Is your Instagram engagement rate stagnating or decreasing?
What's the secret to increasing your engagement rate on Instagram?
Posting attractive photos, of course!
But how do you do that??
How do you make your Instagram content stand out and entertain?
Read the 10 expert tips below to learn the answer.
How to Make Attractive Instagram Photos (to get MORE Likes)
In this post, we’ll look at 10 of the BEST ways to make attractive Instagram photos.
If you follow these tips, you will create content SO good that even your competitors won't be able to resist Liking your posts!
When people can't resist Liking your posts, your engagement rate will rise!
In this post, we'll cover these topics:
- How to make unique Instagram posts
- 10 Tips to increase your Instagram engagement rate
- 7 KILLER Instagram photo Ideas
- 4 Things that happen when an Instagram feed looks good
- The best way to schedule posts on Instagram
How do I create attractive Instagram posts?
Upload scroll-stopping photos
There are about 300 million photos uploaded to Instagram EVERY DAY.
How can you POSSIBLY compete with all those photos?
Start by imagining this:
Dave, one of your page followers, is scrolling down his feed while at a doctor's appointment.
He comes across your IG post of a beautiful shell you found on the beach.
He thinks, "That looks nice."
Then he keeps scrolling.
Nice isn’t always unique or INTERESTING.
A unique twist on the pic may have led to more engagement.
For example, an extreme close-up of the shell with a caption asking viewers to guess what the photo is could pique curiosity.
If you want to take the funny route, you could capture something funny in the background.
Say, an awkwardly standing person or crazy-looking seagull.
The point is to post something that stops the scroll.
Unique photos make viewers "present with your photo."
The example above is a "scroll stopping" photo.
It’s "outside-the-box" enough to MAKE you stop long enough to react to it.
I mean, have YOU ever seen a staircase like that?
Colors, photo depth, patterns, portraits, or shapes are all aspects that can stop the scroll.
Know your Instagram audience
Everyone has preferences.
That includes YOUR IG followers (people who prefer to see a certain type of photo).
The truth is uniqueness is a bit subjective.
That said, target your Instagram content at people who are into it.
To do that, you have to know your audience.
You can learn more about your audience by browsing the following IG content in your niche:
- Instagram hashtags
- Your discover feed
- Your competitors’ accounts
Once you view the posts, read the comments!
You can learn a LOT about your audience by reading their reactions to posts.
Focusing on a niche audience can take you a lot further than posting generic types of content.
When you couple the photo ideas you picked up with these 10 Instagram photo tips, your engagement will take on a life of its own!
10 Tips to increase your Instagram engagement rate
Ok, let's do this!
Follow the 10 tips below to take the engagement rate on your Instagram posts to another level.
1. Adjust your phone’s camera settings
To take amazing Instagram photos, you want to hone in on (phone) photography basics.
Test out the photo features built into your phone’s camera, including the following:
- Frames (square VS traditional)
- Portrait mode
- HDR mode
- Live mode
- Stability mode
Specifically, avoid relying on autofocus, overexposed photos, and flash.
Don't just rely on autofocus
If you’re taking quick in-the-moment snaps, it's okay to rely on autofocus.
But it's always better to LEARN how to control the focus manually.
When taking multiple photos, manually focusing can even be quicker than autofocus.
It's pretty simple to learn the manual focus feature.
Tap on the point of the image you want to highlight, and then take the photo.
For iPhones, a yellow box should appear.
You will get a nice, clean, and focused shot of your subject.
Avoid overexposed photos
Overexposure = Too BRIGHT
Underexposure = Too DARK
Many amateur photographers make the mistake of taking a photo with full exposure.
The details and highlights of the picture get LOST!
Instead, aim for a photo that's just bright and dark enough.
That method allows the highlights and shadows to make the image look natural.
Learning how to leverage exposure takes practice (which can be pretty fun!).
If photos come out too one-sided (too dark or too light), you can always adjust for brightness.
Just tap on the image (for iPhones, a yellow box should appear).
Then use the slider to swipe up (for more exposure) or down (for less exposure).
You can also adjust the exposure of your photo during post-production editing.
Avoid using flash
Flash CAN be useful.
BUT it can also ruin the overall quality of your photo.
Flash blows out the picture's lighting.
What you get is an image that looks like it was captured on a disposable camera from 1999.
Great photos on Instagram typically use natural lighting and light photo editing.
2. Leverage depth of field
Depth of field is a terrific way of standing out on Instagram.
This is essentially when the main subject of your photo is focused on more than its environment.
Here's a good example from a user taking a photo of the Space Needle in Seattle, WA:
Notice how the Space Needle is far away yet still in focus?
