Top Tips for Taking the Perfect Instagram Snaps This Christmas – and Common Mistakes to Avoid

NOL is about spending quality family time, opening gifts and taking the perfect Instagram shots.

If you think your Insta game might take some work, you’re in luck: an expert has shared their top tips for capturing the perfect party photos.


Taking the perfect family photo this Christmas is easy when you know howCredit: Alamy
Pro snapper Charlotte Graham shared her top photography tips


Pro snapper Charlotte Graham shared her top photography tipsCredit: Handout

Speaking to The Sun, professional photographer Charlotte Graham recommended holding down the flash and asking subjects NOT to smile for the best shots.

Charlotte – who has over 30 years of experience in television, film and photography – also urged Christmas revelers not to touch the screen to focus.

Avoid using flash

When it comes to flash, less is more in most circumstances.

This is because smartphones these days are great in low light conditions, which means your flash is more likely to destroy a photo than save it.

On the one hand, stray light is unnecessary over long distances, and using it up close can often cause light to reflect off the lens.

“Be very careful when using the flash,” said Charlotte, 57. “Use it too close to your subject and you can blow [overexpose] the shot.”

“This is usually not necessary as most modern phones work well in low light conditions.”

If your subject is in complete darkness and you’re a few feet away from them, the flash can of course come in handy, Charlotte added.

It’s also good if you fancy experimenting with light using flash creatively, said the Sheffield-born photographer.

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Don’t ask subjects to smile

It may seem counterintuitive, but try to avoid asking your subjects to smile in order to take a more candid shot.

Asking for a cheesy smile can put people “in a weird space, mentally,” Charlotte said, which can lead to awkward poses.

Instead, just allow people to interact with the camera however they see fit to get a more authentic expression from them.

Of course, you or your subject might prefer a cute smirk in the photographs – it’s really up to you.

Try burst mode

One technique commonly used by photographers – especially snappers and wildlife paparazzi – is to use “burst mode”.

Also called “continuous shooting mode”, this feature allows you to take multiple photos continuously in a fraction of a second.

You can then choose the best from dozens of shots, instead of relying on just one hit of Hail Mary.

In the company, it’s called “spraying them,” according to Charlotte, because the shutter that closes quickly looks like machine gun fire.

Burst mode is especially useful if your subject is in motion, making it more difficult to align the perfect shot.

On iPhone, you can enable burst mode by going to Settings> Camera> Use volume for burst.

The next time you’re in the camera viewfinder, press and hold the iPhone’s volume up button to take a burst of photos.

Avoid tapping to focus

Touching your phone screen to focus on something in the viewfinder is a common mistake.

While focusing on something in the frame can enhance an image, your phone is probably already focused on what it should be.

That’s because it has an autofocus tool that picks out what’s most important in the image long before you can.

Manual focusing is therefore more likely to ruin your image than it is to improve the end result.

“In general, don’t press down to focus,” Charlotte said. “Let your phone’s camera do its own work, because autofocus is very good these days.”

rule of thirds

One tip any photographer worthy of the name knows is the “rule of thirds” – a technique that’s sure to take your Instagram shots to the next level.

It’s a photo composition ruler that divides the frame into thirds horizontally and vertically, leaving you with nine segments.

Placing your subject along the separation lines helps you frame your shot in a way that is pleasing to the eye.

For example, your subject might take up two-thirds of your frame, leaving one-third blank.

Alternatively, the subject could fill one-third of the frame and leave two-thirds blank.

“In an ideal world, divide your photo into thirds to give a balanced image,” Charlotte said.

Most smartphone cameras have the option of adding a line grid to the viewfinder to help you.

To do this in iOS, go to Settings> Camera> Composition> Grid.

Instagram also automatically places a grid in the app’s photo editing tool.

Be careful when zooming

Many modern smartphone cameras have powerful lenses that can magnify an image using computer trickery.

While that might seem like a handy feature, you’d better not use the zoom capabilities of a smartphone – or any digital camera for that matter.

This is because rather than zooming in on anything, your camera’s digital zoom effectively crops the photo, thus sacrificing image quality.

If you have no choice but to use it, Charlotte recommends holding your camera very still for the best shot.

“Make sure you hold your phone very still, otherwise the photo will be blurry or you will lose your subject,” she said.

“Whenever possible, use a tripod to keep your device stable.”

I found an iPhone hack that INSTANTLY improves all videos

In other news, Samsung is said to have killed its beloved Note smartphone after more than a decade.

Apple has announced that it will let customers repair their own iPhones for the first time starting next year.

The UK is battling an epidemic of hacking attacks targeting consumers and businesses, officials say.

And, NASA slammed Russia after a missile it fired at one of its own satellites forced the space station to perform an emergency diversion.

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