How to Have a Better Instagram Feed Without Trying Too Hard

There are many editors with impressive Instagram feeds across our business, and lucky for us, one of the U.S. team’s most dedicated Instagrammers has let us in on how she creates her feed. If you’ve ever wanted to have a more polished output, L.A.-based managing editor Kristen Nichols (@kristenmarienichols) is the girl to learn from.

“I think the best way to get started is to experiment shooting and editing photos on your phone,” she tells us. “You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment these days since iPhones shoot such great photos and there are so many apps with amazing editing capabilities.” (A very, very important piece of advice for any of you looking to up your Insta game).

From a series of incredible shots while holidaying in Italy (her dad took many of the fantastic pics you’ll see—more on that being a winning instructional process below) to daily outfit snaps in a mirror, Kristen shares her top tips for not only capturing and editing fabulous images but also learning how to strategise the curation behind your feed. Prepare for the best Instagram lessons of your life…

Candid Snaps Are Definitely the Fashion-Girl Favourite

“Though I have plenty of posed photos on my Instagram, my favourites are always the imperfect snapshot-style pictures that look candid and natural. To get a candid shot worthy of Instagram, I often look to photographers for ideas—I’m forever inspired by ’90s editorials like the ones of Claudia Schiffer and Yasmeen Ghauri shot by Arthur Elgort and Marc Hispard. In the images, I noticed that they often catch in-between moments (reaching inside a bag or walking across a street), so I always ask the person I’m shooting with to capture a range of action shots for a candid effect.”

Find Your Pose, and Don't Be Afraid to Stick With It

“When I shoot more posed photos, my go-to position is standing with feet more than hip-width apart and one foot slightly forward, which makes my legs look extra long. Then, I’ll look straight at the camera or turn my head to the side. I originally found the pose when trying to shoot a tricky pair of wide-leg pants and now it’s become one of my favourite poses.”

Don't Worry About Changing Your Mind and Aesthetic

“One of my favourite things about Instagram is how it allows you to refine your personal aesthetic—both through the evolution of your own photos and the discovery of content from the people you’re following. I view my aesthetic as ever-evolving and love being inspired to shift my perspective. The process of experimenting helped me become more confident in my personal voice.”

If Nothing Else, You Need to Know a Bit About Good and Bad Lighting

“Lighting is the number one thing I consider before I take a photo. I typically like to shoot in natural daylight (avoiding harsh direct sunlight) or with a flash for a little more dimension.”

Editing Your Own Photos Isn't OTT—Everyone Does It!

“I’m a huge fan of VSCO filters and use them to edit most of my photos. The film filters (like the Kodak series) are especially cool. I studied film photography during high school and used to develop my own photos in the darkroom, so I love the look of images shot on 35mm film. VSCO’s filters mimic some of the popular films that predate digital.”

Some Outfits Do Photograph Better Than Others…

“While I tend to wear a lot of neutrals, I’ve learned how well outfits with colour pop in photographs, which has actually made me feel more confident wearing bold shades.”

Post Regularly

“I try to post once a day. I think posting regularly is important to keep your audience engaged.”

Trust Your Gut When It Comes to Sharing

“If I’m excited about a photo or video I’ve shot and want to share it immediately, I know it’s something I want to post on my feed.”

Get Your Mirror Selfie Sorted

“The trick? A great mirror with a great background. I love shooting in giant mirrors where the focus is your outfit or a cool room in the reflection, or ornate mirrors like gilded French ones that instantly make the photo interesting. As with every photo I shoot, lighting is the number one thing I consider, so it always works best to shoot a mirror that is outside, facing a window, or one that has great vanity lights.”

Learn How to Instruct Others to Take Your Picture

“Whether it’s a friend or a person on the street, I usually set up the shot in advance when I have someone else helping me take a picture. I know the background and angle ahead of time and show them where to hold my phone before shooting, so I end up with the photo I envisioned.”

Next up, what colours to wear together.

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