Take Better Instagrams With These 7 Tips

We’ve pooled some visual and photography experts for tips on how to get the most out of everyone's favorite photo-sharing social network.

What can we say, we love a good interiors Instagram. And while we're happy to see your latest DIY accomplishment or the amazing chair you spotted at the flea market, as Insta connoisseurs, we thought we could share some tips on how to step up your 'gram game. "It's important to curate an interesting and engaging experience for the people that look at your images," accomplished celebrity and interiors photographer Douglas Friedman shares. "There are so many images out there, yours better rise above the masses." To help you capture those truly great moments and best convey your personal aesthetic to your followers, we asked Friedman, celebrated photographer and director Justin Coit, and Domaine's Editorial Director Mat Sanders for their tips, tricks, and favorite apps to achieve photo greatness.
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light thumb 1. It's All About the Light. "Be mindful of light," Coit recommends. "I always try to brighten the image using the focus rectangle on my phone to expose the darkest areas of the frame." Natural light is great for photo taking, especially during the first and last hours of the day. The low-lying sun creates a flattering glow leading to sharper photos. Of course if the perfect moment presents itself, snap away, just try to use natural light to illuminate your subject as much as possible.
forcus thumb 2. Switch Your Focus. Avoid the selective blur tool in Instagram for interior shots and instead draw attention to your chosen subject by manipulating your camera's point of focus. To draw attention to small details and vignettes, get in there. Most smartphones capture great images from as close as three to six inches so try taking photos with your intended subject up close letting the objects in the background blur.
angles thumb 3. Be Aware of Angles. "Pay attention to your angles," Coit suggests. "Make sure you don't shoot angled too far up or down as to throw off the lines in the image. In my interiors work, I always make sure every line from a window frame or wall is perfectly vertical." If you happened to snap something on the go, use the editing tools in your phone's camera or in our favorite apps (see below) to reposition your image and straighten out your lines before cropping.
zoom thumb 4. Don't Zoom. If you can, avoid the zoom function on your smartphone when taking photos. Instead, take the photo from the natural distance and then crop the image to hone in on your selected subject. Your photo will likely be sharper and brighter than if you had zoomed in for the same effect.
Perspective thumb 5. Rethink Your Perspective. "When shooting furniture, get low," Sanders recommends. "Rooms often look best when shot just above the level of the seat or table surface." Diversify your perspective and experiment by looking at your subject from different angles. Stand on a chair or your sofa for views from above -- great for table settings or styled surfaces.
small thumb 6. Be Mindful of the Small Stuff. All of our experts agree, small details make for powerful images. "Sometimes you can tell the story of the room by capturing a perfect, small vignette as opposed to struggling to get everything in the room in one shot," Coit says. "Focusing on a vignette or portion of the room will look great in that square crop," Sanders agrees. "It's okay to add or remove something to make the composition stronger," Friedman adds. With that in mind, be sure to pay attention to your backgrounds. The shot of your peony bouquet and beautiful candle is lovely but we can still see the slightly-blurry pile of laundry in the background.
rush thumb 7. Don't Rush It "Spend time composing the picture," Friedman suggests. "Respect your followers and take your time. Pay attention to the details. Treat every picture you take as if it was the only one you could ever show the world." Be patient when working on the perfect capture and limit your posting to only those images that are truly great. "There's nothing more annoying than someone that posts 10 pictures in a row of the same thing (or anything for that matter)," Friedman shares.
  _2 _1 With selective adjustment tools, auto adjust features, exclusive filters, and Google + capabilities, this is one of the most talked-about editing tools around. free, iTunes _2 Use their Precision Slide to adjust the strength of their settings and tools for personal results. Easy comparisons to your original and edited photos allow you to stay on top of just how much you're adjusting your capture. Preset Packs allow for one stop shopping when determining best settings for your aesthetic. free, iTunes _3 Developed by photographer Simon Filip this app is perfect for quick editing on the fly. 15 adjustment tools, 56 filters (some exclusive to the app), and 66 textures, or "light leaks," enable a fully customizable experience. $1, iTunes _4 With separate settings for exposure and focus, this app will help you get professional-looking photos out your phone's existing camera function. Clarity and stability functions further ensure you're always getting the best shot. $2, iTunes _new Post full-size vertical and horizontal images without having to crop into Instagram's square parameters. A popular app with photo buffs who can't bear to part with any of the details in their original capture. free, iTunes In the comments below, share your favorite apps or tricks of the trade for taking amazing pictures worthy of tons of likes. And be sure you're following Domaine for up-to-the-minute decor inspiration!
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