I notice that not all of my friends take photos and post them regularly on their Instagram during their daily life, but all of them usually always do while traveling. I rarely find someone who doesn’t love sharing their travel photos, so I’m guessing you do too. After all if you walk into a lush tropical rainforest, but don’t Instagram it, did it really happen? (that didn’t sound as philosophical as I thought it would, but anyway, moving on.)

I do treat my instagram as a photo gallery, that means only posting good quality photos over a shitload of mediocre ones. Ok confession, there are times when some bad selfies would swim around in between (the narcissistic ego trip that’s usually followed by a mass deletion after a week).

I know that there’s no such thing as “The Foolproof Ways to Gain 1000 New Followers” or “Getting a Hundred Likes on Your Next Photo” and frankly I do not care much about that. This post are not about that. Don’t get me wrong, I love instagram so much, but mainly because I can freely display my work anytime anywhere, and of course the fact that I have made lots of new friends there. On this post however, I’m going to write about how to take your travel posts to the next level … for your own satisfaction. And ok, it might bring you more double taps but really there’s no harm in that 😉

Let’s start,

Use the right camera

Some instagrammers swear by their #iphoneonly and all their pictures look insanely beautiful (just how do they do that??) I’ve done a research on this topic and many bloggers advise that “the best camera is the one you have with you the whole time… a.k.a your phone.” Sure, the built in camera in your smartphones nowadays takes great quality images, and they are designed to be efficient and easy to use. However they do lack one important thing: Manual Control, thus the usage is somewhat limited.

Take for example you want to take a close up shoot of a flower, and you want the trees on the background to be completely melting in a pleasing blur. You have to use the phone’s optical zoom that might reduce the quality of your images. Or in another situation, you want to have a sharp, detailed photo taken in a low light situation. Some smartphones can’t perform well under this condition because there’s no manual control on speed, aperture and ISO. And don’t get me started on the lens distortion.

And then you have the DSLR and mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses. These are the options you should consider if you want to take your photos to the next level because of the full manual controls. The big advantage on the mirrorless camera is that it can be much smaller and lighter as a result, which makes it perfect for traveling. Also they have the built in wi-fi connection that allows you to transfer the images straight your phone. Efficient much?

Edit your photos

Photo editing apps is probably the most powerful tool to enhance your images. I do swear by VSCOcam filters and if you haven’t got it yet, you have missed the greatest photo editing app ever made for smartphones. It’s free and the filters create different mood on every photo. My favorite is A6 and C7 (tip: always reduce the filter by 3-4 points to keep the crispness of your images)

Tips: Check out my editing guides with VSCO here.

Also check out: SKRWT for correcting all the line distortions and Snapseed for adjusting the exposures and contrast.

Selfie Game Strong

For starters, please do not use your front camera to take travel selfies for all the obvious reasons, the first one being the distance from your arm to the phone. I do not own a selfie stick and I personally have no problems with them (But I do have problems with tourists who walk around while fixating on their sticks and blindly hitting people with it). If you’re traveling solo and don’t have your friends to help you snap some holiday pictures, do:

  • ask for help to get your picture taken; find another tourist with a camera if possible.
  • use your phone camera timer (your phone will be outside your reach, so make sure you place it somewhere safe)
  • when using your camera, mount it on a tripod or place it on a flat surface, and do make use of your wi-fi remote on your phone.

Geotag the location

The benefits of Geotagging can actually be really valuable if it’s used properly. Geotagging is a process of adding ‘geographical information metadata‘, i.e. location data (latitude, longitude, etc.) to a media, and this useful feature is needed by lots of people (me) who want to research for more information and photos of the location they want to visit. Tip: you might generate more likes on your photo by geotagging a popular location to your photo than putting tons of annoying unnecessary and unrelated hashtags.

Be Selective

Keep a maximum of three photos of a similar subject. If you happen to love the subject/location so much that you end up wanting to post more than ten, separate them by posting some other images as a “break”; or save them to upload a few weeks later for a #TBT when you’re stuck in work/home without any worthy pics to post.

Have a variety of photos

You can do the mainstream ways (#flatlay, #handsinframes, #fromwhereistand, #ihaveathingwithfloors, what else is hip nowadays?), nobody will judge you; or you can come up with your own original ideas (and set up a new trend!). The point is, when telling a story about a particular location sometimes it’s better to have a variety of subjects rather than posting only landscapes or only selfies (yes, there is such thing as too many selfies).

The Thumbnail Grid Layout

For so many years I’ve been struggling to make my feed look as beautiful as the other instagrammers I follow. Their feed always look so clean and organized while mine looked messy and cluttered. After awhile I realised my mistake. I love bright, colorful images and lots of details on my photos, I don’t stick to the same color tone when posting and having all of those photos displayed next to each other just equals to Visual Mess.

I finally found a way to overcome this: by planning my posts in advance. I use a visual planner app (there are a few apps you can use as you can see above; I am using Snug.) which allows me to preview how the images will look next to each other before I post them. This has resulted in a far more visually pleasing feed because I can color coordinate my photos. Example: After posting two very richly detailed shots, I will post one simpler photo with a clean space next to them to give a visual breathing room for the eyes. Of course almost everything I post will be #lateposts, but really guys, it’s better late than ugly.

Find more Photography Tips & Guides here.


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Dear ka Nicole, thank you so much for sharing. Just like you, I’ve been struggling to make my feed look beautiful. I wanna use only one color for my feed background,but somehow I just couldn’t. Then I read this journal few days ago and it helped me so much. I also read other tips you shared on your journals. Thank you so much.
p.s I love your feed on instagram a lot.


Thank you Debby 🙂 glad they helped!


Halo kak Nicole,
Would you have any recommendation for cameras that are easy to use, take great pictures, and affordable?
thank you <3


aaa thanks for recommendation about grid apps

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