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October 10, 2019

A Step-by-Step Guide: Create Photos and Videos to Captivate your Audience on Instagram

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA

(Update on November 14, 2021 at 9:00AM PT: This blog post was published in 2019. For up-to-date information about using video on Instagram, please visit our video solutions page.)

Read this guide for creative tips to enhance your photos and videos, as well as creative tools you can use to create content on Instagram.

Step 1: Get creative with these 8 post ideas

Instagram is where you can showcase your business' personality. By sharing photos and videos, you can invite your audience to learn more about your business. Let’s look at the 8 ideas below to create different types of photos and videos.

Learn more about how to take photos and videos with your Camera here.

Show the behind-the-scenes of your business.

Provide a tour of your workplace, spotlight a team member, or show the process of creating your product or service.

A behind-the-scenes photo from jars_by_dani instagram account
Announce new products or services.

Share a new product or product feature to create a buzz, or record yourself unboxing your own product. In the example above, @JARSbydani created buzz by sharing the new flavors she was working on prior to launching. (Update on October 29, 2021 at 11:00AM PT: "@jars_by_dani" is now "@JARSbydani" throughout this post.)

Make tutorials.

Show people the different ways they can use your products and services, whether through your captions or in a video.

A holiday image
Celebrate holidays.

You can post about mainstream holidays or think about smaller holidays. For example, if you run a donut shop, mark your calendar to create a special post for National Donut Day. Look at this photo @JARSbydani created for Valentine’s Day.

Share events.

If your business hosts events, invite your audience to post photos and videos before, during and after your event. Create a collection of your favorite moments by posting multiple photos or videos to tell the story of the night. Learn more about posting multiple photos or videos.

Get customer testimonials.

Ask customers for photos and videos with your products or services that you can share. You can even interview your trusted customers as they use them. Imagine a baker taking a video of a customer taking their first bite or a hair stylist filming a client during a cut.

Post other marketing materials.

Think about other photos and videos you’ve created for your marketing, like posters or creative for your website, that you can share.

Whatever posts you decide to create, don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of posts and ask for your followers’ feedback on what they enjoy the most.

Step 2: Add polish using these 4 photography techniques
An image using the rule of thirds grid
Make your shots more balanced with the rule of thirds.

Look at the elements that are the most important in your shot. Then place the subject of the photo at the intersection points of the grid lines, which divides the photo into thirds.

A product image
Use space to spotlight your subject.

If you want to highlight the subject of your shot, add space around the subject to make it stand out. For instance, take a look at how @JARSbydani highlights their products against the table.

An image with leading lines
Use leading lines in photos.

People’s eyes follow lines in your photos. Create photos where the lines draw the eye to the subject you want to highlight, like this photo where @JARSbydani used the spoons to lead your eyes to her jars.

An image using strong lighting
Experiment with light at different times of day.

Capture the soft light at sunset or create stark shadows at midday with harsh light. Take a look at how @JARSbydani captured her shot. You can also take night-time photos with neon lights or a colorful filter help set a mood and contrast your photos.

Step 3: Get the look you want with these 5 editing techniques

Taking the perfect photo or video when you’re crunched for time running your business can be hard. Use the 5 editing techniques below to enhance your photos after you’ve shot them.

An image using strong lighting

Learn about specific creative effects you can use for your photos and videos here.

Crop to get your ideal image.

Play around with different zoom levels and angles for your shots. You can also share the same shot multiple times by cropping it differently each time. For instance, see how @JARSbydani has cropped her photo to zoom in just on her spoon.

Use Lux and enhance.

When you’re editing your photos, try tapping Lux, the magic wand on the top of your screen that appears when you take a photo using your in-app camera. Using Lux, you can immediately enhance your photos and videos by lightening shadows, darkening highlights and increasing contrast.

Use different filters for different moods.

Overlay the filters on your photos and think about the mood they convey—like Amaro if you want a vintage feel or Moon if you want classic black and white look.

An image using strong lighting
Make your colors pop.

Experiment with tools like contrast and saturation to increase the intensity of your colors. Show off bold colors in your photos if that’s the look you’re going for, or tone it down if you’re going for a more muted look. For instance, see how @JARSbydani’s post with her rainbow cake really pops here.

Make your subject the center of attention.

If the subject of your photo is set in the center, add a vignette to darken your photo’s edges to direct people’s attention to it. Or, if you want to blur your background to focus on the subject in your foreground, try blurring it using Tilt Shift.

Step 4: 6 tips to make your videos look more professional

Create high-quality videos with these 6 tips.

Learn more about how to post videos on your feed here.

Make the right first impression.

Select a video cover that captures the essence of your video. Look at the bottom of the app after you shoot your video using the in-app camera. You’ll have the option to choose your cover, trim the video and add a filter.

Grab people’s attention in the first 5 seconds.

Show interesting visuals or share the most important points in your video upfront.

Keep your shots in focus.

Tap on your screen on the object you want to focus on when you’re recording. Keeping your shots in focus when filming a subject can make them look more professional.

Use Instagram’s creative tools to make engaging videos.

Hyperlapse helps you create time-lapse videos. Boomerang helps you create a mini video that loops back and forth.

Stabilize the shot for a polished look.

You can lean your phone against a wall or even get a tripod specifically for your phone.

Prep your people.

Make a list of talking points or a pre-written set of questions to get employees or partners ready to answer official questions about your business.

BY: Instagram Business Team

San Francisco, CA