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How to Become a Top-Tier Instagrammer


Ah, Instagram. Just one of many social media outlets that help us show the world what our lives look like. If you’re like me, you’ve spent too many hours meticulously scrolling through hundreds of the same photo, struggling with filters and contrast, and thinking of an original yet cute caption. If you find yourself scrolling through your feed and envying every creatively shot picture you come across, you’re not alone. To help you up your Insta-game, here are some easy tips that will make people think you’re a sponsored pro – even if you’re just shooting for some followers.


  1. Choose a theme

Every good Instagrammer has a somewhat consistent theme throughout their feed – whether it be a color scheme they stick to with their photos, or a certain filter they can’t live without. Find a theme or editing ritual that works with the aesthetic you want – it can be lots of darks and grainy photos for a vintage look, crisp whites and neutrals, or even all black and white! This will help give your entire account a signature “look”.

  1. Play with lights and shadows

If you’re looking to take that selfie to the next level, try finding some creativity through playing with lights and shadows. You can use your blinds to create lines of light on your otherwise dark face, or if you really want to try something new, take a strainer and use it to make some cool shadows on your face! The possibilities are endless when playing with light, and you never know what household items can be used to make some really cool effects.

  1. Phone a Friend

Don’t be afraid to ask a friend if they’d want to do an amateur photoshoot with you! Here in Boulder, there are so many cool places to take pictures, and it’s hard to get the same effect without a photographer’s help. Go explore Pearl Street or the Flatirons and bring a friend along for some really cool pictures – chances are, they’ll want some pics for their Instagram too.

  1. Backdrops


Even the most incredibly boring walls you find can be used as a beautiful backdrop for a candid photo, if you use your imagination. Murals, brick walls (there’s plenty of those on CU’s campus!), and even some grass can all be used to get some real Insta-worthy pics. Let loose, have fun, and let the backdrops do the work for you!

  1. Editing

This is my personal favorite part of photography – the post-editing process. Apps like VSCO (my personal go-to), PicsArt, or even Instagram’s own filter system can make your photos look professional in no time. Another great editing app is Snapseed – it used to cost $4.99 in the App store, but it’s recently become free to use and has some amazing features! If you know you want your photo to look a certain way but don’t know exactly how to edit it, take to Pinterest and search for “VSCO themes”. These cheat sheets will tell you exactly how to adjust contrast, exposure, and more to get a specific aesthetic for your pictures.


Instagram is a fun and easy way to show your friends, family, and followers the version of your life you want them to see. There’s nothing wrong with having fun editing and taking photos – it can be a great hobby (and if you’re interested in photography, maybe even a job). These five tips are perfect for anyone who’s ever struggled with getting their Instagram profile to reflect who they really are.

Madison Sinsel

CU Boulder '21

Madison is currently a sophomore at CU Boulder, working towards a major in the CMCI school in Strategic Communications on the media design track as well as a minor in fine art. She's been a HerCampus writer since her freshman year, and this year she is also lucky to be an Aerie Ambassador for CU's campus and a Barre3 ambassador for the Boulder studio. At CU Boulder, Madi is focusing on learning graphic design and illustration and has plans to one day become an artistic director and tattoo artist. She's had a love for writing since she was three years old, and is thrilled to be a part of the HerCampus community. Her passions include theatre, matcha lattes, and reading people's tarot cards at parties.
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