Whenever I take photos on my personal Instagram account, I always shoot in square mode because it automatically makes my photo fit to Instagram. This way I don’t have to worry about awkwardly cropping out someone’s head or legs. I also always have on my grid feature. You can do this by going to settings > photos & camera > grid.

The reason behind this is so I can use the rule of thirds. This fancy phrase just means you are aligning a subject (you, your friends, your coffee, your food, etc) with the guidelines (aka the grid) and their intersection points, placing the horizon on the top or bottom line, or allowing linear features in the image to flow from section to section.

Yep. It’s all about angels. Get creative with them! Don’t feel like you just have to stick with taking a photo from “head on.” Play around with different angles.

  • Food– I recommend taking your yummy food photos from a bird’s eye view instead of head on. If you want an up close shot of your burger, go for it- capture those juicy details!

  • People– When you’re taking pictures with your friends or your boo thang, have the person taking the pictures step a couple feet back and have them hold their phone up high so it get’s y’all at an angle. Have them use the burst setting to take multiple photos so you can pick your favorite. I recommend subtle movements, candid laughing, all that good stuff

  • Flat Lays/Product Shots– Take these from a bird’s eye view. I usually have to stand up or hop on a stool or stand on a chair haha. #DoItForTheInsta.

Lighting is one of the biggest impacts in having an insta-worthy feed- this can make or break a good photo!

  • I use the Golden Hour app on my phone to determine the best times to shoot for my photo sessions. I shoot between 7-8am and 7-8pm.

  • If I do an afternoon shoot when the sun is really bright, I shoot inside or find a shaded area to make sure the sun will not wash out my subject.

Shooting Inside

  • Find Natural Light- John & I’s apartment is sooo dark and barely has any natural light, hence why we call it the Mann Cave haha. If you’re taking pictures inside a darker/low lit area, take a picture using the light from the window.  There is only one big window in our bedroom, so I make use out of it! Find a widow or a doorway!

  • Avoid using your flash indoors- The flash washes out your subject, or if it’s a person will give them glowy eyes…or worse, red eye, and washes out their skin!

Taking pictures outside when it’s really bright

  • Find Shade– a tree, or a building to block the sun/have the sun “peek out” from it so the sun is not so intense.

  • Don’t Face the Sun– not only will you squint, but your face will be washed out and your skin will be uneven shades. Have the sun pointing behind the subject.

If you want to make your images really pop, negative space is key. Negative space is the area which surrounds the main subject in your photo (the main subject is known as the “positive space”) Perks of photos with negative space:

  • This makes your feed look clean + minimalist

  • It draws people’s focus to the subject

  • Background doesn’t take away from subject

  • Fun + easy to do once you get the hang of it!


  • Use burst mode when taking action shots.

  • Use your Apple headphone volume button to take a photo if you’re wanting to test out a creative angle.

  • Hold down your camera viewing screen to focus on your subject.

  • Avoid using your flash at ALL times – find natural light instead. No one wants red eyes or creepy yellow glowing eyes haha.

  • Avoid using the zoom option – this makes your photos grainy and fuzzy.

  • Use the HDR setting- this takes a series of images, each shot with a different exposure from darkest to lightest. HDR combines the best parts of the three overexposed, underexposed, and balanced shots to create a dramatic image with beautiful shading and highlights.

Thanks so much for reading this! I hope this helpful for you! Best of luck to your insta-worthy pics. I would love to see your Instagram photos that you take after reading this post. I hope this helps & I can’t wait to see what images you create!

Julia Mann