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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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onthetable, hashtag highlight, howishoot,

Share Your Feast: Tips from Foodie Photographers on Instagram

To whet your appetite with more foodie photos, browse the #onthetable hashtag. Still hungry? Follow @aguynamedpatrick, @sliceofpai, @rubenhughes and @sonyayu on Instagram.

A little over a year and a half ago, San Francisco food and lifestyle photographer Sonya Yu (@sonyayu) shared some of her best advice about how to take beautiful photos of food. We caught up with Sonya and chatted with a few of the top foodies on Instagram to hear their favorite tips.

For all those celebrating Thanksgiving this Thursday, take note of these pointers to score that perfect photo of your holiday spread:

Patrick Janelle (@aguynamedpatrick) “I look for a nice texture as the backdrop to the meal. The plastic table not good enough? Call me crazy, but sometimes I’ll set the dish or drink on the ground for a better backdrop (see: #coffeegrounded). A lot of people like to neatly organize their food on the table before a shot, but I like a more natural look. A fork askew, map of the city, your handbag, phone or keys: each element gives the photo more visual texture and definitely makes it more personal.”

Joann Pai (@sliceofpai) “Good lighting is an integral part of food photography. Soft daylight is best. Depending on the situation, I would even suggest taking your food to a place with good light, then taking a photo.”

Ruben Hughes (@rubenhughes) “When editing, try slightly upping the highlight in your photo which will increase the whiteness of your plates or other ware. Bringing out the color in your photo can help increase the beauty of it. Try adding a bit of warmth or focused saturation to any colorful areas.”

Sonya Yu (@sonyayu) “A great vantage point always makes for a great composition, especially when your extensive spread seems too difficult to fit into a square. Go grab the nearest chair to stand on and don’t be shy—take your photo from up above to capture the entire meal! And of course, don’t forget to save me and @trotterpup a plate!”

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User feature, tips, slow shutter cam, long exposure, light trails, howishoot,

How I Shoot: Capturing Light Trails with Slow Shutter Cam

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about the set-up and process behind their photos and videos. This week, Vlad Babushkin (@vladviper5) shares how he captures light trails with Slow Shutter Cam. To see more Slow Shutter photos, browse the #slowshuttercam and #slowshutterapp hashtags.

Vlad Babushkin (@vladviper5) is a 16-year-old living in Tokyo, Japan, who documents the striking architecture of his city on Instagram. Many of his photos are taken after the sun has gone down, when he uses long exposure photography to capture the city’s frenetic activity.

Vlad offered these tips for capturing the light trails created by the lights of moving cars on an iPhone:

Camera

iPhone 5.

Vantage Point

I use Slow Shutter Cam primarily to shoot city views at night. The app is great not just for cityscapes, but also for capturing the activity in a city after dark. Try staking out a high vantage point to capture the light trails from moving traffic.

Shooting

You need a tripod. It’s important for your phone to be still, and a tripod prevents it from shaking. Use the timer to give your camera a moment to stop moving once you hit the shutter.

It’s also important to find a dark place to shoot. If there is a lot of light around the subject you’re capturing or in front of your phone, the photo will be too bright.

Experiment with shutter speed and sensitivity to see what different effects you can achieve.

Editing

Sometimes the photo you capture could use some editing. I usually use PicsPlay Pro (iOS and Android) to adjust colors and tones before sharing to Instagram.

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howishoot, matt glastonbury, Nokia Lumia,

#HowIShoot: Photographing Reflections on Water with @mattglastonbury

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about their photo and video-taking processes. This week, Tasmanian Instagrammer @mattglastonbury shares his tips for taking water reflection shots.

As well as being one of the most prolific InstaMeet organizers on the planet, Tasmanian Instagrammer Matt Glastonbury (@mattglastonbury) is a master of photographing reflections on water. One of Matt’s favorite subjects to shoot with his Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Phone are the reflections on the surface of the River Derwent near his home, which he catalogs with the #liquidography hashtag. “We have a clear view of the sunset, Mount Wellington and the river from our lounge room window, so when there is a colorful sundown, we usually head down and find some calm waters to shoot from.”

To learn more about how to shoot a great water reflection photo like Matt, read his tips below:

Camera: Nokia Lumia 1020

Step-by-Step:

  • Tap the screen to lock the focus on the brightest part of your scene so you don’t over-expose the sky.
  • Use a waterproof case and turn your device upside-down to get the lens as close to the surface as possible
  • Mind the weather. Calmer days make for the best reflections and sunrise or sunset make for the most colorful scenes.
  • Use rapid-fire (burst mode) if your handset supports it, then pick out your favorites.

For even more tips on how to shoot with the Nokia Lumia 1020, check out these tutorials.

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howishoot, tips, user feature, average cam pro,

How I Shoot: @TonyCross’s Tips for Capturing Movement with AverageCamPro

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about the set-up and process behind their photos and videos. This week, @TonyCross shares how he captures moving water with Average Camera Pro. To see more Average Cam photos, browse the #AvgCamPro hashtag!

