Photography

Instagram Tutorial: Photographic Composition for Beginners

Discover expert tips to start taking good Instagram pictures by learning the basic rules of composition

Mina Barrio (@minabarrio) is a product photographer who specializes in phone photography to take striking images for Instagram. She knows how to create expressive compositions that convey meaning and enhance the value of products showcased in the image.

In this tutorial, she teaches five fundamental steps to improve your photo compositions with Instagram in mind.

1. Size

Square? Vertical? Horizontal? The first thing you need to know before shooting a photo is the format you want it to be in. Although all three are good options, Mina recommends ditching horizontal because we will lose real state on the screen when the user is browsing the feed.

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2. Rule of Thirds

In visual arts and photography, the rule of thirds is a form of composition that sorts objects on an imaginary grid within the image. Mina recommends making a preliminary drawing to place the objects and give them status in this grid. It is also a good idea to turn the grid setting on our smartphone camera to see the distribution when we take the photo.

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Total Symmetry

If you find a fully symmetrical scene you can skip the rule of thirds and play with symmetry, centering the image so that it is completely equal on both sides.

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Odd Objects

Mina says that, in order to break with the "perfection" of a photo, it is important to include details that at first sight are not seen but give a personality to the image. For example, if you need several objects or products in the frame, make the number of these always odd.

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Respect negative space

The background of an image is important in composition and sometimes it will demand as much consideration as the main subject. In these cases, Mina proposes to play with and respect the negative space of the photograph, to give some space to the image and more weight to the object that we place on it.

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If you want to know more Mina Barrio's tricks for photography, you can do so in the Domestika course "Professional Photography for Instagram". She will teach you to go beyond just making a pretty picture: how to communicate your values and create a personal photographic style for your projects.

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