To get a good depth of field, practice using your camera’s focus features.
Tap the object you would like to focus on.
Then, move the camera around so that surrounding objects lose focus.
You've now accomplished an incredible depth of field!
Oh... It's just your Instagram followers liking and commenting on your new depth of field post!
3. Get your lighting right!
Proper lighting is KEY to great photography.
Your lighting source can come from the following:
- Natural light - Light from the sun/nature
- Artificial light - Lamp, selfie light, ring light
- Light patches - beams of artificial or natural light
Lighting can really make or break a photo...even if you edit things very nicely.
Here's an example Instagram post with great natural lighting:
4. Change up your angles
Playing with angles is a powerful technique for impacting the way people see your post.
Think about your subject and the combinations of ways you can view it.
Angle your camera from the top, middle, or bottom of the frame.
You can even turn your phone upside down to create a foreground element.
Taylor Rees, a well-known photographer with 126K Instagram followers, suggests flipping the mobile upside down and taking pictures of your subject from the ground.
According to Taylor, this is the best way to add the ground as a foreground element.
This tactic works for all kinds of objects:
Ground, a table, railing, or desk.
5. Use colors that complement each other
Complementary colors increase your chances of stopping your followers’ scrolling.
So what are some colors that go well together?
According to Design Wizard, these complementary color combos make MAGIC:
Test these combos and try to take photographs that naturally contain them.
Remember: the color shades don't have to be EXACT.
Use this list as inspiration, not a rule book.
6. Use burst mode for moving object photos
Have you ever wanted to take a picture of a fast-moving object?
Then (after trying a few times) you gave up because of all the blurry results?
There's a way around this.
The "Burst Mode" feature can help you take great still photos of moving objects.
This camera setting takes about 10 photos a second (yeah — whoa).
This volume of photos increases your chances of capturing the perfect shot.
Activating burst mode is super easy.
Here's how to do it:
1. Open your camera app.
2. If you have an iPhone XS/XR or older, hold down the button that takes pictures (the shutter button).
3. For iPhones 11 and up, slide the shutter button to your left.
4. When you're done shooting your burst photos, they'll be grouped in your camera roll, and you can pick the best one.
If you ever see a UFO one day, now you know what to do!
7. Make use of grids (the rule of thirds)
Your smartphone's camera likely has a grid feature you can activate.
Grids can help you center your subject precisely in the middle of the frame.
You can also follow the rule of thirds to enhance your picture composition.
Check your camera settings to make sure that your grid feature is enabled:
Using grids will also help you maintain consistency when cropping your pictures.
8. Leverage white space (to draw attention)
White space can guide the viewer's eyes to focus on the subject.
Using white space is an excellent way of having a singular focus on your photo.
Too much going on in one picture can be distracting for the viewer.
Here's an example of an Instagram photo effectively using white space:
Here’s another example of using white space to highlight the photo subject:
8. Choose the right photo mode
Today’s smartphone cameras are becoming increasingly savvy.
But you want to make sure you’re using your powerful camera correctly.
When taking your Instagram photos, be mindful of the photo mode you are in.
Photo modes are different from camera settings.
Photo modes are designed to take certain types of pictures.
For example, portrait mode is a great option for a close-up picture of your friend.
Panorama works well for capturing vast scenery:
The best way to learn how to use your photo modes?
Experiment with all of them!
You might be surprised by what you find.
9. Include graphics
Canva is an EXCELLENT graphics and photo editing tool!
Check out the following examples for some graphics inspiration:
10. Filter your photos like a pro!
Filters are probably one of the first things you think of when you hear "Instagram photos."
But there’s an entire WORLD of amazing filter tools in addition to (and maybe even better than) Instagram.
Some great photo filter applications include the following:
- Adobe Lightroom - Filter your photos and choose unique presets, one of the most popular photo filtering apps around!
- Inshot - Crop your pictures to fit into the aspect ratio of Instagram. Easily edit photos and videos using beautiful effects and filters.
- Mendr - Let professionals edit your photos for you!
- Afterlight - Another highly rated photo editing application. Available for IOS and Android.
- PicPlayPost - Create collages with its easy-to-use vertical-video interface. Free to download for both IOS and Android.
- VSCO - Helps you create aesthetically pleasing images and provides a wider range of presets than Instagram.
- Facetune 2 - Known as the "selfie editor," this app acts as a user-friendly touch-up tool. Available for IOS & Android devices.
- Pixlr - This is a versatile software that allows you to professionally edit photos while still being simple to use. Available for IOS & Android devices.
Filters let you choose from a wide range of presets or modify your photo based on what you want to accentuate.
