How to Take Instagram Photos Like a Pro With a Phone

How to Take Instagram Photos Like a Pro

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April 17, 2019

Do you want to know how to take Instagram photos like a pro? Fantastic pictures that bring awe and amazement to your followers. It can be tempting to scroll through Instagram, and feel scared.  Everyone has the perfect image it seems. 

So you feel discouraged and are ready to quit trying to impress everyone. It’s too hard and your images seem to turn out blurry, distant, and unfocused with no real story. You have no idea how to create good Instagram photos that look like they were taken by a pro.

Would you like to feel like you knew how to take Instagram photos like a pro? So, how do you go about creating a better Instagram feed? What is the finished product you would like to share?

So don’t leave yet, there is hope. You can learn how to create Instagram photos that will make you look like a pro. Here are some simple steps that you can use to create eye-catching photos.

CLICK HERE for more tips on how to take photos with your phone like a pro

Tips to Take Instagram Photos Like a Pro With a Phone

Instagram Mobile Photos Like a Pro

Step 1: Style

Create Your Own Style

Designing a unique style is essential for more followers on your Instagram feed. What feeling do you want people to experience when they visit your page? When someone visits your page you want to give the people the idea of what to expect from you.

Take the Time to Prep

Therefore, it is best to plan the whole feed as a whole instead of each individual image. You can use an Instagram planning app like Later or Preview to arrange your images to match. You will be able to see how your photos will fit together and you can arrange them if you need to.

Define Your Vibe

The color palette and style is one of the simplest ways to stick to your theme. A pro tip is to choose a color set that is either warm, cold, or neutral. Check to see what is in style and try to come up with creative ways to change it a bit. The current trends are Neutrals for minimal fashion, and lifestyle and home brands. Warm nature tone reflecting light is popular among travel bloggers. Cold tone photos are pleasing to nature or landscape photographers. You can also look around Instagram to find people who match your style.

Take Instagram Photos Like a Pro Planning

Step 2: Capturing a Captivating Shot


We have all seen cell phone pictures that are full of too many subjects. This could be a mountain scene or a street shot of the usual daily bustle. Taking simple shots may seem easy. They take skill to arrange the photo so the viewers can clearly understand the image.

To create simplicity notice two to four main features of an image. One example of this is a landscape with clouds, mountains, grass and a lake. If you add close trees, a man fishing, and a couple boating your image will be hard for the viewer to find meaning. Pro Tip: Focus on two to four main features in the image.

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is the most basic rule for composition in photography. When you use the rule of thirds, you can improve the flow and direction of your mobile photography.

How to Use the Rule of Thirds

Horizontal Lines: First, divide the image into thirds horizontally. It is more pleasing if the lines stay away from the center and are either on the top or the bottom third. When shooting sunsets make sure that the horizontal lines are on the bottom or top third of the image. If the horizon line is in the very center then the image may look more flat.

Vertical Lines: To use the rule of thirds, look at the object in the image and the vertical placement. Often times we frame a subject in the center of the image. This makes it so the eye does not have a journey to discover. You will want to look at the vertical lines and place the subject in the left or right quadrant. It is best to place your subject on the left vertical line if you read from left to right. This will create a flow for your eye.  It shows direction and movement which will help you take Instagram photos like a pro.

To become a better mobile photographer, start by using the rule of thirds. Start by turning on the grid in the camera settings on your phone. The grid feature will show faint lines as you take a picture so you can position your shot.  Once you set the grid lines it will stay on until you turn it off.

iPhone: Go into settings then camera and toggle on the grid

Android: Go to settings on the camera and choose the grid

How to Take Instagram Mobile Photos Like a Pro

Get Great Lighting

When taking pictures inside it is important to position the shot next to natural light. Although, turning on the light can bring the added light to make the image light. Lights it can cast strange shadows and unflattering colors to the shot. The natural light from the window will add great light and diffuse the image. To improve the shot, you may want to use white poster board as a reflector.

Add a Light

If you are in an area where it is dark and there is no natural light nearby. Turn on to diffuse light turn the flashlight on your friend’s phone and place a Kleenex over the light. This will give your shot the light it needs to look great.

You can also try portable lights that will help you take better pictures. The Litra Torch is an excellent small light that can fit into your pocket. It also has three settings for better light.

Step 3:  Instagram Photo Types

Top-down Food Photography

Shooting from above shows the story and is very popular on Instagram and social media. Arrange your setting with a tabletop view or one plate of food. You may want to use a nice tablecloth and set the table so it looks beautiful. Then shoot from above the image by standing.

Please take note that getting your phone to lay straight may be a challenge. You may think the image is parallel but it may be slightly tilted. Review your shot to make sure the shapes are as displayed.

