How to be a pro on Instagram: Best tips for editing to get the ‘picture perfect’

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New Delhi | Updated: Dec 03, 2018 4:10 PM

For starters, a picture should have a balanced lighting and popping colours

Best tips for editing to get the ‘picture perfect’

A thing of beauty is a joy forever and a good photograph captures it perfectly. However, posting just a picture doesn’t do the trick these days. These days, for a picture to grab eyeballs, a talking point has to be established.

Millions of photographs are uploaded on Instagram every day and what makes some stand out more than their captivating beauty are their engaging captions and quirky but popular hashtags.

So, what makes it “picture perfect”?

Earlier, getting a picture done right meant hiring a professional photographer but today technology has advanced so much one doesn’t have to be a professional at all.

With the advent of social media and its simplified tools, making a photo engaging isn’t rocket science anymore! In fact, this has involved into an art form where you engage with your followers directly.

For starters, a picture should have a balanced composition – popping colours, filters, and lighting.

Triggering conversations is the best way to grab eyeballs and connect with the followers. Here are some of the tips and tricks that would help post that perfect picture on Instagram.

1. Balanced lighting

Roman Architect Luciana Pinto makes good use of natural light. (Luciana Pinto/Instagram)

For a photo to “pop out” on Instagram, it has to have a balanced lighting. Be sure to keep in mind that lighting is the key to bring all the elements in the photo. Make ample use of natural light over artificial light – early mornings or late afternoons are the best time to go for photo shoots if you are planning an outdoor location.

For indoors, various shades of light is the key to get the perfect shot that you may have likely seen on the platform. Be creative and play with different colour lights, especially blue and red, that give a nice tint to the photo.

2. Defined shapes, colour tones

Graphic Designer Dirk Bakker is an expert when comes to capturing strong shapes, lines, and forms. (Dirk Bakker/Instagram)

Defined lines, shapes, and colour tones enhance photos, always.

Select an element for the photo that will help define your subject and keep a full focus on allowing that element to dominate the frame. This will help in drawing attention to the photos of your desired audiences. If this tells a story, emotions will flawlessly flow through the photo. An amateur photographer can learn this skill by investing time and training.


3. Top editing apps to the rescue

Although Instagram comes with a good range of filters, sometimes they are just not enough. Make use of third-party apps and tools to get that Instagram-worthy photo. Camouflage photobombers, sharpen colour tones and balanced lighting, the look, feel and quality of a picture can be enhanced in a jiffy but if you have more requirements these apps can also get you in contact with professionals who can do the work for you.

Mendr, Adobe Photoshop Express, BeautyPlus, B612 Apps, Retrica, Candy Camera are some of the most popular ones.


4. Grid reference and Rule of thirds

The account “thegoldenpatels” dedicated to photography is a perfect example of the Rule of Thirds (thegoldenpatels/instagram)

One of the most important guidelines in professional photography, Rule of thirds says that an image should always be divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines; most important elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.

Therefore, grid reference is used to successfully align all the elements in the picture.

John Thomas Smith, English painter, engraver and antiquarian, in 1797, wrote: “Two distinct, equal lights, should never appear in the same picture.” The idea is that the composition of the picture should have one focus and align the elements in balanced light and get a point of interest.

Even today, the rule holds true. You could experiment on your own – Look at the overlapping elements on your screen and find the midpoint of the picture. Take the photo once you successfully find out the overlapping centre of it.


5. Use your eyes before your lens

This picture has a bridge in focus and has a good caption. (Luciana Pinto/Instagram)

The first step to take a good picture is to observe the sight around you and compose a frame in your mind. It’s with that vision you put a picture in a frame.
This way, you can get the subject in your picture and will be able to tell a story as well.

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6. Minor edits are important but “less is more”

While basic edits with shadows and highlights also enhance the picture, the main element has to be the sole focus and conservative adjustments with contrast and warmth is the key.
In the final stage of editing, make sure to compare the original picture with the edited one as this will give you an idea of how many additions you’ve made to the photo.

It’s the case so often that people overuse brightness and saturation and effectively kill the picture’s story, thereby, diminishing the picture’s appeal. Many times, people tend to over-edit the pictures.


7. Effects and filters

Effects and filters can instantly give your picture an interesting angle.

Use gradient filters to lighten foregrounds and darken skies. You can also give your picture a retro look by using vignette filters. Experiment and learn with filters to get that perfect result.


8. It’s quality, not quantity

One good picture versus lots of bad pictures – take your pick. Pick your location, select a subject, compose a frame and keep a good lighting.

That’s the most basic way of getting a composition for a good picture.


9. Practice and practice

Practice makes a man perfect! Experiment, train and learn because if you fail, you can always try again!

Begin by taking several pictures of the same subject from different angles and choose the one that best tells your heart’s story. Your audience should be able to see your story. Keep practising and soon you will be able to take pictures with balanced lighting and sharp colour tones to get a perfect picture.

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