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How to Level-up Your Instagram Feed on Your Next Vacation

Here's your cheat sheet to earning those double-taps!
How to Level-up Your Instagram Feed on Your Next Vacation
IMAGE INSTAGRAM/pauline_juan
Here's your cheat sheet to earning those double-taps!

More and more, Instagram is becoming the go-to choice of intrepid travelers for insider advice on the places they want to visit. Pathport (@pathport), a start-up company which hopes people will use it to curate travel itineraries in the manner they use iTunes for music, has started selling e-books curated by some of Instagram's most inspiring travelers. Indeed one of the richest sources for travel tips can be found just by scrolling through geotags. Below, eight tips to producing and curating more engaging travel posts.

1. Always try to shoot in the best possible light. Instagram is a visual medium, and poor lighting conditions will result in grainy, unappealing photographs. If you're not happy with the photo, don't post it. Or if, for some reason, you are obliged to run it, do so on IG Stories or else delete it on a later date to preserve the look of your grid (more on that later).

2. Never judge a picture at first glance. Don't discount overly bright or dark photos because they might be saved through editing. I always dial down the highlights, and I find I get a much nicer image. Also play around with the brightness, contrast and saturation. If you've shot on landscape mode, check if cropping it into a square improves the composition and makes it more impactful. Flip the picture and/or rotate it just to check it you like that point of view more. 

3. Explore different angles when shooting. It gives your audience a new perspective on things. Shoot from the top or below, go for an extreme close up, or take it at a distance. Mind the rule of thirds when taking pictures, which means you need to make use of that grid on your camphone viewfinder to compose your shot. Utilize what is near you, like a flower vase or someone's shoulder as foreground. 

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Tip: Here's a proper tutorial on how to use the grid!

4. Introduce a human element into the picture. It brings a sense of scale and makes the post your own. As a fashion girl, mine your accessories: Shoot your cup of coffee while showing off your fabulous manicure and stacked rings, or your back (clad in an embroidered coat, of course) against a museum painting. Meanwhile, #shoefies work nicely with #ihavethisthingwithfloors.

5. For selfies and portraits, try not to position yourself right smack in the middle of the rule-of-thirds grid because it can look like a mug shot. Candid shots (or one that is a product from a burst) give off a certain charm. If you're posing, remember that lipstick always brightens up the face, and that a pair of shades can be your salvation. Someone once asked me why fashion girls were often photographed indoors, where there is no sun, in sunnies. The answer? Putting on your RayBans is easier (and quicker) than putting on makeup. If you can't be bothered, download a photo editing app like PhotoWonder, that can help you fix eye bags, blemish spots and age lines. Don't overdo it though; you might remove all expression on your face, and that looks fake. 

6. Edit for clarity; filter for drama. Don't use a filter to brighten photos. I always use the brighten tab on the edit function; the results, I believe, are more natural. Like I mentioned earlier, I like to tune my images, adjusting, aside from the brightness, the contrast, saturation, highlights, shadow, structure (especially handy when you want to bring out texture and dramatize grit) and sharpness. After editing, I apply the filter, though I only do so when all I have to work with is a grainy night shot. If you're partial to filters, stick to at most three kinds to keep your IG grid looking cohesive. 

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7. Consider the grid when deciding on the sequence of your posts. I'm extremely particular about how my grid is laid out. I mix up long shots with close ups and make sure there aren't too many faces or too much food in the grid. This is where using different angles makes a huge difference; it makes your grid look more dynamic because the pictures play off (instead of compete with) one another. 

8. Don't forget your captions. Rather than cut and paste googled information on the site, I like to inject what I learned or how I felt with basic tourist information because a personal account is always more engaging than a narration of facts.

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