For better Instagram photos, think square #IGTravelThursday

Longs Peak

Just a quick check in this week since I’m out west on my swing through Colorado and Utah. I spent the first part of this week in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado where I took nearly 1,000 photos with my Olympus E-M5.

It will probably take a few weeks to go through all of them and decide which to edit, process and post online. Hopefully, I’ll have a few keepers out of that stack. Because I usually use prime lenses, meaning lenses with fixed focal lengths, as opposed to a zoom lens, I’m often “cropping” a picture in my head as I’m snapping the shot.

You should do the same thing when using a camera phone to take a picture that you plan to post to Instagram.

Obviously, if you’re using the Instagram app to take your photos, you don’t have to worry about this because you can immediately see what the photo will look like. But if you’re in a national park where cell phone coverage is spotty at best, it means you won’t be able to post those great shots for hours or maybe even days.

Instagram’s square format means you’re likely going to have to crop 1/4 off the top or bottom of your photo. Planning for that crop as you take your picture is essential. I know that’s pretty basic advice and probably something you’re already doing but if you’re just  starting out with Instagram, it’s a great thing to keep in mind.

Here’s an example of a before and after horizontal crop I used for the photo at the top of the post:


When I composed the photo, I knew I would be losing a lot of the dirt at the bottom.

Visualizing your crop as you take the photo will ensure that you don’t lose important details when converting your rectangular camera phone picture into a square Instagram.

All photos by Joe Newman.

Learn More Here

This post is part of Instagram Travel Thursday, a blog collective that promotes the great travel experts on Instagram and uses Instagram as a source for travel inspiration. 


Official Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosts:

levitra manufacturer Alaska
Destination Unknown
Child Mode
Hines Sight Blog
House of Anaïs
Luxury Travel Mom

Joe Newman

I'm Joe Newman, multi-media story teller, non-profit do-gooder, international street photographer, serious poker player, intrepid traveler. Bourbon drinker.

  • Katja of Skimbaco

    Great tip – and even though I’ve been posting Instagram pictures daily for over a year now, I still sometimes miscalculate the crop and miss something I wanted to have “in the square” – it does take practice. But I still like shooting first and then cropping – I never take photos directly with the Instagram app. Enjoy your trip, and can’t wait to see more photos, I’ve loved the photos so far!

  • Reeta @houseofanais

    Good tip, I often don’t realise how much I loose when the image is squared and end of taking it too close, thus loosing a lot of it! Look forward to seeing more from your trip to Rocky Mountains!

  • Satu VW

    I’ll be just repeating what the ladies above said, but yes, a great tip which I sometimes forget too… I never use the Instagram camera as I like to just snap away, and later decide which photos I’ll publish. Enjoy your trip, look forward to more news and images from Colorado & Utah!!

  • Elena

    Great tip– planning ahead is something I have not focused on but need to.

  • Leigh Powell Hines @Hinessightblog

    Great tips, Joe. Because I’m not a photographer, I don’t think about that, and that was a great tip.

    Can’t wait to see all your photos.