By Zafar Jamati
|Happy birthday Instagram!|
Photo by yours truly
As Instagram celebrates its third birthday this week, it's not difficult to see why it's risen to prominence in such a short period of time. Given its powerful capability of Twitteresque hashtags, users can now share photos with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare.
As our interest in sharing increases, so does the ubiquity of the technology, driving down prices and increasing investment in social media app development. So whether we like it or not, we'll continue to be subject to blurry pictures of people's cats for the foreseeable future. And that's where the problem lies for business - the blurriness, not the cats!
Even though the technology has improved, our ability to take pictures hasn’t. So why is it that we take such bad photos, and does it even matter?
The art of photography is dying - because every man and his dog can now take photos without any need for formal training. So what can you do to improve your shots? Here are a few crucial things to remember:
1. Take your time - don't just shoot blindly. Think about the angles, mix it up a bit, look at your subject from a higher or lower viewpoint. You don't have to be Dalí, but as a rule you want to take at least ten seconds purely mulling over what the final image will look like on the computer screen or in print.
2. Lighting and composition – This is probably the single most important thing about photography. Small phone sensors make pictures grainier in low light. So make sure the light source is behind the camera, lighting the subject from the front or side. Go nearer to a window for more natural light. This will also stop you using that horrible flash - a subject which is probably better left for another blog post entirely!
3. Get a camera with manual controls - as you get better and hone your photographer’s eye for detail, you will want to develop greater control of the camera's settings. Investing in a good, compact, mirrorless camera with manual aperture, ISO and shutter speed, gives you the ability to blur backgrounds - a technique called Bokeh. Manual control also allows you to bring more objects into focus when, for example, taking group shots or landscapes. You will also find that you produce better images in low light and in direct sunlight. Samsung’s Galaxy camera even offers Android based Instagram sharing, directly from the device.
Above all remember to enjoy taking photos! It can be overwhelming when you begin delving into the intricacies of photography. But as one of my favourite photographers, Chase Jarvis, often says, "The best camera is the one you have with you". So with a little time and patience, you too can Instagram awesome looking photos!
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