The Most Important Tip for Awesome Instagram Photos #IGTravelThursday

August 1, 2013 Katja Presnal

Instagram photo tip: crop images. #IGtravelThursday

Last week I wrote 3 tips for taking better Instagram photos and I focused in the story telling aspect and how with simple things you can truly bring the story of your travels alive. I also liked Kim-Marie’s post How to suck at Instagram. Today I am only sharing ONE tip, but it is probably the most important tip of better Instagram photos. In fact, this has helped me tremendously in my overall photography as well and to see things in a complete new way through the lens.

The art of cropping

The simplest, most effective tip how to take better Instagram pictures: learn the art of cropping. I absolutely love how with Instagram you can play with the image and find the best way to fit the most into the square image, and how you can completely leave behind things that you don’t want to post. I believe that “cropping” is an important life skill and it is important to learn to find the beauty in your surroundings and your life. Instagram photography has taught me to focus in details and find the essential elements to my photo by leaving the extra off!

I take a lot of my photos from a car window, especially the landscape images (NOTE: never drive and snap photos! I only take photos when someone else is driving!). Nadia wrote last week about road trips & Instagram photos and gave some tips for road trip photos. I’d like to add a tip: learn to crop your road trip images. That way you will get to the detail and to the things that you really want to share with people (instead of the side of the road).

galveston-beach

One example from my photos this week. I was in Galveston, Texas, driving by the beach and saw this couple with their bikes, like they were thinking “should we take a swimming break.” But you can see even my phone and hand from the mirror, the side of the road, and the worst: the trash can, not really the idyllic image I had in mind! That is – until I cropped it an Instagram square leaving the unwanted things off the picture. Much better.

Galveston, Texas. #IGTravelThursday

Here is a similar picture from Stockholm.

Stockholm, Sweden #IGTravelThursday

It’s not a bad picture, but I wanted to show details, and I in fact used the same photo three times and posted three cropped images of the photo, here is one of them.

Stockholm, Sweden. #IGTravelThursday

In the above images I wanted to show local people and how they are enjoying where they live. Below is a landscape example, also from Sweden.

Göta kanal. Sweden.

The image itself isn’t bad, it shows the water, the sky, but what I really loved that day was how the yellow field reflected in the water, and I love boats, so I loved the contrast of the nature picture with the boats, so I cropped the image to only show the two boats and the yellow fields and their reflection pop completely differently in this one than in the original image.

Göta kanal. Bergs locks. Sweden. #IGTravelThursday

What about tourist spots? Then you might really want to crop the images to show the actual sight, instead of the tourists surrounding it. I think the tourist themselves tell a story, and nothing wrong including them also in the picture but look at the difference between the two pictures below.

bali-temple

The picture is taken in a temple in Bali, and everyone was asked to wear a sari when entering. I think the saris on visitors tell the story itself, so I wanted to take a picture of it. Well, a man not wearing one was also busy snapping pictures, so he got into my shot (above). I know, sometimes it’s difficult to get the shots in busy tourist attractions, and you might get people in the shot. However, look at the picture below, the one that ended up in Instagram. I simply used Instagram to crop the image (Auf Wiedersehen guy with the camera) and used Instagram’s built-in filter to pop the colors a little. Now this photo tells how I felt visiting the temple – I loved seeing the colorful saris on everyone, and how the colors popped. My camera just couldn’t get the actual colors as I saw them, so a small editing popped them right back up, and cropping made all the difference.

bali-temple-instagram

This post is part of Instagram Travel Thursday (remember to click the link and add your Instagram account there). Join us by blogging about Instagram travel and adding your link to the link collection below and add your travel pictures to Instagram with hashtag #IGTravelThursday. Sign up for a reminder email each week when the linky is posted, please subscribe to the special Instagram Travel Thursday prompt email. Our purpose is to unite the travel community on Instagram.

Join the Instagram Travel Thursday Linky

Join us! Bloggers – add your blog post to the linky. Not a blogger? No problem. Join us at Instagram by using hashtag #igtravelthursday and share your travel photos. But sorry- no linking to Instagram images from the linky, just to blog posts.

instagram-travel-linky-rules

My mission is to inspire you to live life to the fullest and find your own "skimbaco," how you enjoy life where ever you are in the moment. For ideas for travel, home, food and fashion, subscribe to weekly Skimbaco Lifestyle feed on Mondays and I hope you get my newsletter as well that I sent out sometimes on Fridays.

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Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live globally inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work.Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners.She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (24)

  1. Wes Holland

    I loved this tip Katja! I find myself playing with the crop for quite sometime before publishing a photo!

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      Cropping really is the easiest way to make your photos pop! And you do an amazing job with Instagram, I always love your photos :)

  2. Satu Vänskä-Westgarth

    Never ride and snap? oops…. :)

    Love this post though, I totally agree, cropping can have a huge impact in the final image. I still need more practice though, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t…

  3. I love that I’m getting these great tips when I’m just starting out on Instagram. Cropping is so simple yet it often doesn’t occur to me. Now it will – thanks!!

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      I’m glad you joined Instagram, it’s my favorite social network to connect with other travelers!

  4. My photos on IG are okay, if I had known all I needed to do was CRAP them – gah, they’d be so much better. Todays task, CROP a photo and make it pop! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great tip! I don’t do this nearly enough. Looking forward to your tips- and I know one has to be best apps :) THAT one I really need.

    • Enjoy Life Oils

      Thanks Reeta! I guess I will be just doing my tips each week since everyone seems to like them :)

  6. Cropping is key! Great tip. I absolutely love this weekly #IGTravelThursday challenge. Thank you for hosting!

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