It’s a fact. We’ve become hooked on photo-sharing social media sites, with images being the primary fuel for online content consumption. Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion of social networking platforms like Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram taking over the digital world, with text-only media becoming old news, fast. And with the number of active users on these sites rapidly growing in their millions, it’s easy to see how your content, personal or business, can get lost among the crowd.

So, how do you stand out? Well, we think that knowing a thing or two about taking a decent photograph definitely comes in handy. Whether you’re an avid photographer, or just love getting creative with your smartphone, we want to help you capture the most beautiful photos, no matter what your skill set.

Our Visual Content Producer, Jack, has put together a handy ‘Nine Step Guide’ to help you along the way. Cameras at the ready Instagrammers, it’s your time to shine.

Find your focal point.

It’s important to find an interesting focal point to draw the eye to. Whether that’s a person, plant or object in the foreground, or physical aspect towards the background, you can use the focal point to make your shot really attractive.

Try adding reflections.

Shooting on or near water? Depending on whether it’s still (e.g. a puddle), or moving (open sea) – looking for reflections to photograph can be really exciting. If you’re lucky enough to be somewhere with a low-setting sun, the reflections on water can add a lot of depth to your shot.

Mix up your shots.

You may feel more comfortable shooting landscape, but it can often make a much more interesting photo if you turn the camera 90 degrees and get a portrait shot. Whatever it is you’re shooting, make sure you capture a variety of angles.

Decide weather you should shoot.

Think about the shot that you want. Beautiful bright sunshine, moody and overcast, foggy and enchanting, or dark and rainy? They will all produce a completely different look and feel. Try photographing the same shot in all different conditions, you’ll notice things you may have missed before.

Capture movement.

(via James Williams, Head of Film and Content Production)

If you want to give your photo an element of movement, consider shooting with a slow shutter speed. This can give your shot a real element of drama. Whether that’s someone dancing, branches swaying in the wind, or gently rippling water.

Focus on the little details.

The beauty of photography is being able to look out for and capture those smaller, finer details. Keep an eye out for unique shapes and textures. Or, get up close to capture some beautiful natural detail that you’d miss with the naked eye.

Remember the rule of thirds (or don’t).

When photographing anything, be aware of your composition. There’s a general rule in photography that an image split into thirds is most pleasing to the eye. But Jack’s advice would be to break the rules and experiment with this as well. You never know what you might create.

Do your research.

If you’re planning a shoot, or just fancy capturing a few nice shots for your Instagram, do your research first and be aware of what light there will be and where, and consider how that might affect your photo.

Play around with lenses.

If you have the luxury of a range of lenses, or a lens with varying focal lengths, experiment with them, as going as wide as possible, or as close as you can doesn’t always provide the most interesting shot.

For some visual inspiration, take a look at Jack’s Instagram, where you’ll see all these pointers put into action. Or, you can see what we’ve been up to on Instagram here.

Happy snapping!