Instagram is the go-to place to boast about what a great time you’re having on holiday. But how can you make your photos stand out from the reams of blurry food shots and iffy selfies? We asked our Deputy Editor and resident photography expert Abi to share her easy tips for taking top Instagram images on your travels.
And once you’ve had a chance to put our tips to the test, tag your best i-escape holiday snaps with #iescapetrip for your chance to win £100 i-escape voucher – we’re giving away one each month until the end of the year so there are plenty of chances to bag a prize.
Use the native camera app
Use your phone’s normal camera, rather than the camera function within Instagram itself. You’ll have much more control over your photos, and you can take multiple snaps then choose which to upload.
Find the light
Unless you want an overexposed, rabbit-in-headlights effect, turn off the flash and shoot in natural light. Try to stand with the light source behind you or to the side so that it illuminates your subject; sometimes just turning around or moving a bit nearer a window can transform your image. If you’re struggling, tap the darkest area of your screen to add more light to your photo.
Pick your time of day, too – the soft glow of morning and late afternoon tends to produce much better results than the harsh glare (or boring white sky, if you’re unlucky with the weather) of midday.
It may sound obvious, but hold your phone as still as possible to avoid blurring – finding a handy table or wall to steady yourself can help. And remember that on most phones, you need to tap the screen where you want to focus the shot.
Try the rule of thirds
This is a technique that artists and photographers have used for centuries to add balance and interest to their work. Luckily, it’s one that anyone can put into practice – just imagine your image divided into nine segments (many phones let you add a grid to the screen to help), and position the main subject on one of the intersecting lines. Simple!
Lead the eye
Another sneaky trick is to draw the viewer’s eye into the photo with a line or curve – perhaps a sweep of shoreline, a road snaking into the distance, or even a diagonal wall cutting across the foreground.
Experiment with video
Liven up your feed (or your stories) with simple videos. Instagram’s Boomerang app is great fun for creating short loops of scenes like people jumping into a pool. Or try holding your camera/phone still (or better still propping it up on a wall or table) and taking clips of a view where one element is moving, like waves crashing on a beach or a hammock swinging in the breeze.
Play with perspectives
Don’t be afraid to experiment: try searching for a different angle (perhaps though a window, from a bird’s-eye view, or looking up from below), framing your subject with foliage or buildings, or even taking a picture of a reflection or shadow.
Look for details
Small details (a quirky chair, a colourful cocktail, a weird and wonderful lamp) can be just as appealing on Instagram as an amazing view. Snap what catches your eye, and not just the obvious landmarks which everyone photographs.
Keep things simple
Often the simplest images are the most striking, so try to avoid too much ‘clutter’ (particularly important for Instagram photos, which are normally viewed on small screens). And don’t overdo the editing – Instagram and other editing apps such as VSCO Cam have some fantastic tools to brighten colours, straighten wonky shots and add filters, but play around with things too much and you risk losing the essence of your photo.
Finally, share the results for your chance to win!
Tag your i-escape holiday snaps with #iescapetrip and @iescapehotels, and we’ll share our favourites with our followers. We’ll pick anything from hotel photos to magnificent views and city scenes. Plus, one lucky Instagrammer each month will win £100 voucher to spend on any i-escape stay.