9 Hipster Hacks for Taking the Best Instagram Photos

No one takes better Instagram photos than hipsters.

If you’ve ever wondered how they do it, here are nine hacks for upping your Instagram game:

Don’t Take Photos with Instagram

While Instagram has a built-in camera, it’s better not to use it because it doesn’t have as many options as the camera on your smartphone, like zooming.

Download a Photography App

Downloading one of the many free photography apps will give you options beyond what your phone offers, such as shutter speed and white balance controls. Some good options are VSCOcam or Litely.

Use Natural Light

Natural light is always the best choice. No filter can help you if the photo is terribly lit. For outdoor shots, go for early mornings, late afternoons, or overcast days.

Look for Moments

A good subject makes a great photo, so look to capture moments. Also, look for clean images, with strong lines, colors, and shapes.

Pay Attention to Composition

Symmetrical images lend themselves to good photos. Or, use the old photography trick, called the rule of thirds, where the photographer visualizes the image divided evenly into three horizontal and vertical parts, with the subject oriented along the lines. Whatever you do, just don’t always have the main subject centered in the image.

Add a Vignette

There are so many filters and effects tools in Instagram, but the vignette and contrast tools are a especially good ones.

The vignette tool in Instagram puts more focus on your subject and makes it really stand out. This works well with may different types of photos, but especially ones taken outside. Contrast is another must filter for outdoors photos.

Fade the Colors

Fading the colors in your photos creates emotion. For example, bringing down the saturation so a photo can make an image look mysterious.

Create an All-White, Minimalist Shot

An all-white, almost faded image is a classic hipster Instagram shot. It begins with putting something, like a small plant, against a white background. Adjust the white balance of the photo to brighten it by reducing the warmth in the editing tools and increasing the exposure. Then, choose a filter that makes the photo look light, but reduce the filter strength so it doesn’t look edited.

Master the Ultimate Food Shot

The ultimate hipster Instagram photo is the top-down food shot, best achieved by standing on a chair. Increase the exposure a little bit because of the often-bad lighting in restaurants. Also, add a touch of contrast and sharpen the photo.

Some hipsters even choose a theme for their Instagram accounts — all food, all cityscapes, all black and white. Whatever you decide to do, take lots of pictures and play around with all of Instagram’s contrast, exposure, and cropping tools.