The iPhone has a little crosshair feature that matches up when shooting from above. This can help you get your image straight. Other apps like Lightroom Mobile and manual mode apps often have a bar that helps you know if your camera is level.

The Wall Art Backdrop

City art on buildings is a clever way to snap a selfie photo with your phone and post to Instagram. Wall art is easy to capture and shows color and art. It can be hard always to be looking for good places to take a shot and wall art is one of the best. If you live in a bigger city you can look for buildings as you drive around.

How to Take Instagram Photos Like a Pro Cell Phone

Tiny Human

The tiny human landscape pictures are all around the internet, especially on Instagram. Begin by setting your phone on a rock to scope out a place to stand. Then set up a tripod with your phone to take the shot. Lastly, set the timer or use a remote to take the shot of you as the lone viewer in the beautiful landscape.

Step 4: Post Production

Although, Instagram has great photos that you can use to edit your pics you took with your phone. There are many other apps that you can use to create greater apps with post-production.


The VSCO editing app can enhance your Instagram photos you took with your phone. The free manual mode and the many editing filters and options create a one of a kind app. This app also includes inspirational ways to and connect to other great photographers.

VSCO allows you to edit an image you took in the camera or import an image. You can choose from ten free filters. Continue editing with the countless editing features. It includes 18 different ways to edit your image. I like to use the shadows tint and highlight tint because they are not on other apps like Instagram or Snapseed. You can also create recipes which saves past filters and edits.


You can edit Instagram photos with Snapseed.  This app has 13 filters that are easy to use and can add a great touch to your image. Get creative by adding an HDR, or grunge filter. Add one or more filters to get a fantastic image. Here are three filters that will enhance any photo.

HDR Scape

The HDR Scape filter will help your Instagram photos taken with a phone look like your pro.  HDR stands for High dynamic range. Which, works to create a balance between dark shadows and bright highlights. This filter brings out the shadows and enhances the details and highlight. Lastly, It creates often images that look full of life texture and dreamy. Remember, too much of the HDR Scape filter can make the image look unreal.

Snapseed Editing Tricks App

Glamour Glow

Getting a warm soft image can sometimes be hard to do. With Snapseed it is easy to add glamour glow. This filter will take away the effects of harsh light and will create a smooth image. You can change the glow, saturation, and warmth of the image. Swipe right to or left to adjust these features. To adjust the glow, slide right to increase the degree of softening.

Tonal Contrast

This filter is one of the best ways to alter the tones and contrast in subtle ways. You can enhance fine shadows, highlights and contrasts with more exposure control. Swipe vertically to access the editing options, then swipe left or right to adjust the image. The editing options include high tones, mid tones, low tones, protect highlights and shadows. This is one of my favorite Snapseed editing tricks. In this filter, you can control the changes so it enhances the image without over-editing.


Lightroom CC Mobile’s light editing option is one of the greatest ways to edit Instagram photos like a pro. The depth and scope at which you can edit the light in an image is phenomenal. You can easily adjust the curve of any color. When adjusting the curve the first time it may sound complicated.  In Lightroom CC Mobile is very simple once you know some quick terms.

Once you open the curve option on the app there is a diagonal line throughout the box. The bottom 1/3 represents the shadows. Next, the middle area represents the midtones, and the top is the highlights. Adjust the curve for the whole shot or edit individually by the color. You can also edit the exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks. Play around with these settings, and to reset the slider double tap.

Lightroom cc mobile details

Mix and Alter the Color

Getting the right color balance in editing mobile pictures is really hard. Often times we will take a picture outside and it is so sunny or cloudy that the white balance may be off. The Sun has a more orange tint and clouds have a blueish tint. This can make pictures look unrealistic. To change this there are many features you can edit in Lightroom CC Mobile. Tap on the color icon to see all the possibilities. Tap on the white balance eyedropper to see how the white balance will look in different light and colors. You can slide to change the temperature, tint, vibrance, and saturation of any image.

To get more in-depth detail to the color you can tap on the color mix, change the hue, saturation, and luminance. Change a picture from color to black and white with the black and white option on the upper left-hand corner. By editing the color you can make your images more vibrant and lively.

Take Instagram Photos Like a Pro phone


Do you feel more confident as you learned how to take Instagram photos like a pro? To recap let me remind you that you will need to develop your style, and take time to prep. Don’t forget composition and how to design your Instagram photo. Next, try a new photo type. Lastly, edit your photo using an app. Now you will be able to impress people with your Instagram skills.

Want more inspiration? Here are some additional resources that can help you:

How to Take The Best Selfie? 10 Tips for Photos With your Phone

How to Take the Most Beautiful Landscape Photos With Your Phone

Give those tips a read and you’ll be ready with new hacks and tips to help you make the most of your phone’s camera. See our photos on Instagram at @picxtrix.


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