12 Tips for Beautiful Instagram Photos From A Seasoned Art Director

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12 Tips for Beautiful Instagram Photos from a Seasoned Art Director

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By Wendy Hu

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Since leaving my comfortable life in NYC to travel full time, Instagram has been my go-to source for travel and creative inspiration. I love stumbling on thoughtful accounts that value beauty, style and the most gorgeous locations around the world like @sidewalkerdaily. Being a female traveler, I feel incredibly connected to this community of stylish ladies that are pursuing their travel dreams just like me.

As a trained art director and designer who has spent the past decade creating tasteful imagery for hospitality and lifestyle clients, photography is my passion and my forte. It’s definitely an art form, but there are certain principles that when applied thoughtfully, will result in mesmerizing imagery. What better way than to showcase these ideas than through my favorite Sidewalkers? Here are my top 12 tips to keep in mind to achieve beautiful instagram photos!

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Have A Point Of View

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Be unapologetically you. If you like colors, use them. If you’re into adventure scenes, document that. Don’t buy into a formula, thinking you need to conform to what everyone else is doing. For me, I like showing unique and mesmerizing scenes with a sense of whimsy and a dash of color. Find what is true to your travel style and stick with it.

[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”2336″ style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” align=”none” lightbox=”no” link=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BLdnfOTA4HG/?taken-by=nomadicfare” linktarget=”_blank” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″]https://sidewalkerdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/@nomadicfare.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type=”none” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” top_margin=”10px” bottom_margin=”10px” alignment=”center” /][fusion_title hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default”]

Look For Symmetry

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Balance is naturally pleasing to the eye. Particularly when shooting architecture, it’s easy to find shapes and scenes that reflect each other. Keep your eyes open for interesting formations or objects like @monicamoras has found here. Additionally, the way this image is shot from a lower angle leads your eye all the way to her silhouette and through the pointed rooftop.

[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”2339″ style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” align=”none” lightbox=”no” link=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BM1LOhOjasL/?taken-by=sidewalkerdaily” linktarget=”_blank” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″]https://sidewalkerdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/@monicamoras-1024×670.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type=”none” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” top_margin=”10px” bottom_margin=”10px” alignment=”center” /][fusion_title hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default”]

Play With Reflections

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We all love a great #puddlegram or #reflectiongram because of its magic. They’re most easily created from waterscapes and puddles but consider other surfaces that reflect such as glass walls or mirrors. This shot from @lesleyannemurphy is even better because she adds in multiple textures, a light blue gradient and this graceful pose!

[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”2371″ style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” align=”none” lightbox=”no” link=”https://www.instagram.com/p/1nawXHi75g/?taken-by=sidewalkerdaily” linktarget=”_blank” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″]https://sidewalkerdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/@lesleyannemurphy-1024×660.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type=”none” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” top_margin=”10px” bottom_margin=”10px” alignment=”center” /][fusion_title hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default”]

Use Color Wisely

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I generally don’t like mixing too many colors in my photos, but @ninelly_ has found a clever way to #colorblock! The way her red dress blends in perfectly with the boat color unifies the bottom third, separating herself from the turquoise water, which then changes into the forest green and sky blue. This photo is the perfect example of how to use color to achieve beautiful Instagram photos!

[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”2343″ style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” align=”none” lightbox=”no” link=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BJu76kLjwe3/?taken-by=sidewalkerdaily” linktarget=”_blank” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″]https://sidewalkerdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/@ninelly_-1024×741.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type=”none” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” top_margin=”10px” bottom_margin=”10px” alignment=”center” /][fusion_title hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default”]

Create Movement

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A flowy dress is a staple of a fabulous @sidewalkerdaily photo. In this photo, @100gramsofsun uses not only her gorgeous yellow dress to create movement, but she’s literally swinging in mid-air and the palm trees also feel like there’s wind blowing the leaves around.

[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”2353″ style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” align=”none” lightbox=”no” alt=”how to take beautiful instagram photos” link=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BDA4sLAi71Y/?taken-by=sidewalkerdaily” linktarget=”_blank” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″]https://sidewalkerdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/@100gramsofsun-1024×663.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type=”none” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” top_margin=”10px” bottom_margin=”10px” alignment=”center” /][fusion_title hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default”]

Use Leading Lines

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Look for natural ways of drawing a viewer into your image. Lines can come in so many different ways–straight, squiggly, curvy–but the key is to decide what your focal point is, and use the lines to draw your eye there. @mavi.sun has done a lovely job in using the natural curves from the rocks to lead your eye to her, further enforced through the color contrast.

