As you’ve probably noticed already, Instagram users are more likely to hit “like” on a photo if it has a picture of you in it. A picture of a beautiful landscape looks stunning but add a human in it for perspective and it really takes the shot to the next level.
But how do you get amazing photos of yourself if you’re travelling solo? Not everyone has a photographer boyfriend or an influencer photographer to go around with them to capture that perfect shot, although we’re secretly envious of those who do!
And how do those famous Instagrammers look so damn stunning in every shot?
Here we’re going to share some tips and tricks for how to take good Instagram photos of yourself – it’s actually easier than you think:
Get a good camera
Top Instagrammers aren’t always using their iPhones to take Instagram photos. Sometimes they do but a lot of the time they’re using mirrorless or DSLR cameras then transferring the images to their phone via Wi-Fi.
Investing in decent equipment is key if you want to take awesome Instagram photos of yourself. Many Instagram photographers love the Sony a7 series of cameras. Olympus and Fuji also make some great mirrorless cameras, as does Panasonic. Personally I use the Panasonic G85/G80 as it’s a great all-round camera with a flip screen and the ability to shoot 4K video but it also shoots some fantastic images too.
Mirrorless is definitely the best option as the cameras are more lightweight than traditional DSLRs, making them easy to carry around. Some suggested camera models are:
Fuji XT 2
Set up the shot, then ask someone to take it
Hand someone your phone and it’s likely they’ll chop off your feet or take it from the wrong angle. However, if you frame the shot up in advance, you can simply show them where to stand and exactly how to hold the camera. Then all you have to do is pose!
I often get them to stand in position first so I can see what it will look like,
Strike a pose
Instagrammers have the art of “posing” down to a fine art. Having been on many press trips with lifestyle bloggers I can tell you that they don’t just strike one pose. Instead they move around, they play with their hair, they look away from the camera or perhaps make a yoga pose in order to get a more relaxed looking shot. Have fun with the photo – try jumping, try some ballet, look to the ground, look up…just try different things and see what works.
Co-ordinate your clothing
The top Instagrammers tend to pay attention to their outfits, opting for outfits and accessories that pop. A floppy hat is a great accessory for vacation photos, particularly if you’re having a photo taken facing away from the camera. Many of the most stylish people on Instagram choose outfits that co-ordinate with the scenery in some way. For example, if you’re travelling in Mykonos you could choose a white, flowy outfit and blue accessories. Don’t be afraid to be daring and bold with your outfit choices!
Get a tripod
I always travel with a Joby Gorillapod and a Manfrotto tripod. The Joby is great as I can wrap the legs around objects like trees and lamp posts when I’m on the go, then I’ll either shoot a 4K video of myself or set my camera to timer. The Manfrotto is better for when I’m planning a shoot in the street and I need something that can extend to full height. If you like to take pictures with your phone then I’d recommend the Pixter
Get a remote
Having a remote control for your camera means that you don’t have to worry about timer shots. Instead you can get into position and use the remote to press the shutter when you’re ready. Using the Panasonic app I can actually use my mobile phone as a remote control in order to take a picture, which is pretty handy when I’m flying solo. When I’m too far away from the screen it allows me to check I’m in shot before snapping the photo.
Shoot in 4K video
My favourite trick for taking photos of myself is using 4K video. Panasonic cameras have a 4K photo mode which allows you to capture 4K video, then select your favourite frame from the video and save it as a still jpeg. I currently travel with the Panasonic G85/G80 and use this 4K photo feature a lot.
By taking video, I can move around, pull a bunch of different poses and then select the exact moment where I look my absolute best. All I have to do is play the 4K video back and then scroll through the frames and select the shot I want. The camera will save it to the SD card and then I have the perfect shot. It’s ideal for situations where I want to capture myself in motion.
Use Lightroom presets
All the top bloggers are creating presets for Lightroom that turn even the dullest, darkest photo into a magical scene. If you’re comfortable with using Lightroom then you can simply import your photo and play around with the settings until you have the perfect image. If you’re not comfortable with that then you can pay to purchase their presets. The Blonde Abroad for instance charges $67 for her “Fire and Ice” collection.
Download the best Instagram editing apps
There are so many great Instagram editing apps. Currently my favourites are A Color Story and VSCO. If you’re not comfortable with using Lightroom then these are the best apps out there for filters, light leaks and other effects. Many Instagram users also swear by Snapseed and also Adobe’s Lightroom App. As a rule, the lighter the image, the greater the number of likes. Aim for light, bright colours, pastel hues and plenty of white space in your images for maximum effect.
Smooth out those blemishes
Facetune is one of my go-to apps because it allows me to smooth out my skin and get rid of any blemishes. I also use TouchRetouch to remove unwanted objects from the background, such as electricity lines or litter on the floor.
So there you have it, some of the hidden tricks people of Instagram use in order to take amazing photos. Even if you’re travelling on vacation alone, you can still take awesome photos with a little help from a tripod, or a stranger!