Beyond filters: Improving your Instagram game

Therese Reyes
Beyond filters: Improving your Instagram game
Instagram is a beautiful place to get lost in and get inspiration from. Here are top tips to improve your posts

MANILA, Philippines — With more than 80 million pictures being shared in Instagram, more and more people are finding the social medium a great place to showcase their lifestyle and keep their memories safe.

What’s your style?

Zero in on an aesthetic and be guided by your interests. You can post anything you want but the key is to present them in a similar style. Try black and white, low contrast, with frames or without, but try to be consistent. This way, your feed will look cohesive and attractive to anyone seeing it for the first time.

Perfect timing

For more hearts on your photos, post them at the right time. The trick is to figure out when your followers are likely to be browsing. This is usually from 7 to 9 am, upon waking up; 11 am to 2 pm, during lunch, and 5 to 7 pm, as the day winds down. Observe what time works best.

Get the picture

At the end of the day, at the core of it all are good photographs. For Instagram-worthy posts, consider the following: Would you like it if you saw it? Is the lighting good? Does it inspire in any way? To help you answer “yes” to all of them, here are some simple tricks to upping your Instagram game.

1.    Natural light is best

START THE DAY BRIGHT. This morning's vignette taken using Photo mode with no filter. All photos by Therese Reyes

Windows are good sources of natural light and help give you sharper photos. To direct the sunlight where you need it to be, use a reflector. If you don’t have one, a blank piece of white paper is a good alternative. For even clearer photos, make use of a phone with a high megapixel camera and optical image stabilization.

2.    Use your environment

HIGH RISE. Part of the Ortigas skyline taken using Panorama mode with no filter.

Good Instagram opportunities are everywhere, and you can find them in unexpected places. Think beyond the four sides of the frame and capture an area in its entirety. To get the complete picture, set the camera to panorama and slowly move your phone from left to right.

3.    Shoot without filters (and use external editing tools)

PICK YOUR FILTER. Huawei P8’s edit feature. Screen grab of Huawei P8 screen.

For more options, take your photos without a filter. You can easily add them later on. It’s also a good idea to edit your photos outside the Instagram app to give you more control. Make use of your phone’s editing feature and adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation to your liking.

4.    Post square photos but take landscape shots

LIGHT UP LIFE. Light tagging taken using Light Painting mode with no filter.


INSTAGRAM READY. Landscape photo cropped to a square.

Instagram has always been about square photos but you should take multiple shots in different orientations too. Sometimes, it’s what you don’t intend to shoot that makes the picture great, plus you can easily crop it to a square anyway.

5.    Snap away but plan ahead

FLAT LAY. Beach essentials taken using Best Photo mode with no filter.

Digital photography means you are not limited to a roll of film. Use this to your advantage and take as much pictures as you can. The “Best Photo” option is a useful tool for this since it takes multiple shots consecutively, then asks you to select which one you think is best. Keep in mind though that it’s important to plan your shots too. Look for a good venue, set up your subject, and think about the framing.

6.    Selfies are fun

WORKING IT. A selfie with workmates taken using Beauty mode with no filter.

Selfies are cool but try not to fill up your feed with self-portraits. Instead, use the popular hashtag to capture a moment with friends. You can even make use of “Beauty Mode” to brighten up your faces and make sure you’re all on point.

7.    Participate in trending hashtags and join a community

LIGHT VANDALS. Experimental light tagging taken using Light Painting mode with no filter.

Hashtags are important because they allow other people to find your photos. It will also let you in on different communities, which is central in any type of social media. Apart from that, it’s also an opportunity to go beyond your comfort zone and experiment a bit.

#LightVandals, for instance, is a trend where people make use of LED light to write words and draw images in the night sky. This is typically done by manually adjusting a camera’s aperture, ISO, and white balance, but you can skip that and easily execute it if your phone has a “Light Painting” option that adjusts the settings for you.

Instagram is a beautiful place to get lost in and get inspiration from. These tips will help get more people interested in your feed and eventually find inspiration in you as well. —

All photos taken with Huawei P8


Huawei P8 combines the best of fashion and technology with its notable features and sleek design. These two come into play in the smart phone’s Light Painting feature, which allows you to craft freehand light painted images easily. For more information, visit Huawei Philippines’ Facebook page.  

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