How to Create Better Portraits for Instagram

Portraiture and gaming the system on Instagram isn’t always so simple. In fact, it’s pretty difficult. But photographers have been trying to cut through all the noise as best as they can for as long as the platform has been around. Getting better photos for Instagram starts in-camera, then with the editing process, and then with creating better content overall on the platform. So here’s what you should know.

Be VERY, VERY Selective

There are tons of photographers who go about posting everything from a shoot they’ve done.

Don’t do that–you’re essentially just spamming a hashtag then. Instead, post only the best of your images and the runners up. The best of your work is also what should typically be reflected on your actual website (and I seriously believe you need a website). But then you can add teasers and content specifically for Instagram just by adding in a few more photos you wouldn’t necessarily put on your website, but can surely share on social media.

My typical rule: one photo from every hundred you shoot should be posted to Instagram if you’re very careful and not just hammering the shutter down.

Go Through Your Previous Work, Ensure That There Aren’t Repeats Before Posting

One thing that can annoy a lot of people looking at your Instagram page is seeing repeated content–but this is within reason. There’s nothing really wrong with recycling content to promote it a bit more, but I’d typically wait a while before you do that and consider whether or not how much your work has evolved since you’ve previously posted that image or video. For example, I wouldn’t post photos I shot nine years ago unless something was ABSOLUTELY brilliant; and I’ve got a few like that. But these days, my creative vision and my whole process has changed.

Now break that down into a much more micro level: my creative vision has evolved since last year and even two years ago.

Find a balance between the work you do now and the work that you’ve done.

Shoot Or Crop Portrait Oriented

Portrait photography and the nature of how Instagram works is best when you, well, shoot and export portrait oriented. Think about it, Instagram doesn’t have a landscape mode at all. You can share images that are landscape oriented but they’re not going to take up most of the real estate space on a phone. Instead, go portrait oriented.

Exporting Size

So with all this said, what dimensions should you crop to or export at? Here’s the secret sauce:

Width = 1080 pixels

Height = 1350 pixels

When you export at this size, you’ll be able to make the most of the real estate that Instagram has at the current moment of publishing this post.