Here are 3 tips when it comes to filtering photo editing:
- If you're using a preset, consider toning down the filter to a more natural level.
- Tweak colors in your photo to help them pop.
- Have a consistent photo editing “aesthetic” to set yourself apart.
7 KILLER Instagram photo Ideas
You now have a war chest of amazing IG photo hacks to increase your engagement rate.
Apply what you’ve learned to spark engagement with these Instagram photo ideas!
It’s hard to NOT to like a fantastic Instagram weather photo.
Practice your filters, angles, lighting with unique weather pics.
Post your best weather shots on Instagram!
Make sure to engage in the comments (people love their clouds)!
2. Flat Lay photo
Flat lay photos work well to show off a product.
Use white space to emphasize the subjects of your flat lay pics.
Ask your followers to pick out their favorite items in the photo!
Then reply to their comments to keep the conversation going.
There are few photos people love more than pet and animal pics.
Play with depth of field to emphasize a pup in the foreground (like in the pic above).
Got a spunky fur baby you want to show off?
Use burst mode to catch them in action!
Location photos have the potential to be STUNNING. But they can also be boring (especially if you’re capturing someplace famous).
Use unique angles to showcase a location in an interesting way.
You can also play around with depth of field (like in the example above).
Remember, your goal is to stand out.
Help your followers see the same old location with fresh eyes!
5. Portrait, close-up photos
Don’t underestimate the power of a good portrait shot.
Believe it or not, people want to see YOU (at least every once in a while).
In fact, your followers want to know that your brand is HUMAN.
Use portrait shots to introduce yourself, your team, or customers who love your brand!
Food photos are fan favorites.
But that’s if you can master at LEAST these 3 photography elements in your pics:
- White space
In the pic above, your eyes are drawn to the vibrant colors on the pie.
Those colors pop because the background is “white space.”
I know, I know.
It’s technically brown. But it’s plain (so it emphasizes the ingredients).
And all of that is made possible because of excellent lighting.
The lighting appears natural — there aren’t any glares (not even in the glass).
The photog likely used SOME kind of external light source, but the outcome is what counts!
Ever notice that you can just TELL when the purpose of a photo is to emphasize clothing?
How do photographers do that?
Consider the example above.
The background is not QUITE white space.
But it’s close to it!
The only color that stands out in the photo is the blue on the subject’s shirt.
How do we know what to pay attention to?
Well, the man in the photo is wearing sunglasses.
Plus, the shot captures the whole outfit rather than focusing on his face.
In combination, those aspects tell us that his apparel is the REAL point of the pic.
4 things that happen when an Instagram feed looks good
1. Your get more followers
A by-product of a great Instagram feed is more followers.
2. Engagement goes up
People are likely to engage with an attractive Instagram feed because it grabs their attention.
Hold someone’s attention for long enough, and you’ll get more likes and comments.
Some people may even use Instagram's "save" feature on your best posts.
Engagement gets even BETTER when you post your Instagram pictures at the right time!
Here’s what I mean:
There are peak hours when your followers are online.
Posting during those times is one of the best ways to get your post seen.
But what if your peak hours happen at a time that’s not convenient for you?
Do what countless Instagram users do and use a post-scheduling tool!
For example, Post Planner lets you schedule posts in advance and automatically publishes them for you.
So enjoy your coffee and read a book while your posts go live at the PERFECT time!
Out of creative ideas for Instagram photos?
You can browse Post Planner’s MASSIVE content library for beautiful images!
You can even save profiles that post great content into groups called Content Streams!
3. You build authority & credibility
An outstanding Instagram feed adds authority to your brand.
Because you appear above-average compared to most profiles.
Think about it.
You can tell when an influencer puts a lot of thought into their photos.
In fact, that’s what makes an influencer’s page unforgettable.
That type of impression makes you seem trustworthy.
If you’re selling a product or service, that trust can grow your business.
4. Partnership opportunities increase
As your following grows, brands will reach out wanting to collaborate with you.
If forming brand partnerships is one of your business goals, post STUNNING photos.
The better your IG feed looks, the more followers you get.
The more followers you get, the more influential you become in your niche.
The more influence you hold, the more people will want to work with you!
What’s the best way to post on Instagram?
Creating Instagram photos that look good comes down to 4 principles:
- Applying photo-taking fundamentals
- Knowing your audience
- Standing out
- Publishing consistently
A post-scheduling tool can go a LONG way and helping you practice most of these principles.
Post scheduling makes your IG marketing strategy SUSTAINABLE and EFFICIENT!
Ready to save time and money and boost Instagram engagement at the same time?
Create a free account with Post Planner today!
Got other photography tips for increasing engagement?
Drop them in the comments below!