How To Make Beautiful Instagram Photos With Just Your Smartphone

Laura Tolentino

Updated on:

how to shoot perfect instagram photos

It is not that easy to capture great photos for Instagram but it is also not that difficult once you know what you are doing. You surely want to build a good Instagram feed, one that will make you feel WOW. With this in mind, here are some tips that will help you make some beautiful Instagram photos with just the smartphone alone.

Set Up Your Phone First

Before you even think about lighting, editing, and composition, you have to properly set up your smartphone. You basically have to know exactly how to work with what you get. This is pivotal for the beautiful Instagram photographs you want.

2 things are of particular importance:

Photo Under-Exposure

Smartphones will blow out some parts of the photo. As a result, over-highlighted parts appear. This can be fixed with the use of under-exposure. Usually, it is better to have a photo that is a little under-exposed since this can easily be changed with editing.

As a very simple example, when you use an iPhone, tap on the phone’s brightest area and h old it. This locks in exposure and focus. After you do this, the camera can be moved around in order to get the photograph you want. This is superb when you shoot in direct sunlight.

Keep HDR Off

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is not that easy to get right. It will make your picture look overdone and unnatural. Basically, HDR will take different exposures for the same photograph. Then, these are put together in a single photograph and you end up with numerous details. Usually, you want to keep things simple when you take a photo for Instagram. In most cases, HDR should be off.

Capturing The Shot With A Phone

Even if you use just a small iPhone, you want to capture a perfect shot. This automatically involves lighting and composition. When you get these down, you take much better Instagram photographs. You might even be able to take some photos of a similar quality as with a wedding photographer Bath.


There is one main goal to think about when discussing composition. You want to find a straight way to the photo subject for the viewers as you capture an emotion or a story. Not many things can make you say WOW or “great photo”. Try to consider the following useful things:

Rule Of Thirds

This is actually the golden rule you need to follow in photography. You align the subject with literal guidelines and intersection points that are made into squares. This allows the image to move from one section to the next in order to create interest and energy.

The great thing about a smartphones is that there is a grid tool already included. You just have to activate the phone’s “Grid” setting.

Create A Signature

You need to stand out with your Instagram photographs so you need a unique style. As people visit the profile, they have to figure out exactly what you have to offer. This is why you should never think about a single Instagram photograph. You have to think about your entire feed.

Preview the Instagram feed by using Later on your desktop or phone. Re-arrange the photographers whenever you need to.

Use A Palette

This can be a style palette or a color palette. You need to stick to a theme that is very good for you and that makes the photographs pop up. This is very easy to be done when you choose a neutral, cold, or warm color palette.

Neutral is minimal and is very useful for home brands, lifestyle, and fashion. The warm photos are great for travel photography. Cold photographs are perfect for landscape and nature photography.


Before you shoot a photograph, remember the fact that when it is badly lit, you cannot save it. Remember this when you plan your lighting:

Use Natural Light

When you shoot on your smartphone, you can take truly fantastic photographs when enough light is present. When you have to shoot a photo indoors, it is a good idea to sit close to a window while avoiding artificial light. This would lead to a yellow tint.

Shoot Pictures At A Correct Time

When you take photos at dusk or dawn, light contrasts and soft shadows appear. With Instagram, you cannot afford this since you want perfect light. Always make sure the time is right since this will help you save a lot of time when you edit your photographs.

Sunny vs Cloudy

Always embrace gray weather. When days are cloudy, shooting conditions are optimal. This is because light will spread out everywhere. It also allows you to do a whole lot more during post-production. Want to take that stunning selfie? You do it on a cloudy day.

Final Thoughts

A smartphone is oftentimes enough when you want to take a great photograph for Instagram and the tips above will surely help you out. However, you should remember that editing is a huge part of everything. Before you upload images to Instagram, you need to edit them. This is why you should absolutely learn more about editing than the average person.