"I use Average Cam for two things: photographing water and shooting in low light," says photographer Tony Cross (@tonycross). “For low light photography, its primary function is to achieve the sharpness you can’t get with a normal iPhone photo.” But Average Cam’s ability to quickly take multiple photos and layer them on top of one another means you can capture beautiful images of moving water.

Want to try your hand at capturing moving water? Tony offers up some tips:

Vantage Point

"I mostly use Average Cam for photos of the ocean, and I always try to find something that will give context to the water – rock formations or groups of rocks, carefully placed people, and the like. But essentially I’d compose it the same as I would a normal photo. I tend to take wider shots."

Shooting

"You need a tripod. Also, make sure your ringer and any vibrating alerts are off. This can interrupt the averaging process or shake the phone when it needs to be still. Average Cam allows you to lock exposure/focus (the little L button), and I recommend doing this, particularly in low light. If you don’t, the camera will keep auto-exposing as it shoots. Most importantly, when photographing water, experiment with the number of shots you’re taking and see the different outcomes you can get. Depending on the conditions, you can get anywhere from slightly-smoother-than-normal looking water all the way to smooth as glass. Try different increments and see what you like. I always use the timer for at least a second or two, so whatever movement I create by clicking the shutter has time die down.”

Editing

"I use VSCO and Snapseed (Apple/Android) to edit all my photos, and there’s nothing I do differently in particular for Average Cam shots. However, the total size/resolution output from Average Camera Pro is less than a normal iPhone photo, so be careful about running your photo through any editing process that degrades the image or resolution.”

Additional Thoughts

Try using Average Camera for all sorts of situations, says Tony. “While I mostly take photos of the ocean, I’ve seen tons of amazing shots of streams, waterfalls, really any type of water. Play around with exposure and number of shots. You can get a lot of different effects out of it.”

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user feature, danny clinch, concert photography, tips, howishoot,

How I Shoot: Danny Clinch’s Concert Photography

Want to view more photos from Bonnaroo? Visit the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival location page and the #trueroo hashtag.

Danny Clinch (@dannybones64) has photographed musicians and documented their performances since the mid-1980s when he was an intern for Annie Leibovitz. Along the way, Danny has captured Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Tupac Shakur and Björk in his signature unobtrusive style. He posts some of those intimate, modest moments on Instagram and even shared a few of his concert photography tips with us:

  • Try to find a point of view that is different from the people around you.
  • The most interesting photograph is not always of the lead singer at the microphone.
  • Watch what happens between songs.
  • Try different angles. The view from the furthest seat in the house can be as rewarding as the front row.
  • Develop relationships with people in the music industry—both venue employees and band members—for behind-the-scenes photo opportunities.

Starting tomorrow, Danny will be photographing the four-day Bonnaroo festival (@bonnaroo) in Manchester, Tennessee. Follow him and performers like The XX (@the_xx_), Reggie Watts (@reggiewatts), Porter Robinson (@porterrobinson), Alana Haim (@babyhaim) and The National (@ntnl) for a behind-the-scenes look at the music and comedy festival.

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howishoot, user feature, indonesia,

How I Shoot: Levitating with @JunantoHerdiawan

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about the set-up and process behind their photos. This week, @JunantoHerdiawan shares how he takes photos where he appears to be levitating.

Camera: iPhone & iPad.

Vantage Point: “Levitation is like philosophy. It’s not just a jump shot; it is a floating moment. I like to travel and see many interesting places in the world. My idea is to levitate in any interesting place or interesting moment. By doing that, I feel like I can float or fly in any place in the world.”

Shooting: Using an application that takes multiple photos at a time while you jump makes it easier to capture the perfect levitation photo. “I use the Fast Camera application on iPhone or iPad to capture the moment. It is a continuous-shoot application that can capture every second of my levitation.”

Editing: While Junanto may touch up the lighting or tones in his photos, there are no special apps or programs used to create the levitation effect. “I don’t use editing for my levitation photos, no special application. I only adjust for lighting and other effects.”

Follow Junanto’s levitating adventures in Jakarta, Indonesia, and throughout the world at instagram.com/junantoherdiawan.

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macro, nature photography, tips, user feature, howishoot,

How I Shoot: Macro Nature Photos with @rickyohead

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about their photo-taking processes. This week, @rickyohead shares his tips for taking up-close photos of nature with a mobile macro lens.

Camera: iPhone 4, with Olloclip macro lens

Vantage Point: Bug’s-eye view, very close to the subject. Crawling in the grass, peeking under a leaf, on my tippy toes to reach a flower — whatever it takes to capture a unique perspective.

Shooting: Public parks and preserves are best, but nature is everywhere if you look carefully. Lighting is key. Early morning is great because of the strong, warm colors and opportunity to get a sharp, backlit shot. For bugs, be patient and don’t be afraid of the critters you find. If they fly away when you approach, they usually land close by. To create depth, try shooting from the side, as opposed to straight down.

