Most of you smart phone owners probably know about Instagram, the photo sharing app with cool filters that is loved by many and hated by some. I personally love Instagram. It’s my daily dose of inspiration form around the world and it’s amazing that the mobile phone is now a tool of artistic expression driven in a very large part, to Instagram. Are we all interested in using Instagram to make art though, or just casually. Believe me when I say this is no judgement because there’s no pressure here, if it’s for casual use then move straight on. If you may want to use your Instagram in a more creative way though, read along as I share a few tips to keep your Instagram fresh.
- Be aware of your photo composition. Instead of just taking a picture, think for an extra second why you are taking the photo and what you want to communicate with it. Make a point and try making a picture that best communicates that. Watch out for interesting textures, light, patterns, colors & shapes.
- If you have a specific topic you like to photograph, do a lot more of that. Food, architecture, fashion, street. Whatever your interest is, try get very good at it so that it shows in your Instagram gallery.
- Use your gallery as your canvas. Think outside the box. I recently got inspired by Sophie from the Netherlands to do these multi pictorial compositions for Instagram and it has transformed my account and I love making pieces that are just for Instagram. Keeps me creative.
- Don’t overdo it. Part of taking great photos is choosing. That’s the hard part. It may sound like a great idea to post 5 pictures of the same thing from the same angle but it’s not. Choose the best photo from that angle then look for another way to shoot if you still need to shoot the same subject. It shall open your eyes to more interesting images.
- Engage your audience by telling a narrative using your photos. In this age, the camera phone has become a great tool of telling stories especially in urban areas. In Africa we’ve complained about the western media showing the worst of what we have. Well, you have an opportunity to tell the story now your own way. Use the opportunity to give an insight on what it is to be you in your setting. Engage your followers while staying true to yourself and who you are.
- It’s about vision. Photography is a product of your vision more than it is a product of your camera. The brain thinks and the camera produces. The more you do it, the more you see a marked improvement in how you see (especially if that’s what you’re trying to do). A good example is @namuks as I have seen lot’s of growth since he started shooting on Instagram to now and still growing. It becomes easier to see a picture in the mundane. There are pictures in every situation. Train your eye to see that.
- Get yourself a little dirty once in a while. As much as there is beauty in the mundane, challenge yourself to go out looking for shots every once in a while. Go watch the sunset or shoot some landscapes or go out for photo-walks in your city with fellow enthusiasts when you can. Keeps you sharp and is lots of fun.
- Find a way to take photos regularly. Daily is best. Do a 365 project where you take a great photo a day and post it. If you want to, join us as we do Kenya365 and do a photo a day for a year. So far so good, we are on week 30. Check out @Kenya_365 to join the community.
- Finally, follow other great Instagrammers so that they keep you inspired on a daily. I make it a point to check out and look for interesting Instagrams to follow because I think there are so many great people out there and I don’t mind getting bombarded with awesome work every time I open my Instagram.
Today I have featured 4 good Instagrammers from Africa that are worth a follow to see what they are up to. Check out some of their work below.
@Alessiolr (Alessio La Ruffa) is from Pretoria, South Africa. I really love his railway track photos. @Craighowes1 (Craig) is from Cape Town, South Africa and he shoots fantastic sunsets mostly at Lagoon beach. Check out their work and follow them if you may.
@Quazimottoonwx (J. Qwazi King) is from Equitorial Guinea (I think) but based in New York and he shoots fantastic fashion portraits especially of Africans. I love what he does with dark skin. @Grantsmind (Grant) is based in Kenya and he takes amazing portraits of Nomads. He gives a glimpse of what is to be a nomad. Check these guys out too.
At the end of the day, of course, your Instagram is yours and I can’t tell you what to do with it. There’s no pressure here to be all serious with photos and all but don’t we all want to look at our photos and think, “I made some good stuff here!” I think so. These tips may help.
While at it, check out my Instagram @truthslinger and give me a follow to get a glimpse of my life. Do have a shutter filled day people.