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What a Makes a Good Instagram Photo?

I loved the response that I got from "How to take better iphone photos." If you didn't read my previous blog post, then you can read it here:

I was thinking about my own instagram feed. Alot of times, it's just me posting about random things my kids do. I don't even give it a second thought when I post a photo. A lot of times, my background is messy, my lighting is crappy and so on.

I am guilty of it too.

But when I looked through my entire feed, I realized that certain photos that I took, stuck out to me as special and unique. After looking through over 1,800 photos from over two years, I began to notice a pattern of good vs. bad instagram photos.

Most of the photos that I liked either:

1. Told a story or had motion 2. Had leading lines 3. had a good use of the rule of thirds. 4. Had good use of negative space. 5. Interesting lighting.

So let's break it down:


Does the photo convey a feeling to the audience? Does it make them see a story unfolding when they see your photo? If a photo is worth 1,000 words, then what words are you sending?


Leading lines, are what draws our eye into the photo through actual lines or curves in the image. To see more about this watch this video:


Every photo is a space where your eye looks from left to right, just like reading. If your image is interesting enough, then your eye will fall on either corner. Less interesting photos are dead center. To see more about this than watch this video:


Negative space is blank spaces in our photo. It helps to "cushion" the main subject of our image and isolate them so that our eyes focus on them. Negative space could be a simple white texture or blank space. To see more about this, watch this video:

Here are some examples from my feed of my favorite instagram photos following these rules:


Does your photo shows good contrast in lighting? Or is it taken in a bathroom? Does the lighting convey shadow and depth? Natural light is always best with camera phones. Try not to use flash unless it's a dire emergency!

Hopefully, this gives you some good examples of what good instagram photos look like when you follow the five rules.

Now it's your turn to try using these rules in your photos...

I would love to see your "before" and "after" photos of what you learned. Hashtag me on instagram: chicamarsh or on twitter: _MarshallArts_

I hope that as I continue to post about the things that I am learning, that you are learning along with me!

Happy Shooting!


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