With summer now in full swing, I've taken the opportunity to relaunch my activity on Instagram. The app has seen a lot of big changes over the past year or so, including some nifty hidden features that you might not have noticed; tools that can vastly improve the quality of the photos you publish to your Instagram feed. Here are 5 Instagram Hacks to Publish Perfect Photos Every Time...
1. Use grid lines to straighten your photo
Even when you use your camera's grid line overlay, it can be difficult to line up a shot as straight as you like, which is where Instagram's Straighten tool comes into play. But did you know that tapping the screen three times in succession provides you with increasingly dense sets of grid lines? This is a great help if you need closer points of reference to angle your photo just right.
2. Compare "before" and "after" differences
When you've spent a while editing an image, sometimes it's easy to forget how it looked when you first began; reminding yourself of this will ensure that you don't go too overboard with your changes. Did you know that, on the filter selection screen, if you press and hold your finger on the image, you will bring up a snapshot of the original for comparison? Switch back and forth as much as you like until you're happy with the final result.
3. Set the strength of a filter and add a frame
Sometimes applying a default filter setting will give you the result you desire, but often you'll need to tweak the intensity. Did you know that double-tapping on a filter will bring up a slider bar for you to increase and decrease the strength of a filter, as well as add a frame if there is one available?
4. Double-check your photo just before sharing
There's nothing worse than publishing an Instagram snap, only to notice it hasn't come out quite as you anticipated. When you've spent so long editing a photo to make it look great, even the smallest defect can ruin the final result. Did you know that tapping on the thumbnail of the photo on the "Share to" screen blows it up into full view? This will give you one important, final chance to survey your post before it goes live to the world.
5. Use your earphones to avoid camera shake
This "hack" best applies to situations where even touching your phone to shoot a photo might upset the position or focus of the final result. (such as in low light) Did you know that your headphone volume can be used as a "shoot" button? Plug in your Apple earphones and hit the "volume up" button to take a photo.
Over to you
Were you already aware of these little Instagram hacks? If not, are you going to put them into practice? Let me know in the comments below!
Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.