By Jenn Herman | February 24, 2014 | Share

Improve Your Instagram Photos With Your Camera Phone Features

better instagram photos

One of the reasons I love Instagram is that it can turn an average photo into something amazing with just a couple taps on your smartphone. But just imagine how great your Instagram photos would look if your original photo was top quality to start with. Most camera phone functions operate on an auto setting, much like a point-and-shoot camera. However, there are actually a lot of additional settings within your camera that you can use to improve your photos.

When you open your camera on your phone, open your settings function to determine what options you have. Different phones and different manufacturers offer different functions.

Many devices offer options for night time or low light situations. Just be careful, you usually have to keep the camera very steady to ensure the image isn’t blurry. These settings allow more light into the camera so that more is visible in the picture. Further enhancing these images with the contrast function in Instagram can really make a “dark” image fully visible.

Phones also provide a flash for your camera. While this is usually turned off, consider turning it on to enhance items in shadow or bring more light to your images. For best effects, stay close to your subject so that the flash reaches the subject.

A lot of devices also offer options for high speed (or sport mode) photos to capture objects moving quickly. If you’re photographing anything that’s moving quickly (kids, pets, vehicles, or other objects) this setting helps you capture the object clearly.

Some phones also offer HDR settings which take 3 exposures in one shot. This is a professional treatment that is often achieved after shooting and performed through Photoshop (or other software). If you have this feature on your phone, you can capture depths of color beyond any normal image. If your object is in shadow or you have scenery with  low light, the HDR function can really brighten these areas. Using the contrast function in Instagram can further pop your colors and really add a full range of color to your image. On a side note, I use this feature frequently with my photos.

Most phones will also offer the ability to adjust your ISO ratings. If you’re a more experienced photographer and appreciate the ability to adjust your ISO, take advantage of this feature to customize your image settings to achieve your ideal image.

Another feature that more experienced photographers may be familiar with is metering mode. Changing this setting can correct your exposure if you’re having issues with this.

White balance is also a professional tool that many photographers use to alter the photo colors in different lighting situations. If your images are coming out too blue or too yellow, try adjusting your white balance.

Some phones will also provide specialized settings for popular types of photos. Some of these include sunset, portrait, candlelight and others.  If you have these preset options on your phone, you’ll find the quality of your images will be much better.

Experiment with your settings and find which options really enhance your photos. Take multiple photos of the same object and try out different settings to find the one(s) that make your photos look best. And don’t forget to use the Instagram filters to turn your great original photos into stunning Instagram photos!


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6 responses to “Improve Your Instagram Photos With Your Camera Phone Features”

  1. Dan Polley says:

    Thanks, Jenn. I’m now using HDR on my Android.

  2. Marge says:

    Thanks Jenn for all the information I am learning from your blog

  3. Antonio says:

    Great article. I would probably only mention that the resolution of the front and back camera is not usually the same, so make sure you use the one with the highest resolution, or the image will look pixeled on desktop monitors

    • Jenn Herman says:

      Such a great point, Antonio! The front facing (ideal for selfies) camera is often a much lower resolution than the normal camera. And it often lacks a lot of the features as the regular camera, including the flash.

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