A picture is worth a thousand words. For marketers, Instagram brings your brand to life and showcases it from unique perspectives. Instagram is all about posting great photos, but you don’t need to be a professional photographer to curate a great Instagram account. All you need is your smartphone, the Instagram app and a few tips and tricks.

Remember the rule of thirds

Ever wonder what those grid lines are that appear when using your camera phone? These are to help you frame your pictures using the rule of thirds, meaning you shouldn’t center your subject in the frame. Instead, divide your photograph into thirds, vertically and horizontally, and place your subject at one of the intersecting points.

 
 

A photo posted by Franklin Tennessee (@visitfranklintn) onMay 24, 2016 at 6:00am PDT


Give photos context

Even though a picture is worth a thousand words, you still need to give it context. Keep it short and sweet (just a sentence or two), making sure to explain what’s happening in the photo. Also, take advantage of Instagram’s location feature to add more context to your photo. For example, if you’re snapping photos at the local farmer’s market, make sure you tag your location, use a relevant hashtag and provide the user with relevant information such as the hours of operation. If you’re photographing a historical landmark, consider using the official history sign as an element in the image.


 

A photo posted by Tennessee Tshirts | Nashville (@instagramtennessee) onApr 25, 2016 at 6:49pm PDT


Don’t get “photobombed”

It’s easy to forget to check what’s going on in the background when you’re focused on capturing the moment. Remember, the background can make or break your photo. Before you hit “capture,” take a moment to examine all parts of the frame for distracting elements—like a telephone pole coming out of a subject’s head. If you’re taking photos in an area where lots of people are around, avoid the infamous photobomb by taking several photos and choosing the one with the least distracting background. 

Consider the composition

Make your photos stand out by considering elements that could give your photo better composition. This could mean using a doorway to frame your subject, lying on the ground and shooting up, experimenting with depths of field or using the natural lines in the environment to appeal to the eye. Check out the photos below that exemplify certain aspects of composition.

Perspectives: Above and Below

 

A photo posted by Your Take (@yourtake) onApr 18, 2016 at 7:04pm PDT

 

 

A photo posted by Las Vegas (@vegas) onApr 26, 2016 at 9:25pm PDT

 

Depths of field: Large and Small 

 

A photo posted by NashvilleFoodFan (@nashvillefoodfan) onMay 25, 2016 at 2:04pm PDT

 

 

A photo posted by Your Take (@yourtake) onMay 26, 2016 at 1:29pm PDT

 

Framing 

 

A photo posted by Franklin Tennessee (@visitfranklintn) onMar 7, 2016 at 6:00am PST

 

 

A photo posted by Visit Knoxville (@visitknoxville) onJun 3, 2016 at 4:10am PDT

 

Leading lines 

 

A photo posted by Tennessee Tshirts | Nashville (@instagramtennessee) onMay 1, 2016 at 12:52pm PDT

 

 

A photo posted by Tennessee Tshirts | Nashville (@instagramtennessee) onApr 26, 2016 at 5:18am PDT


Capture people—and emotion

Make sure you aren’t focusing on large groups of people (or, even worse, the backs of their head). Try capturing small groups or individuals, because your goal is to showcase people having a good time! This is what’s called the “decisive moment”—when all the above elements come together to create a powerful photograph.

 

A photo posted by Tennessee Tshirts | Nashville (@instagramtennessee) onApr 18, 2016 at 6:33pm PDT


Of course, capturing emotion isn’t just limited to humans. 
 

 

A photo posted by Franklin Tennessee (@visitfranklintn) onApr 2, 2016 at 7:00am PDT


Involve others

Though it’s focused on photos, Instagram is still a place to create community, just like other social media platforms. Create a community on Instagram by:

Editing

Instagram filters are awesome because they can sometimes hide the shortcomings of mobile cameras, but don’t go overboard. Choose a filter that accents your photo. And, remember, filters aren’t required! Sometimes the natural beauty of a photo is the only filter you need. #nofilter 

 

A photo posted by USA TODAY (@usatoday) onMay 31, 2016 at 8:35pm PDT