5 Instagram Photographers Share Their Photo-Taking Secrets

Looking to next-level your Instagram game? Here's some expert advice from five amazing Instagram photographers here to help upgrade your snaps.

These days, photos aren’t just worth a thousand words — thanks to the likes of Instagram, they’re worth thousands of followers. But we’re over the quantity-over-quality measure of success. In 2018, Insta-success is all about defining and promoting your personal “brand” and accruing a devoted following of engaged followers — along with a feed full of professional-looking photos.

We’ll come right out and say it: Your success in the digital world comes down to the quality of the pictures you take. From influencer-driven sales to managing your online businesses, the quality of the photos you post can make or break your digital reach. But how?!

The good news is that now more than ever, individual photographers have the power to make their own success. Seasoned pros have learned the secrets of the trade, able to gauge the number of likes a photo will get based on an intimate knowledge of their social media followings. We checked-in with five Instagram photographers whose success on social media has been downright inspirational. Each of them reps a unique niche and has been nice enough to share their best photo-taking tips with us below.


5.) Meredith Schneider

Meredith is an HBIC-slash-millennial who went from being the editor in chief of a digital music platform to creating her own startup, Imperfect Fifth. This music lover posts vivid concert photography featuring artists she interviews and shows she attends. Meanwhile, she is an Instagram purist; you’ll find no extraneous hashtags here!

Insta-Vibe: Alternative-music lover

Instagram Account: @imperfectfifth

Followers: 123

Tip(s): “Always remember to test the lighting! Sometimes you can get in the groove photographing, and then you go back and find out that every photo was so dim you have to edit them into fake news. [bctt tweet=”On your DSLR camera, adjust the ISO to your liking and make sure you utilize a lens that filters light well, especially if you’re nabbing photos at a concert where the lighting is questionable.” username=”topfive”] On your phone, adjust that brightness scale in your photo app and use post-photo filters to adjust accordingly.”

4.) Samantha Shorey

Equal parts intellectual and down-to-earth, Samantha is one of those Instagram photographers who often depicts the delicate balance between the symmetry and chaos found in everyday life. She finds aesthetic harmony capturing everything from the abundant angles in architecture, to the besotted expression on her now-husband’s face. No matter what photo of hers you peek at, it’s a given that you’ll fall in love with her story. You can check out her wedding photography — which has been featured on PopSugar on her website, Hello Sam ShoreyBelow, you’ll find her valuable iPhone photography tips, perfect for when you’re on the go.

Insta-Vibe: Immersive

Instagram Account: @samshorey

Followers: 1,525

Tip(s): “Whether you’re capturing a cityscape or styling a flat-lay, hold your iPhone parallel to your subject! Doing this will keep the lines square in your photos — rather than being at a diagonal. Have you ever tried to take a photo of skyscrapers and noticed that, even though everything is straight-up IRL, the buildings are converging in the photo? That’s called perspective distortion, or the ‘keystone effect.’ And, it’s made worse when you tilt your phone. [bctt tweet=”Holding your phone flat, and directly above or across from what you’re photographing will keep everything at a right angle.” username=”topfive”] And, you can also correct for this with the X-skew and Y-skew features on the VSCO app.”

3.) Jacob Kin

This 20-something nature-lover is ace at capturing the Earth’s natural wonders in Insta-perfect portraits. Often featuring various young #wanderlust-ers, his Insta-feed appeals to the adventurous soul. In addition to capturing moments between his subjects and nature, and amongst each other, he also manages to capture serenity and stillness in his landscape-only shots. Take a look and see for yourself!

Insta-Vibe: Nature, wanderlust

Instagram Account: @jkinphotos

Followers: 6,340

Tip(s): “First, I try to avoid midday light as it’s too harsh. Ninety percent of my shoots are always during sunsets or sunrise … although I’m not a morning person. Second … [bctt tweet=”I love shooting prime lenses to capture the last light.” username=”topfive”] And third, when shooting subjects, I like using a wider-angle lens to get closer to the subject, but [to] still have a nice backdrop.”

2.) Marco Fazio

If you’ve got dreams of expat living and a penchant for fairytales-gone-dark, Marco is absolutely the tops in Instagram photographers for you. He combines vibrant color schemes with dramatic lighting with a result that looks beautifully otherworldly. Hop over to his wildly popular Instagram account to peek at some of this talented travel photographer’s varied destination shots; from scenic castles and European landscapes to stills from busy city centers, each and every photograph captures a dramatically evocative moment that will never be re-created. Bravo!

Insta-Vibe: Fairytale-like travel

Instagram Account: @marcofazio73

Followers: 28.1k

Tip(s): “Photography is not [only] gear, composition, post-production, or fantasy … Modern photography is a powerful mix of all of these. And don’t let anyone tell you that editing isn’t photography; post-production editing was born many years ago! Also, tell a story [with your photos] — involve other people in what you created. [bctt tweet=”Allow yourself to be influenced by other photographers’ styles and skills, but know the rules of photography and apply them.” username=”topfive”] Lastly, remember that what you feel from your photo is not what anyone else feels. It’s difficult to be objective with our own creations.”

1.) Jodee Debes

This bubbly young It-girl’s breathtaking photos have already been featured in publications as varied as Harper’s Bazaar to Brit + Co. Jodee has a way of capturing beauty in each and every moment — and enhancing it. She incorporates both movement and stillness into the present moment, creating imagery so beautiful that it feels like laughter to look at. The best part is, her photos have a crystalline, airy quality that absolutely breeds positivity — much like the artiste herself. If there’s one up-and-coming photographer to become acquainted with before booking your next photoshoot, make it Jodee.

Insta-Vibe: Lightness and magic

Instagram Account: @jodeedebesphoto

Followers: 29.9k

Tip(s): “First: Lighting is everything. The best time to shoot is during the early morning or the gorgeous golden hour around sunset, but you can still snap gorgeous shots during the day. Think through shadows and highlights, whether you want to shoot in direct sunlight or backlight your subject with the sun behind them, which happens to be my favorite for creating those romantic, bright and airy images.

Keep an eye out for the moments. In my opinion, gorgeous photos have a sense of emotion, movement and feeling. They tell a story and make a fleeting moment stand still in time.

Third, one good photo does not make a good Instagram. [bctt tweet=”The key to having a gorgeous feed is consistency of colors and style.” username=”topfive”] Decide what you want your story and focus to be, so that your followers will stay engaged and know what to expect from you. And remember, you can’t be all things to all people, so stay authentic and make it YOU.”

Were these photography tips helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

Craving more Instagram goodness? Check out these top fashion influencers on the social media outlet.

Featured photo courtesy of Jodee Debes Photography.