Tips for better Instagram photos from Talisman photographers

Taking and choosing the right pictures to post to your Instagram can be a stressful task, especially for those who aren’t professional photographers. However, professional photographers use their phones to snap eye-catching pictures all the time. Forget fancy photo equipment — here are some tips and tricks from 10 Talisman staff photographers.

  • The web visuals editor Lily Thompson said clean backgrounds produce better photos. She also said window light is the best for selfies, and for any other photo.

  • Maggie Haun said to grab and direct the viewer’s eyes to your photo to look for leading lines and repetition. She also said to look for interesting textures and to get creative with your photos.

  • If you can afford it, Eric Vazquez said a flexible phone tripod will give you more freedom to pose when used with the timer function on your camera.
  • Sometimes to get the best background you have to think outside the box. Brittany Morrison took one of her photos inside a bathroom with her friend standing on a toilet to achieve the best background. Morrison likes to find fun angles and said using a bird’s eye view makes photos more interesting.


  • Allie Hendricks said to have flattering light in photos to use natural indirect light.

  • Addison LeBoutillier said adding a reflector to your photo taking process is a great and affordable way to give your photos a studio lighting look.  
  • Emma Steele said to use bright colors in your images to make them pop. She also said sometimes less is more and simple images can be visually appealing.

  • Morgan Bass said to find silhouettes or interesting lighting to make your subject stand out. She also said to use the rule of thirds to offset the subject instead of putting them in the center of the frame. To picture the rule of thirds, imagine your photo divided into thirds horizontally and vertically with a grid like a tic-tac-toe board — place your subject at the intersection of two of those lines. She said you can also frame your subject with doorways or other lines to draw attention to your subject. Bass also said she advises against VSCO filters, instead experiment with the contrast and exposure sliders.

  • Rhyne Newton said to use colors to your advantage on Instagram. Once you decide on a color scheme for your feed, it will be easier to notice what visuals you should take photos of. She said Color means your feed will be cohesive, which makes it appear professional and put together. She also said don’t be afraid to crop! Photos can completely change after cropping and it can elevate an image with respect to detail, uniformity and composition.

  • Joeleen Hubbard said to take advantage of natural light! For example, if you see sunset light coming in through your window face towards the light to catch the glow on your face. She also said if you see an interesting pattern on the ground or the side of a building to take advantage of it. Patterns make photos more creative and fun and they’re always so pleasing to the eye making it an easy way to spice up your Instagram feed.