Anatomy of an Insta: 4 shots that will get you more likes

So. You want 10 million followers on Instagram. It’s good to have dreams. We can’t quite promise you that, but we CAN help you to take your photo quality from zero to hero, which is sure to boost your likes (and probably won’t hurt you in the followers department either). 

Food porn, architecture, selfies, sunsets—you name it. There’s a method to the madness. We’re going to break down the elements of the most popular types of Instagram posts, so you can see what it takes to get that perfect shot.

For starters, your hardware matters. Phone photography being a relatively new medium, all phones are not created equal. That’s why the Honor 8 is such a solid choice. The camera on this baby has everything you need to turn your Instagram into a stunning wonderland of photographic excellence.

Now, let’s begin, shall we?

1. Food

Your mother probably told you not to play with your food. She was wrong. When it comes to food photography, styling is everything. Before you start shooting, make sure your presentation is on point. Nudge that parsley around until it’s perfectly placed. The details matter. And that doesn’t just go for the food itself. Make sure the surface you’re shooting on is clutter-free and arranged exactly how you want it.

Let’s talk about lighting. Generally speaking, diffused natural light is your best bet. Backlighting is money. Early morning or late afternoon light from a window is best. Shade is better than direct sunlight, and for Pete’s sake, whatever you do, do NOT use your flash. If it’s nighttime and artificial light is your only choice, have a friend hold their phone’s flashlight at a 45-degree angle. This will give you a bit more contrast.

Framing is going to depend on your specific situation, but the top-down shot is popular for a reason. If you go this route, play with different distances to see what looks best. Sometimes holding your camera further away will give you surprising results. However, the opposite extreme of filling your frame with food can also be highly effective. This is one situation where the Honor really shines. An aperture variability from F0.95 to F16 gives you the freedom to blur the background and focus on specific details. So if your creative muse is telling you to single out the cherry on top of your ice cream sundae, get in there and go nuts!

2. Selfies

Cheers to another great year, wishing everyone a happy healthy 2016!

A photo posted by Andrew Schlenger (@aschlenger) on

Ah, yes, the pursuit of the perfect selfie: an admirable goal. First thing’s first: lighting is everything. DO NOT, ever, under any circumstances, photograph yourself at high noon in direct sunlight. The shadows will be harsh and unforgiving. You will look like a hideous monster. Your friends will make fun of you. Just don’t. Early morning and late afternoon light are the most flattering. If you insist on taking a shot at midday, find some nice shade. Also, little-known fact: overcast days are your friend. The soft, diffused light is perfect for selfies. When shooting at night, position yourself at an angle from a light source so that the light falls only on one side of your face, for a dramatic, high-contrast look.

A high-quality, front-facing camera is the key to a good selfie, and the Honor’s got your back. With an 8MP front-facing camera, as well as a unique software suite and Beauty Settings, you can’t miss.

Now, let’s discuss the elephant in the room: retouching. When using retouching apps, subtlety is key. It’s SO easy to overdo it and wind up looking freakish and strange. By all means, remove blemishes and soften your skin a bit. But specific danger areas are over-whitening teeth and eyes, and general face or body shaping. Less is more. When in doubt, do less.

3. Architecture

When done right, architecture photography can be absolutely stunning.  But there are some key things to keep in mind. If you’re really looking to make a masterpiece, architecture photography can take a bit more time than some other types of photography.

When it comes to architecture, you need to see what the building looks like at different times of the day. What you’re looking for are lines.  The building already has its own geography, and depending on the time of day, the shadows that are cast can add another set of lines to your composition, which can either complement or contrast the lines of the building. 

The final lines are added by how you frame your shot. For that reason, it’s helpful to use your camera’s grid feature to help you line things up and get the angles just right. Your frame is everything. Walk around the building. Get close to it and shoot upwards.  Get far away and shoot it within the skyline. Find the angle that works.

 Depending on how you frame, you can make a building look completely abstract by shooting only a part of it, or you can capture the scope of its entirety. It’s totally up to you.

No matter the shot, it helps to have control. And that’s where the Honor comes in: It gives you full manual control, just like any professional camera. That means you can pick your own shutter speed, aperture, ISO and more, to help you get exactly the shot you want.

4. Sunsets

A photo posted by BZ (@zakenbake) on

There’s nothing like a classy sunset to earn you a plethora of Instagram likes from your adoring followers. But this tried and true photographic theme can be surprisingly tricky to pull off. Let’s walk through it, shall we?

First off, you need the right location. A beach doesn’t hurt, but anywhere with a wide horizon line is helpful. Next, the weather has to be on your side. A clear day can yield a disappointing sunset. Some nice big fluffy clouds are the perfect canvas for an epic sunset. Now let’s talk colors.  The most obvious shot, isn’t always the best one. When the sun is setting, try looking behind you. Sometimes the most beautiful part of the sunset is happening on the opposite side of the sky. On top of that, timing is key.  Shooting the actual sun on the horizon will often just get you an over-exposed shot, but waiting for the minutes after the sun drops out of sight can yield you the stunning purples, reds, and oranges of your wildest sunset dreams.

Speaking of colors, the Honor’s dual lens system can come in handy in a sunset situation. Its 12 megapixels and hybrid auto-focus can help you get increased light capture and higher image quality with ultra rich colors, and when it comes to capturing a sunset, what more can you ask for?

Lastly, sunset light is perfect for catching exceptional silhouettes.  Whether it’s a tree, a boat, or your one true love, the back lighting of a sunset provides ideal conditions for amazing silhouettes. A good trick to remember if you want to preserve a bit of detail is to hide the setting sun behind your subject. That way, you’ll get those gorgeous light rays, without overexposing your shot.

When it comes to Instagram mastery, there’s no single right way to take a good photo. The best way to get great shots is to experiment. Be original, play with the light, try different camera angles, and see what works. But one thing’s for certain: using the right equipment is always helpful, and when it comes to a high-quality camera built into your phone, the Honor 8 has you covered.