This week, Instagram announced a bevy of updates including new, brightly-colored gradient icons and an app refresh that "puts more focus on your photos and videos without changing how you navigate the app."
While dedicated users duke it out whether or not they like the new look, we thought it'd be a better to embrace change by going back to the app's basics: taking beautiful, eye-catching photos. Here are three easy tips for creating the most gorgeous photos for your Instagram account...
1. Use your phone's Square view setting
Although Instagram's feed now allows you to post images with different proportions, the app has typically favored square photos. (The same goes for Facebook, which owns Instagram.)
Before taking your photo, toggle to the Square setting in your phone's camera. This will help you get a better idea of the image composition with these proportions, and then, of course, you won't need to crop the photo when you open it in the app.
2. Wipe off your camera lens
This 2-second trick is a game changer! With everyday use, your phone's lens gets covered with fingerprints, dust, and whatever else is floating around in the bottom of your purse. You might not even notice it, but this layer of grime can cause your photos to look blurry, discolored, or distorted.
Before you take your picture, simply use your shirt or another soft cloth to wipe off your lens. You will notice a difference!
3. Edit your photo; don't filter
Filters can be fun and evoke a certain aesthetic or vibe. But for the most stunning photos that keep your subject's true colors intact, you'll want to opt to tweaking your photo using Instagram's editing tools.
Use contrast and brightness to subtly adjust the lighting for bolder hues, and for an overall color composition that pops. Another pro tip is to increase the warmth of your photo by about 10 points. This helps boost the intensity of the color in your photos without making them look overly altered; unlike the saturation setting, which may make your photos look more rendered than reflecting real-life beauty.
Bonus tip: For a post that'll truly stand out, quickly create a moving image with an external app. There's Instagram's Boomarang, and the more niche PHHHOTO. But a Lisa Hoffman favorite for moving posts is 5sGIF. Simply download the gif as an mp3 file to upload to Instagram as a video; the app will render the video so it loops automatically, like a gif.
Be sure to follow Lisa Hoffman on Instagram for more photography inspiration, fragrance, and wanderlust. Above: Melissa wears our sterling silver Voyager fragrance necklace in front of the Paul Smith Pink Wall in West Los Angeles.