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Need to up your Instagram game? Here's how
Updated 30th July 2015
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Need to up your Instagram game? Here's how
Does your Instagram feed require a revamp? Need to find a way to up your game? A group of young creatives are at hand to help.
instaLens, a Cape Town start-up, is gaining quite a reputation due to its range of easy to use lenses for your smartphone. (Read more about their story in the gallery above.)
Macro, telescopic, polarized and fisheye, their lenses cover -- and uncover -- all angles, and have become one of the hottest accessories within the Instagram community.
The instaLens team and Brendon Wainwright Credit: instaLens/thelawry
But with all the accessories in the world, you're not going to take the best pictures without a little bit of photographic know-how. And no one wants to be that person with all the gear and no idea.
With that in mind, we asked the team behind instaLens and top South African Instagrammer Brendon Wainwright how to make the most of your smartphone camera. Here's their tips for becoming an Instagram pro:

1.) Don't use the front facing camera

iL: "The front facing camera on your phone is of a substantially lesser quality. When you couple this with the other hardware and software packed into the rear facing camera such as image stabilization, it's pretty much a no-brainer that using the front facing camera is a bad idea."

2.) Set exposure manually

BW: "It's best is to shoot slightly under exposed than over exposed because it's easier to bring back shadows than it is with highlights."
iL: "With a quick touch to the screen/tap of a button, you can create dark moody pictures, bright happy shots, or anything in between. For iPhone users, when you set image focus by tapping on the screen, a small sun icon appears on the side of the focus square. Simply swipe up or down on the screen to adjust the exposure slider, until the picture looks best."

3.) Use natural light

iL: "Natural light is by far superior to any kind of artificial form, and cannot be replicated or mimicked. Use overcast, gloomy weather to create moody depth to your images and during sunny days try looking for areas of shade that block vertical light and create interesting shadows. Our favorite tip: wait for those magic 'golden hours' of the day during sunrise and sunset time, when the sun's rays are at their softest."

4.) Utilize other camera apps first

BW: "Apps like VSCO and Camera+ can control shutter speed and separate exposure from focus. Moving a marker around the screen users can select precisely where they would like to expose and focus. And if you use Camera+, you can capture photographs not only in JPEG but in TIFF format, which allows users to maximize the overall quality the smartphone can deliver."

5.) Explore more

iL: "No matter how claustrophobic it may make you feel, your city has more to offer than meets the eye. Thanks to the photographic communities Instagram has created, it's never been easier to go on a 'photo mission' to hunt for those hidden gems and secret spots. Make a day of going on a little exploration; take a picnic basket, cameraphone and your adventurous spirit."

6.) Collaborate

BW: "It's always best to attend a local Instameet within your community where you will met fellow Instagrammers and local photographers. Everybody's style is different and its always nice to learn or get 'hot' tips from who inspires you."

7.) Break the rules

iL: "There are so many 'rules' attached to photography that it can get pretty hard to keep up. While best practices for composition, exposure settings, the rule of thirds and framing can all come in handy, they can also start to heavily restrict your creative process. Photography is about having fun after all, so go out and have it, and you'll be surprised at the magic that comes naturally."
Read more tips from the instaLens team here.
See more of Brendon Wainwright's photography here and here.
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