How To Take Nice Instagram Photos by Kaila

 Hello friends! For today’s post, I will teach you how to take nice instragrammable photos. I actually got this idea from Grace (one of my readers) because she asked me about how I edit / take my photos for this blog.

Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 6.16.58 PM

I actually wrote a tutorial way, way back (2011) about photography as well. Here’s the link: Compact Camera Cheat: Photography without a DSLR : )

I’ll write another comprehensive blog entry about all the FAQs about my photography equipment (from digital camera to DSLR).

Random trivia: Did you know that I used to dream about becoming a professional photographer? I was so into learning photography during my teenage years. But I began to love storytelling through my blog instead (using lots of bandwidth-hungry photos haha). And for many years, I make sure that my images / visuals are effective and creative at the same time. I hope they are! Hehe : )


DISCLAIMER: This tutorial is not about getting instagram followers.

I’ll just simply teach you some basics of art direction / prop styling & taking “nice” photos using your iPhone / mobile phone.

I’ll also tackle the following: How to add filters / edit your photos & how to compose your subject(s) well. : )


 BTS mode : )


First, you must enable the “GRID” function of your phone’s photography settings.

To those who are curious, I’ve been using iPhone 5 for almost 2 years and just recently, I got an iPhone 6 Plus (mainly for work). This is actually optional, but the grid is so helpful for me! : )


I always make sure that I take photos using natural light.. because it is the BEST light source. I used to take no-brainer instagram photos with random shadows & highlights everywhere… but now, I’ve committed myself to only upload instagram photos that I can be proud of, haha. Is this maturity or my OCD? Just kidding : )) I cannot have OCD because I’m a messy yet organized contradiction rolled into one person, haha.


Morning light near the windows ~


Before taking that snap, take a look at your subject first. Compose the photo you’re visualizing & turn on your creative side. Use your imagination ~


I usually take 3 photos at the maximum (from different angles / tilts) … especially when I’m in a hurry. Call me OC but I don’t wanna regret spending time arranging / composing the entire photo and then it turns out, it’s a blurry photo actually. Yikes!

During instances when I need to become a ninja iPhoneographer, I’d just take one sneaky shot of course, haha.

I only take multiple shots of my art-directed photos : )


After that, I open VSCOcam. It’s one of my favorite photo editing softwares. I also use AFTERLIGHT from time to time : )


Load the photo/s from your camera roll to your VSCO editor


My favorite presets at the moment are HB1 & HB2. I love “cool yet colorful” photos : )


I usually tweak the settings for each photo as well. : )




Straightening ~


Sharpen (at most, +2)…


Save! : )


Being a toy collector / kawaii hoarder has been advantageous for me because I can use many props for a photo composition.

How To Take Nice Instagram Photos

Let’s try again ~









 Kaila’s tips:

  • Practice makes perfect. I used to get shy when I take photos for my instagram (since in Japan, you cannot turn “off” the shutter sound…. huhuhu) but for the sake of my blogging career, I pushed myself to get used to the -slightly awkward- feeling of “must-take-nice-photos-before-eating” moments. Especially when you’re alone with your kawaii food in a cafe.. & everyone’s quiet.. and you take 3 consecutive snaps with different angles, lol. #BloggerProblems
  • You can also take photos from another angle (not only from the top~) for variation! : )
  • Find your own style & “signature look” … and develop it. Your feed will represent your personality / personal branding (if you are an online persona / etc.) so make sure it will also reflect your uniqueness. ^^It is absolutely OK to be inspired, but to blatantly copy someone’s style… is not really right. : )
  • Follow other instagram accounts for daily inspiration~
  • Quality > Quantity (what I learned the most after I realized how much Instagram has changed over the years)
  • If you like taking photos using your DSLR, you can buy a wifi adaptor (?) which you can use to connect your DSLR & mobile phone. Since I don’t have one, I usually download the photo/s first and pick the best photo & upload it using my dropbox account . Make sure that you have dropbox app installed on your phone too~
  • There are memory cards that have built-in wifi magic as well. I have one, and the brand is called “Flash Air”. However, it only works with digital cameras.. not DSLRs.
  • Do remember that the overall creativity factor of your photo is not only based on your equipment / gear, it’s the whole photo / idea composition. And I think that consistency with your filters is another factor to consider as well, haha. But sometimes, I’m guilty of not following it too.
  • Always keep in mind that life is much more fun and exciting outside social media / instagram. And don’t be too obsessed with the goal of capturing the perfect instagram photo (to the point that you begin to neglect other important things / priorities in life and everything is “staged”.. ohnoesss).. just treat it as a fun hobby. For me, composing or arranging my props / styling my photo is a fun de-stressing activity. I now treat my photos as a piece of my art / how I see the world / my perspective. Haha.
  • What to instagram? #WIP projects, BTS, your #brekkie lol, photos with friends, artsy-fartsy doodles & lettering, places, notes-to-self, etc~

 Just Some Extra Candies

(a.k.a. What Would Kaila Upload)


Caption: How to store your mini toys : ))



A wooden texture background is always a nice addition : )









 Hope you learned something! : ) I cannot guarantee that these would give you more followers, haha! Maybe a nice feed, yes? 😀

Please do let me know if you have blog entry suggestions / requests too ~ I might grant it! Hehe!

Love, Kaila

8 thoughts on “How To Take Nice Instagram Photos by Kaila

  1. Thank you so much for answering my questions !! I really learned a lot ! I’ll remember all the tips and how to’s you’ve shared although I wish I could just borrow your photography skills so hella amazing !!

  2. Great tips, I’ve been trying to brush up on my photography skills. The camera on my cell phone Isn’t the greatest, editing apps help a lot.

  3. Pro tip: when shotting your figures/toy from upside view: stick some Play-Doh in the back of it, so it stay nicely as it’s supposed to being seem as if you were shotting from front. Just becareful to not show the Play-Doh in the photo. (sorry for lame english).
    Also, I love your blog so much. ♥
    (I’m more of an anonymous follower 😡 )

  4. I was just wondering, how bright is your camera screen when you take the pictures? I tend to keep mine dim, and I’ve noticed that will change how the filters appear to change the photo. Any advice?

  5. Thanks for the tips on editing! I love your blog so much and follow you on instagram too! I was just wondering, are the pictures you have been posting lately…. bigger than before? I have to zoom out a bit to see it since its so big, it wasn´t quite that large before ^^”

  6. ..(pronounced as al-ya xP )

    Anyhoo thanks so much for this Kaila! I’ve just downloaded VSCO cam and I loooove it! ^^ I’ve taken some of your advice when I uploaded pics in y instagram a while ago^-^ yay!
    take care now! I’m thinking if I should continue blogging as well since I dunno if someone/someone will be reading them lol demo you’re an inspiration! More power and God speed^^


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