How to take the perfect Instagram photo

Capturing the perfect Instagram image with your phone can be harder than it looks. To help you create an Instagram feed that engages and ‘wows’ your audience, here’s our guide to taking and editing images – all from your phone!

Step 1: Setting up your Phone

Before you begin, there are two things you need to know in order to work your phone camera to take an Instagrammable photo:

Under-expose your shot

Mobile phones tend to blow out proportions of images taken in natural lighting, leaving you with over-highlighted areas. There is a trick to fix this: under-exposing your shot. It is better to have a slightly under-exposed photo which can be edited, instead of ruining the whole shot with over-exposure. To do this on your iPhone, tap and hold the brightest area of your phone when taking a pic and this locks in the focus and exposure.

Keep HDR off

High Dynamic Range is hard to get right and can make an image look unnatural/overdone. This function takes many different exposures of the same photo, and puts them together in one photo. Keep it simple, less is more when it comes to taking the perfect photo.

Step 2: Capturing the photo

The key thing you should think about when capturing an image is composition. Once you get this mastered, dream-worthy photos will be your future.


Composing an image means arranging elements within a way that suits the core idea or goal of your work best. A good composition is one that has just enough detail and balance.

Create a signature style

Having a unique and authentic style for your feed is the key to standing out and finding success on Instagram. Instead of thinking about each image individually, think ahead and plan out your Instagram feed as a whole then capture the photos with this in mind.

Stick to a palette

Whether it is a colour or style palette, finding and sticking to one that works for you will make your Instagram photos pop. A great tip for this is to choose a warm, cold or neutral colour palette for your Instagram feed. Neutral is generally minimal and best used for lifestyle and home brands.

Step 3: Post-production and editing techniques

Once you have captured an incredible image, take it the next step with these Instagram photo editing apps, and some helpful tips:

VSCO – an elegant, easy-to-use app that’s a must for every serious Instagrammer.
Snapseed – the ultimate fine-tuning app. Snapseed is an all-purpose photo editor perfect for image enhancements and corrections.
A colour story – each filter is created with colour in mind. Their “Disco Ball” filter will instantly remove shadows and increase whites.