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Look For Negative Space

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The empty space around a main subject can be used to draw your eye to what’s meant to be seen first. In this image by @pixelville, the open expanse of the sand contrasted with the bright red silhouette naturally leads your eye there.

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Find Natural Repetition

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Repetition and patterns are everywhere–you just have to keep your eyes open. Whether is a cool wall, mosaic or this colorful flower field by @piccolauma, don’t overlook the seemingly simple things. A key tip on how to take beautiful Instagram photos is to use repetitive elements to create that artistic feel.

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Shoot From Different Angles

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Photographing from below or above creates a different perspective to view the world. Not everyone has a drone, but it’s perfectly okay to find something to climb or just sit your butt down on the floor and see what a scene looks like from that angle. Here you really get a sense of how high above @elsas_wholesomelife is from the water below.

[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”2358″ style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” align=”none” lightbox=”no” link=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BMyloPVjpkK/?taken-by=sidewalkerdaily” linktarget=”_blank” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″]https://sidewalkerdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/@elsas_wholesomelife-1024×658.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type=”none” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” top_margin=”10px” bottom_margin=”10px” alignment=”center” /][fusion_title hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default”]

Find A Unique Background

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Who would think to hang a bunch of plates on the wall in such a funky manner? This colorful find by @bronzeandbriny from Portugal is one-of-a-kind to match these ladies and their cute poses!

[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”2359″ style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” align=”none” lightbox=”no” link=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BNZQRTVDetH/?taken-by=sidewalkerdaily” linktarget=”_blank” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″]https://sidewalkerdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/@bronzeandbriny-1024×722.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type=”none” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” top_margin=”10px” bottom_margin=”10px” alignment=”center” /][fusion_title hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default”]

Create A Sense Of Scale

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Tiny @hayleebarsky, big rocks. There’s something epic about a small silhouette seen against a giant rock formation or building. It showcases the image rather than the person, which is another thought to keep in mind–showcase the environment, not necessarily yourself.

[/fusion_text][fusion_imageframe image_id=”2361″ style_type=”none” hover_type=”none” align=”none” lightbox=”no” link=” https://www.instagram.com/p/BITjXZMjK5l/?taken-by=sidewalkerdaily” linktarget=”_blank” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″]https://sidewalkerdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/@hayleebarsky.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type=”none” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” top_margin=”10px” bottom_margin=”10px” alignment=”center” /][fusion_title hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” size=”1″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default”]

Embrace Your Surroundings

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At the end of the day, travel is about learning, embracing other cultures and sharing our common humanity with those we might never otherwise come interact with. It’s about loving on our neighbors wherever we go and being open to whatever we stumble upon. This delightful interaction between @travelingbetches and her yogi friend is exactly that! I see his gesture as him blessing her, or him giving her a “talk to the hand” motion–either way, what a memorable moment!

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As you can see, there are so many differents ways of creating a beautiful image. Learn these and always keep them in mind, but then forget them and just keep your eyes open. Wholeheartedly embrace those interesting people, places, objects and whatever other treasures you come across in your adventures! Don’t get hung up on what is popular or “instagram-worthy”; rather share your point of view and stay true to who you are. The right people at the right time will join your tribe. I hope these 12 tips on how to take beautiful Instagram photos shed some perspective on different photography tricks and tips. And at the end of the day–don’t forget to have fun!

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About Wendy

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Wendy is a creative director, photographer and storyteller. For the past ten years, Wendy had the privilege of working in some of the best design firms around New York City as a designer and art director. On the side, she was constantly traveling and taking photos. While she loved her life, community and career – she knew she needed to pursue her dream of seeing the world.

Wanderlust was always a huge part of Wendy’s identity. Being born in Taiwan but growing up in America gave her an immense appreciation for culture and exploration early on. Studying abroad in London included exploring most of Western Europe, and while working she was blessed with projects in Africa, Central America and Europe.

Join her as she explores the world and shares her favorite moments of wanderlust and whimsy on Instagram @nomadicfare or her blog nomadicfare.com

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Sidewalker Daily is a team of industry experts on both sides of the Influencer Industry. We work with Influencers, Creators, Bloggers and Digital Entrepreneurs through private coaching and online courses to help them make money and build successful businesses. We also work with brands to design their influencer campaigns and develop their social media strategy. Our unique position in the Influencer and Creator Industry allows us to provide valuable insight you won't find anywhere else!

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