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Tips For Improving Your Instagram Photos

I mentioned on Facebook this week that I have developed an obsession with Instagram. I love being able to share quick and easy sneak peeks into what’s going on at JAA, without feeling the pressure of writing a blog post about it. Lately, I have been working on improving the quality of my Instagram feed and I thought I’d share what I take into consideration before hitting that little “share” button that sends my photos to your feed.


1. Throw in some photos from your “good camera” – I know it’s extra work to send photos from your good camera to your photo to upload them to Instagram. And sure, the iPhone takes decent photos on it’s own. But, in my opinion, the quality of the iPhone photo will never reach the quality of an actual camera (at least not anytime soon). I used to take iPhone photos of new products and post them on Instagram. Then I realized that I put so much time and effort into taking my product photos for my shop, why would I want to promote my products with an Instagram photo? The photos from my shop are so much better, brighter, sharper. 

2.  Avoid low light photos as much as possible – This is a rule for photography in general I think, but especially when it comes to iPhone photos. You know what I’m talking about, those dark images that pop up on your feed with a grainy, yellow cast over them? Not purty. I now try to wait until the next to take snap a shot of whatever I wanted to share the night before. If you can’t avoid a night time shot, trying to include some pretty lights or candles.

3. Use editing apps – If you do find yourself in low light situations, there are editing apps that can really help the quality of a so-so image. I currently use Pic-Tap-Go on almost all of my photos, regardless if they are darkly lit or not. Getting used to the app can take some time but I really like the amount of options they have and it can improve the look of your photos greatly. I also occasionally use the PixFx app if I want to add effects to my photos.

4. Lay off on the pet photos – First off, let me say I am completely guilty of this. I’m also probably completely guilty of clicking “Like” on all of your pet photos. But for me, personally, I am trying to chillax on how much Penny cuteness I share with the world. I feel like, in the past, my Penny photos have dominated my feed, and as much as I love her, that’s not what I want my business Instagram profile to be so focused on. Of course, I will never have enough self control to completely stop sharing my floppy eared mutt via iPhone, but I’m taking baby steps to cut down the quantity a bit.

5. Instagram sales in moderation: I am all for using Instagram as an advertising tool (obviously). And yes, it’s an easy way to try to quickly sell something. Maybe a few things. But if you want to use your Instagram profile to sell items regularly (I’ve seen it done daily) I suggest creating a separate profile. This is based on the fact that people can specifically follow your Instagram sales profile if they have an interest in buying your items. For me, when I see Instagramers start to sell items daily in my feed, it’s like I’m receiving e-mails from a list I didn’t subscribe to. If you’re not into making a new account specifically for selling items, I still recommend selling in moderation so followers don’t feel spammed.

I would love to hear more tips you have to share! Do you have any rules you try to follow when posting on social media? Or do you have a “loose thumb?”

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Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Nessa says:

    This doesn’t help your photos, but it helps to keep followers: Don’t post like 30 photos an hour, pretty much all day. It’s a little overkill.

  • I found a new app I love for editing…Snapseed. Love it.

  • mooooore penny photos! haha maybe penny needs an ig account… 🙂

  • I have recently cut back on my dog shots as well! I got carried away for a minute, and like Nessa, I COMPLETELY agree- I will delete someone if they post 15 pictures in a row of “latergrams. No, people, it’s #INSTAgram.

  • gina says:

    Oh yeah….#4 is all me! I say this as I just posted another photo of Finn :).
    I have been trying to improve my instagram photos too. Now that I finally got an iphone last week, it helps. the droid took crappy pics.

  • Amy says:

    Why oh why do I not have an iphone??

    Amy| The Little Koala Blog ♥

  • Sammy Casey says:

    Great tips. Thank you!

    I agree about the pet pics… I’m so guilty of this! It’s hard not to snap a photo any time the little mister is being cute (which if you ask me is always). I’ll have to work on this, as well 🙂


  • Jessica Who? says:

    i’m totally guilty of the pet photos! i have no self control. but seriously i’ve been trying so hard not to post one of him everyday.. i’ll keep trying 🙂
    and i’m guilty of the low-light photos too! mostly because i have no patience to wait until the next day. but then i always regret it when i’m looking at my feed and it looks so crappy. — i’m working on this!
    i also LOVE using editing apps. probably too much… i think i have 5 or 6 photo editing apps on my phone!

    thanks for the tips! xx

  • Jay Bendt says:

    I’m totally guilty of the pet thing, so I keep a personal account that’s private and friends-only, and then the one for my shop. Easy as that.

  • Cody Doll says:

    I think that is a great advice. Right now, I am just trying to post one pix a day to let my followers know I am alive. It’s hard to do but I think once I get used to instagraming it will be easier.

    Thanks for sharing,

  • I like the “raw” ness on Instagram. I follow people to be able to get a glimpse into their personal life! So I enjoy all your personal photos as well as the thrown in glimpses into whats going on in the business world. I can follow all of the business stuff in your shop and blog – but I follow your instagram so I can see you in your raw element.

    So keep the penny photos coming! 🙂 You do a good job of not spamming your feed with official JAA stuff already!!

  • …. addendum.. one of my fav photos was of your bike basket full of mail.. i thought.. i want to be able to work full time for myself one day and take a nice leisurely bike ride to the post office to ship off orders!

  • chelsea says:

    I only just recently realized I could upload nicer photos to my phone to use on Instagram…I’m a little slow with the technology thing. I’m so torn between doing this often and keeping the instantaneous quality that instagram provides. Oh well…I’ll find a balance eventually…

  • Mackenzie says:

    I wish I had an iphone… but i’m so glad they have instagram for android finally!


  • Alyson says:

    Great post! Reminded me that I have been meaning to write a post about love for Afterlight:)

    Also, I wanted to thank you for the card I ordered from you on Etsy. SO CUTE! And so quick! Thanks again:)

  • I use Snapseed to edit my pics, there are so many out there! I find all of my photos are grainy, not sure if Instagram puts them through a ‘shittification’ process (thats what we call compression in our TV design area!) but I definitely notice the poor quality when I save the images on a ‘proper’ computer rather than my phone screen. I’m hoping an upgrade to my phone soon will help this problem too, my phone is about 5 years old and it reflects in the images…

  • Great tips! I’m also definitely guilty of the pet photos as well but have been getting better. I’m going to download those editing tools you suggested as I tend to just snap and post and haven’t really played with editors. Sounds like fun!

    xx Lorelai
    Seams Unbiased

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