Editing: I don’t like to alter a macro nature photo after it’s been taken. All the details and imperfections make it real. The square 1:1 Instagram crop is a great opportunity to frame creatively. On rare occasions, I’ll apply the Instagram Lux filter to add vibrancy and contrast.

For more iPhone macro tips from Ricky, visit his website. @rickyohead would also like to especially acknowledge his friend and macro mentor, @eyefor.

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howishoot, user feature, jumpstagram, tips,

How I Shoot: @daveedgamboa’s Jumpstagrams

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about their photo-taking processes. This week, @daveedgamboa shares his tips for taking & editing his one-man #jumpstagrams.

Camera: Samsung Galaxy Note

Vantage Point: My action shots require a unique setup since I usually go out and shoot alone. I use a normal tripod and attach my Samsung Galaxy Note running Android 4.0. I attach my phone using 3 or 4 rubber bands. I then simply wrap the rubber bands around the galaxy note and the tripod and then voila.

Shooting: I do not use the stock camera on Android, I instead use an app called Camera FV-5 (free “lite” version here). It is a unique app that gives you control over the exposure and white balance and bracketing and loads of other cool stuff that makes your phone almost like a mobile DSLR. I use the 10 second timer on the camera and then run off to jump in the distance.

Editing: Due to the camera I use (and the lack of editing apps on Android) I don’t do any kind of intricate editing processes. I simply assure to get good natural lighting so that editing becomes an easy process and I only use Instagram effects on my photos.

Want to see more? Check out David’s #jumpstagram video tutorial on YouTube. And in case you missed it, check out our own #jumpstagram how-to.

How I Shoot: Dodging and Burning, by Finn Beales

featured, User Feature, howishoot,

How I Shoot How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about their photo-taking processes. In this post, Finn Beales (@finn) explains “dodging and burning,” a  photo-editing technique popularized by American photographer Ansel Adams.

Vantage Point: I generally look for a strong central focal point. A roadway, tree or something else that sits smack in the center of the frame.

Shooting: I shoot with the iPhone native camera app and usually expose my pictures to a mid-tone, bringing back areas that I want to highlight during processing. There’s often a lot of detail in the sky, as well as the shadows, and it’s a shame to lose this. Double tap an area on the screen that is closest to the midpoint between black and white (i.e gray). This will give you the best exposure for all the elements in the frame. 

Editing: For this photo, I made edits using Snapseed. First, use Tune image > Ambiance at about 30% to put some life back into the picture. Next, choose the selective adjust tool and add points to areas of the image that you want to enhance. I generally work with the light already in the picture. It’s a simple process of brightening the highlights and darkening the shadows, always working to isolate the subject at the center of the frame. This technique is called dodging and burning, and the legendary Ansel Adams was a master of it (although he used chemicals to get the effect as opposed to a swipe of the finger!).

When you’re finished editing in Snapseed, save the photo and then apply an Instagram filter that tones the image according to your preference. In this case, I used Sierra.

How I Shoot: Photos of People Taking Photos, by Rebecca Silus

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With the Worldwide InstaMeet just around the corner, many of you will join up with other Instagrammers in your area for a photowalk, which is a great time to snap photos of your fellow Instagrammers in action. To help you prepare, Rebecca Silus (@fieldoffice) shares her tips for shooting photos of other people shooting photos!

How I Shoot is a series where we ask Instagrammers to tell us about their photo-taking processes.

Camera: iPhone 4S

Vantage Point: Getting close enough to see the other shooterʼs camera, but far away enough to create a larger story.

For this photo, I wanted to show the cat that @anthonygeorgis was filming as well as the location. Because both figures were contrasted against the background, I was able to back up and take a fairly wide shot without losing the moment. This allowed me to show the detail Anthony was shooting, the building his subject lives in, and the landscape the building belongs to.

Shooting: Telling a story—how will this image fit into the narrative of my stream?

I think a lot about how my Instagram stream reads—as a collection of thumbnails and as images that pop up individually in someone elseʼs stream. So I try to make my photos work together and get as much information into each image as possible. This helps me choose what to photograph next and was on my mind when I shot this.

I shoot with the native camera app and lean towards shooting darker because I brighten things up and add contrast during the editing process. The final crop is always a top consideration when framing the image, so I compose my shots with the square format in mind. Often this means physically backing up so that there is extra room on all sides to crop the image down later on.

Editing: Keeping it fast and simple.

Instagramming in real time is important to me, so a simple and fast editing process that I can complete in one app is key. PhotoForge2 has a great collection of precise tools for adding brightness and contrast, two steps that I take with almost every image.

With this photo I went to the exposure option and bumped it up to 1.40. Next I added a little bit of warmth by going to color balance and moving the midtones cyan/red slider to .50.

After bringing the color-corrected image into Instagram, I made the final decisions about the cropping. In this case, I drastically changed the original photograph by completely cropping out a part of the buildingʼs shadow that I found distracting. The final step to this edit was applying the Rise filter.

Want to share your advice for taking photos? Reblog this post and let us know in the comments! Or include a tip in the caption on your Instagram photo and use the tag #howishoot