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Whether you love them or hate them, influencers know how to take a good picture. Gulf news speaks with Binoj Nair, the Marketing Director at Canon Middle East who reveals the top 10 tips and tricks influencers use for the perfect Instagram picture.

Tip 1: Tell a story through your posts

Instagram is about having a distinct perspective, so it’s important to show a range of emotions and diversity of content. No one wants to click on an Instagram page and only see selfies. To deliver an outstanding follower experience, remember to avoid repetitiveness. Try to create a new experience with every picture you take, where each photo presents a different story. Having the freedom to be candid is what makes Instagram one of the best platforms for influencers.

Tip 2: Don’t rely on selfies - have someone else take your photo

Extending your arm with your phone being balanced in your hand, as you try to snap the best selfie, is not ideal and does not make for engaging content. Which is why it’s always best practice to let someone else take your pictures (in most cases, this is the ‘Instagram husband’). But if you can’t find someone and don’t want to pay a professional photographer, the next best thing is a tripod. Using the aid of a tripod has been the starting point for most Instagrammers and is a great way to ensure creative control of the imagery. It allows one to capture different angles, modify elements in the background, discover the best pose, and shoot the best tutorials.

Tip 3: Apply the rule of thirds

This is arguably the most crucial composition principle, and while it may seem like a chore to apply it to every shot, it’s a tried and tested technique that works 100% of the time. A simple way to create interest in your photo is by using a 3x3 grid and placing any object you want to highlight, along the lines and intersection points on that grid, to create balance and symmetry. The grid feature is available on most digital cameras, and since it enables one to see the shot composition before the picture is taken, it is the go-to feature for most Instagrammers.

Tip 4: The ’secret sauce’ is shooting in RAW

The benefit of shooting your pictures in a ‘raw’ format instead of JPEG is that it gives more room for image processing. Just as its name suggests, raw means unaltered, instead of a JPEG image, which is automatically processed by your camera, whereby the brightness, exposure, contrast, and additional editing options, have already been automated. Consider using a raw imaging format if you want to have absolute freedom and creative control of your pictures.

Tip 5: Lighting is everything

Lighting is one of the most crucial factors for creating the best Instagram pictures. It can help set the tone, create the mood and bring an image to life. Bad lighting will always result in a bad shot. Hence lighting is the backbone of good visual story-telling. Most Instagrammers will seek natural sunlight as the best lighting source and shoot at the most coveted times of the day, which are the ‘golden hour’ or ‘blue hour’ (before sunset and after sunrise).

Tip 6: Don’t over-edit pictures

Editing plays a major role in the creation process of an image, but should be used sparingly. Modifying the settings, like the brightness, colors, saturation, shadow, sharpness and contrast adds tremendous value, but it’s important to know when to stop and not over-edit images. Avoid mixing filters and compromising the authenticity of the pictures. Many influencers stay consistent by using their edits through Lightroom presets; many content creators buy their presets online, thereby ensuring compatible colors throughout their Instagram feed.

Tip 7: Props are an influencers’ BFF

Props are the go-to savior for all aspiring influencers. Using props will add depth, personality, intrigue, and a new color palette to your photo. For example, instead of laughing solo in your picture, grab a donut, or if you’re somewhere in nature, pick up a flower and use it creatively. Using props will improve your picture and your viewer’s experience, so get as creative as you want.

Tip 8: Play with angles

It’s all about finding the most flattering angles and showing a perspective that works for you. You can choose to shoot upward, downward, hold your camera up high, lie down, and get creative with your shooting. I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question before: “how come these Instagram influencers look so good in their pictures?” Well, the trick is that they’ve found the angles that work best for them.

Tip 9: It’s all in the eye

Being aware and mindful while shooting, is very important. Followers do not respond well to inauthentic content. The goal is to use your sense of sight to create an emotional bridge between the mind and the camera. Trust your instinct and allow your eyes to guide you in capturing an image that tells a story of who you are and why people should care.

Tip 10: Find your favorite pose

Having a range of diverse and flattering poses is a definite ‘must’ for any influencer, and it comes from hours of practicing poses in front of the camera. Don’t be shy or hesitant to move - There are many poses that one can use, but the most important thing is to be yourself. An easy rule of thumb is to take it be relaxed and have fun while posing, and go through every pose imaginable – from the serious to the silly.