​​Creating Instagram-able Photos without Filters

By Natalie Petrellis

Have you ever wondered whether #nofilter on Instagram really means that no filter was used? Have you ever wondered how you could create the perfect Instagram-able photograph without editing it at all? If you don’t have a hi-tech camera or any photography knowledge, don’t stress, because I have a few tips to help get you started.

Firstly, know your elements and principles of design. If you’re a make-up artist, this may be something you are familiar with. You don’t have to use all elements and principles in each photograph, but knowing which ones you can use together and how is really important. For a basic rundown of each element and principle, have a look at this infographic by Canva:

So let’s talk about framing. Whether you’re creating a flat lay of products or taking portraits, you need to know how to frame the images to get the best results. The simplest way to do this is to have a look at some images you like and mimic their presentation. This doesn’t mean you should copy or use the exact same products, but notice how they have been effectively positioned in an aesthetically pleasing way. By now you may have realised that framing encompasses many other elements and principles of design such as movement, line, depth.

Framing also has a lot to do with the rule of thirds. In the ‘adjust’ edit section on Instagram, have you noticed three lines that appear vertically and also horizontally across your image? These lines are there to guide you to frame your image accurately. You should aim to align the subjects/subject in your image with the lines or at the intersections of the lines. Of course you can play around with this rule, but these are the points that the eye is naturally attracted to.

The next tip I have is to know your brand/aesthetic. This is allowed to changed over time, however you should be consistent in your content. The best way to build a brand is to be consistent. This means that at the beginning of every season you may choose to create a mood board for your own personal use—this may include inspiring colours, textures, people etc. and this will help you to maintain a certain aesthetic. It is perfectly okay to switch up your aesthetic as each season comes and goes, just make sure that you are streamline your style throughout all images. Many brands do this and it can be quite appealing to scroll down a certain Instagram page and see a group of soft rose-coloured images, then white, then grey, then powder blue and so on. Just so long as you maintain your own personal style throughout.

Some ways to do this is by using similar textures, models, and camera angles. Also writing captions in the same voice/tone can help anchor your audience. They will know what to expect from you and it can help them to develop stronger connections with you and your brand, if they know why you have posted a new image.

Lighting is also important. Using daylight is perfect, however, as I mentioned in my “How to create a ‘Trending’ Makeup Tutorial” blog post, https://www.beautifinda.com.au/how-to-create-a-trending-makeup-tutorial daylight can be unreliable. Consider what angles to take photos from to make the best of your lighting situation. Also consider what kind of unnatural lighting you have access to. If you have access to studio lighting of some sort, that will obviously be great, so try investing in a couple of soft boxes and they may help cancel out any lighting issues.

But sometimes, candid photographs are just horrible because you might just find yourself in a room with really bad lighting. This is where filters can be useful. If you really want or need to use a filter, of course you can use them. Just remember to not overuse them. You can use other apps that have more filters and editing options, such as Snapseed, Photo Editor by Aviary, and A Color Story. Just make sure you stick to similar filters, as it’s more aesthetically appealing if your Instagram has a consistent look throughout.

As long as you remember the elements and principles of design, make the best of your lighting situation, and maintain your personal/brand style, you should be able to maintain an enviable Instagram presence. Happy Instagramming!