5 Helpful Tips for Better Instagram Photos

image by Danielle Poff Photography

Instagram is definitely my favorite form of social media. What about you? It's fun to show daily clips of life, work, or whatever it is I'm doing! You'll often catch cute pictures of my family's dog, Hope, flowers, sweet treats (like the donuts my boyfriend brought to the airport for me when I got back to Michigan last week), what I'm wearing that day, client projects, the view out my window, and more. 

Not only is it fun to post pictures throughout my day, Instagram has also been a great marketing tool for me. Many of my clients, both past and present, have found me on Instagram and then emailed me inquiring about my interior design services. In the same way, I've used Instagram to find some of the most talented women in the creative industries, who I wouldn't have known about otherwise. So whether you are looking to grow your blog, business or brand through Instagram, or just looking to take better pictures of your dog, kids, work, and life, hopefully these simple tips help you!

1. Clean off your camera lens.

I don't know about you, but I often have makeup or a fingerprint on my camera lens of my phone. Before you take your photo, wipe your lens off on your shirt or pants to rid it of all the smudges. This will ensure you get a crisp picture!

2. Lighting.

The key to a bright and airy photo is, of course, good lighting. The "perfect" light is filtered light, not direct sunlight. Your subject could be in a shaded area on a sunny day, anywhere outside on a gray day (overcast skies is great lighting for pictures), or next to the window (if there isn't direct sun streaming through the window). If people can't see the photo because the light is too harsh or there isn't enough light, they will probably pass by your picture.

3. Subject.

Another important part of your picture is, you know, the actual thing in the picture! The content greatly determines the amount of social interaction, which also effects how many views and new followers you could potentially gain. This is really only important if you're using your Instagram as a form of marketing and a resource to reach new clients. 

What you take pictures of also supports your brand. I'm an interior designer and love styling, fashion, and everything that goes along with those topics, so I consider that before posting a photo to help build my brand. Then there are the "life" photos that are less styled and more fun (pictures of my pup, a selfie with my boyfriend, or a picture from our family vacation last week). For me, it's important to have a balance.

4. Angles.

Vary the angles of your photos. Take some ariel shots, straight on, pulled away shots, and tight shots so followers can get a variety of peeks into your life! Take a lot of different angles of the same set up before deciding on the shot you're going to publish. Sometimes different angles of the same set up tell different stories and show a different (or better) perspective. Choosing the right angle is specifically key for showing how to do a DIY project; pay attention to the angle, making sure your followers and audience can see exactly how to do something.

5. Filters and editing apps.

Instagram did add new filters to their bank, but I still don't prefer them over other editing apps. I personally use Afterlight, but know lots of people love and get great results from PicTapGo and VSCO Cam. Right now I'm really in to bright, airy photos-- making sure to not make them over-edited! Below is how I edit each my photos:

Other Tips:
- Take pictures in your phone's camera, not in the Instagram or editing app. Don't as me why, but pictures come out more clear if they're taken in the phone's camera.
- Do take photos of appetizing food. Do not take photos of something that looks awful, even if it tastes great ;) I've actually been nauseated while scrolling through my feed before.  #nothanks
- Capturing small details are great for Instagram since it's such a small window square that we're looking at.

Do you have any other tips for taking better Instagram photos? Be sure to follow along with me!

Happy Tuesday!


  1. Thank you for these tips! They are really helpful!.
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  2. Thank you for sharing! These are great tips to remember! I'm always finding ways to take better photos in not only instagram!

    Great post!

  3. LOVE these tips! And love the app. suggestions. Thanks for sharing! :)

  4. Haha... I always thought that vscocam was just some weird popular hashtag on instagram... now I know it's an actual thing! I feel so dumb haha!


  5. Thanks for the tips! I also love the Square Ready app for when I don't want my photo cropped into a square for Instagram. :)

  6. IG is totally my favorite social media too. Great tips - I need to beef up my editing apps! Unrelated, did you see my e-mail last week (I think I sent last week)? Somehow I had like three different e-mails for you and am not sure I used the right one or that it even went through!

  7. These are such good tips!! I use Snapseed to edit most of my pictures and love using it way more than the tools/filters IG provides.

  8. This is such a great post, Michaela! I remember all of your Instagram secrets from Bloom. So helpful and thoughtful to share with your readers! I feel like Instagram is the new way of keeping up with blogs since there are so many now. You have one of the prettiest Instagrams I've ever seen! xo

  9. Hey,.! This is nice. Thanks for the share.


Thank you for stopping by! If you have a specific question, please email me at hello@michaelanoelledesigns.com. I always reply to emails! Have a blessed day! xoxo

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