an option to correct the rotation. OR you can purposely tilt your camera, which can result is an interesting photo.

______

For more tips, check out How to Make Your Instagram Images Better.

More About Terri:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
More by Terri Nakamura

Please follow and like us:
error20

Should You Choose an Instagram Theme?

If you do a search, you’ll find it is a common belief that an Instagram theme for your Instagram will help in myriad ways. So I think it is worth considering whether you have had an Instagram feed for a while, or are just getting started on the platform.

Instagram Theme samples

@christine_akzoti o
@Christine_Akzoti primarily posts B&W in a modified checkboard design

Hubspot provides a list of 12 ideas to consider as a theme for your instagram:

  1. Black and White
  2. Bright Colors
  3. Minimalist
  4. One Shade
  5. Pastels
  6. One Theme
  7. Puzzle
  8. Horizontal Lines
  9. Checkerboard
  10. Black or White Borders
  11. Same Filter
  12. Flatlays
@queenhorsfall on Instagram is focused on Fashion, Travel and Fun

In the years I’ve spent on the platform, I’ve noticed others. Here are a few more themes for your Instagram

  1. Fashion (different styles)
  2. Food – pictures of cooking as well as prepared food
  3. Art (painting, professional photography; other media)
  4. Cats
  5. Flowers or plants
  6. Landscapes and seascapes (including sunrises, sunsets)
  7. Quotes or quotes with images
  8. Travel and architecture
  9. Collage (where 9 images form an image)
  10. Macros (butterflies, bees and other types of bugs; flowers and more)
  11. Animals (dogs, bunnies, horses, etc)
  12. Kids/families doing stuff
  13. Knitting. (Yes, Knitting!)

Why Themes are Useful

Cute cat pictures by @tibinekocat

One reason why an Instagram theme is useful is that, as the curator of your feed, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. If you post flowers, you know you can go for a walk in the afternoon and look for neat flowers—Piece of cake!

Another reason a theme is helpful is that it facilitates connecting with people who relate to your content.

For example, there are many people on Instagram who post only photos of their cats. Upon inspection of those who follow “cat accounts,” I’ve discovered many have “cat avatars,” and self-identify as fans of cat photos. (NOTE: If your avatar is a flower and you post flowers, or depicts the most often posted content on your feed, it allows people to quickly identify you as someone they might wish to follow.)

Using Hashtags

knitting by @elle637 – uses a variety of hashtags related to her pictures

People search for hashtags, and if your content has a consistent focus and you use hashtags, your images could pop up on search. It enhances the chances of being found and followed because of the hashtags you use. For a list of current popular hashtags, click here.

There are also apps that provide you with common hashtags based on the kind of image you are posting. One problem with them is Instagram doesn’t look upon them too kindly and will sometimes delete a post that uses “canned” hashtags.

That said, if you decide to focus your Instagram feed on your orange cat, you might choose hashtags like #cat #cats, #catsofinstagram #catlover #tabbycat #orangecat and other similar words that might lead people to find your content. And part of Instagram is posting images that others will view, like or have reactions that they want to share with you, right? Very few people want to post in a vacuum.

Share What You Enjoy

Flowers with quotes by @chinneo.lhungdim

Even though I have been aware of the importance of following an Instagram theme, I’ve elected to post whatever I want! Because for me, life is multi-faceted and I don’t want to limit myself to one visual niche.

Another thing is, you can choose a theme, like black and white, or pastels, and STILL be able to shoot anything you want. If you enjoy the photos you capture, you’ll be more inclined to share.

Do you use Instagram? What do you like best about it? I would love to read your feedback!

And thanks for checking out this post!

For more tips, check out How to Build Your Instagram Following.

More About Terri:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
More by Terri Nakamura

 

 

Please follow and like us:
error20