There are two quintessential elements of any post on Instagram. The first is the image or picture. It may also be a video. The second is the caption. The other elements such as the timing of the post, the target audience and the nature of engagement you seek constitute a different ballgame. At the crux of every best Instagram post is an amazing picture with a great caption. We shall focus on these two facets to help you make the best Instagram post.
Finding & Capturing the Perfect Shot (Image or Video)
Taking that perfect photo or shooting that perfect video can be elusive if you don’t know the tricks of the trade. There are always some creative elements that will vary but most of photography or cinematography is about technicalities. Master the techniques and you will always have a pleasant image or video to at least consider. The experts can find amazing pictures or videos in the most mundane of circumstances and in instances where others wouldn’t see anything special. Here are a few tips to capture the perfect picture or video.
Know what you intend to record or shoot. You cannot be aimless. Be willing to explore and be open to surprises. However, you should have a certain degree of clarity pertaining to your subject, the setting, the aesthetics and the emotional connection that the image or video will eventually establish.
Do not confine yourself to what is working well on Instagram. People can like or dislike any photo. There may be trends with strong indications but they are transient. The users on Instagram do not have any fixations. They will like images and videos that are intriguing or satiating enough. There is no golden rule dictating you can or cannot shoot something in a certain way.
Always use as much natural light as possible. Any professional photographer worth her salt will tell you that lighting is the most quintessential element. Fancy lenses, state of the art hardware and multipurpose software, all such ingredients will influence the eventual dish but the recipe largely relies on lighting and how it affects the subject in your frame. There is no ideal time to shoot. It depends on what intend to shoot. Light plays differently from region to region and at various times of the day. Some places have amazing mornings while some have splendid afternoons and other places have indelible sunsets. There are cities that look unforgettable at nights and barely tolerable through the day. Use light in its most splendorous form.
Photographers who started with point and shoot cameras graduated with smartphones and mastered editing software before understanding focus, aperture or shutter speed have a tendency to think of an image or video from the perspective of what can be done at the post-production or how the viewer would perceive it. The best images in the world are not edited. They are not captured bearing in mind how the viewer would respond. The best pictures are first observed, by the photographer and not with her camera but through her naked eyes. Touchup and brush-up, edits and enhancements come later. First, focus on what you see and how best you can take a picture or shoot a video.
An image or video must have a point of interest. It must entice a viewer to be drawn in. There are many ways to have a captivating point of interest. Moments work wonders to draw the viewer in. Strong lines, shapes, and colors can do the trick. At times it could be the edit effects. Using light in interesting ways, capturing subjects or objects from unconventional places and at unexpected angles, use of props, interesting use of white space, multiple elements and layers in the image will help it to be a standout. It is not easy to master all these. Every tip shared here will be hard to execute but that is what it takes to make the best Instagram post.
Conceiving the Perfect Caption
There is no standard or universal definition of perfect caption. Most people and especially social media wizards will agree that a perfect caption is one that establishes the context, intrigues the audience, expresses the personality of a brand or individual and prompts the followers or viewers to like and possibly comment. There are too many variables in these otherwise simple attributes that must be addressed. A caption can be one phrase or a dozen phrases, there can be one hashtag or a dozen, the whole caption can end up being a paragraph or a miniature story in itself.
Create a caption bearing in mind the type of audience you are targeting. The choice of words, the length, use of hashtags and other elements must be appealing to your audience, not any random audience. Men and women have different preferences, so do kids and adults and there are many such distinctions.
A caption can have a formal or casual tone. There should be a clear reference to the post. The context must be established. The length should be apt for your target audience. The choice of words should adhere to the overall branding strategy. There should be a clear call to action if it is relevant.
Don’t expect everyone to read long captions so use the most significant words right at the beginning. Write dozens of versions of the same caption and then rewrite them to come up with the best one. Caption writing is more like copywriting. It is a clever play on words so you never know what you can come up with as you experiment with different terms, phrases or construction and even how you punctuate a long caption.
Use clever or appealing hashtags. Don’t overdo it. Try to evoke a response or thought with your caption. Use emoji if it is suitable. Do not shy away from tagging some people who are relevant in the scheme of things or have contributed to the post in some way. Use quotes if you want.