Photography Tips for Instagram & Social Media

woman standing in front of beautiful beach scenery taking a picture

Photography is the best way to capture and preserve memories of your holiday in Costa Rica. Maybe you have a killer Instagram account and you need to keep your followers updated, or maybe you just want to post your adventures to Facebook for your relatives back home to enjoy. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, everyone can benefit from some simple photography tips for social media.

Even if you just have an old digital camera or a phone, understanding even the most fundamental principles of photography can take your photos from bland to beautiful. Here are our top photography tips for Instagram and social media.

Learn Camera Terminology

Understanding how cameras function is the first step to taking a successful photo. Learning what factors adjust your image is critical: if your photo looks too bright, for example, you might not know which one of the settings you need to adjust.

This is just a very brief overview of what terminology can help improve photography for social media—make sure you do your own research if you see a term on your camera’s display that you don’t understand.

  • ISO
    • ISO stands for “International Organization for Standardization,” but that doesn’t mean much. In simplest terms, ISO is a setting that will brighten or darken a photo. The higher the ISO number, the brighter your photo will be. Take note that whenever your ISO increases, your grain, or noise, will increase as well.
  • Shutter Speed
    • The length of time your camera shutter remains open to let light into the camera’s sensor. The slower the shutter speed, the more light that can be let into the sensor. This is used for night and low-light photography.
  • Aperture
    • The hole in the camera’s lens that light travels through. The larger the hole, the more light travels through, but this doesn’t just impact the brightness: it impacts the depth of field. The smaller the aperture, the larger the depth of field.
  • Depth of Field
    • Some objects in photos appear sharper and more in focus than others. The objects that are sharp and easily visible are within this depth of field.
  • Exposure
    • The amount of light that reaches your camera sensor. Both shutter speed and aperture impact exposure.
  • Aspect Ratio
    • The ratio of width to height in an image, for example, 2:3, 4:5, or 1:1 (a square).
  • White Balance
    • Not every color that appears to be white is actually pure white. There are many shades, or temperatures, of white that will make a scene look warmer (reds, yellows, oranges) or cooler (blues, purples, greens). There are usually automatic settings for white balance in your camera’s settings.

If you learn nothing else about photography for social media, learn these terms!

Learn When To Use Flash

We’ve all turned a subject of ours into a red-eyed ghost before, so we know that flash can look harsh and unnatural when used incorrectly. A general photography tip for Instagram that we can give you is just to not use flash indoors unless your camera isn’t powerful enough to see anything without it.

A common misconception: more flash does not really equal more light. Use the aforementioned settings above to change your brightness. Use flash to get rid of shadows from your photo by evening out the amount of light, or for one of the many other reasons listed here.

Use The Rule Of Thirds

This is a type of composition to make your photos look cleaner and draw the eye in more. According to this rule, when you divide an image into thirds, horizontally and vertically, your subject should lie on the intersections of these four lines.

Books stacked on a picnic table overlooking the beach

The rule of thirds is a great photography tip for social media, but don’t think it’s an all-encompassing rule that can never be broken, either! Think of it more as a guideline than an actual rule.

Don’t Overcomplicate

You might be tempted to believe that the busier your photo is, the more interesting it will be. Usually, though, it just makes the subject look unclear. Focus on a single subject of your photo if you can. If the eye is drawn to too many things at once, your photo will look messy and unengaging.

If you’re shooting a portrait of someone, choose the simplest background possible—like a beautiful beach! The best photography tip for Instagram that we can give you is to choose the most Instagram-worthy spot in Costa Rica: Casa Teresa!

Our glamorous luxury villa is full of world-class architecture and design, all just steps away from the picturesque white sands of Santa Teresa. There’s no better backdrop for your photography than our little slice of paradise. Come join us, either for your tropical destination wedding or for the vacation of your dreams. Contact us today.

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