In the era of social networks and being overwhelmed by content, people get bored easily. This means that you need to stand out and create your own style if you want to get noticed. To help you do this, Rachel and Daniel of Mango Street discuss some of the mistakes beginners often make when posting their photos on Instagram. They also share their tips for avoiding clichés and creating the kind of work that will stand out and help you to get noticed.
Before we move on, keep in mind that these are personal opinions and they’re not set in stone. Daniel, Rachel, and her sister Megan give you some thoughts and suggestions that you can use (or not) to your advantage to avoid some common pitfalls.
1. Avoid unoriginal poses
There are some poses that we see so frequently on Instagram that we might want to think about giving them names. In fact, Rachel and Daniel did just that.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, avoid unoriginal and overused poses. They’ve all been seen before. Instead, look to capture more of the unique and real moments that add life to your photos and make them interesting.
2. Mind the composition
Composition can be difficult for beginners to master. It takes time to learn and explore composition’s rules, but also to learn when, how and why to break them. Daniel mentions “five main offenders” when it comes to composition mistakes:
Most beginners know about the Rule of Thirds or centering the subject. However, it often happens that the subject is somewhere in between, slightly off-center, which can look odd.
Another mistake beginners make is cropping the subjects at the joints. It creates a weird illusion that your subject’s limb is cut off, which makes it something to avoid.
When placing your subject against a backdrop, you should pay attention to creating distance between them. Sometimes the photo will work if the subject is close to the background; but at other times the photo looks flat. Moving your subject a few feet away from the backdrop will create some separation and help draw your viewers’ eyes to the subject.
One common compositional problem is the crooked horizon. Unless it was your intention to take photos at an angle, make sure to level the horizon, either in camera or in post.
Finally, you should avoid distracting background elements. What Daniel points out as a “rule of thumb” is that if an object looks like it’s coming out of your subject’s head, “it’s probably a no-go.” Like I did here:
3. Don’t blindly follow trends
Trends come and go, and they’re very obvious when it comes to photography (especially on Instagram). Daniel mentions fairy lights, glass balls, crushed blacks, the orange and teal look… They’re currently popular, but no one can tell if these trends will stand the test of time. So, it’s good to have current trends in mind, but I think it’s better to find your own style.
[Stop Taking These Instagram Photos | Mango Street]