1. Take every photo of a plated meal from above, with the phone at least 3 feet from the subject.
2. Use natural light as often as possible to improve the quality of your photo.
Even if you're inside with dim lighting, face a window to get as much natural light as possible.
3. Speaking of natural light, Instagram your breakfast or lunch instead of dinner.
According to , a Brooklyn-based food photographer, restaurants are more likely to rely on natural light in the morning and midday. Artificially lit food photos are almost always #Instafails.
4. If you must Instagram your pizza in a dark restaurant, use someone else's iPhone flashlight to light the dish.
If you really want to get fancy, ask your friend to hold her iPhone flashlight at a 45-degree angle above the food and bounce it off the back of a white menu to brighten both sides of the food.
5. Add in blue tones whenever possible to get .
One study found that red- and orange-tinted photos receive the fewest likes, but photos that are blue receive more. Sky pics and ocean photos are everything.
6. Make a cleaner caption or bio by copying and pasting text with line breaks from Notepad.
You can't make a line break directly in Instagram, but if you want to have a more intriguing bio or caption that requires one, copy and paste your caption (line breaks included) into Instagram.
7. Don't over-edit your selfies.
Photos of your face are , so selfie on, but make sure you still look like yourself (because you're beautiful!). Use an editing tool like to blur out a pimple with a spot-treatment technique, where you tap on the blemish to remove it. Avoid smoothing out your entire face to the point that you lose the lines and curves that make you, well, you.
8. Use the application to figure out the best time of day for you to post depending on when your followers are most engaged.
Iconosquare is free and provides various insights to help you get the most followers and likes.
9. Focus on one specific object in a photo with the camera, not with Instagram's blur tool.
Manually tap on your camera screen to decide what the main focus should be, then take your photo. This looks less heavily edited and much more professional.
10. Whenever you slap on a filter, tone it down a bit.
More isn't more — it makes your image look fake. So when you sharpen, increase contrast, and increase saturation of colors, make sure the final product looks normal (and delicious if it's edible). For instance, you've seen a green apple before. But you've never seen ones that look neon green:
11. Utilize hashtags on Instagram that will increase your chances of getting regrammed, which will lead to more followers.
These give you a prompt on what you should be posting and the opportunity for your photo to be seen by millions of Instagram users.
12. When photographing something in low light, ensure your HDR function is turned on.
With HDR turned on, you're much less likely to have a grainy, junky photo. To turn on HDR, open your camera application and on the top of the screen, select "HDR" and then hit on. Once it's on, the HDR button turns yellow.
13. When taking a photo, hold your phone 100% upright (or exactly perpendicular to the subject when taking a overhead photo).
When you're holding your phone upright, the subject of the photo will appear clearer and it will look much more professional.
14. Don't use a filter at all.
#NoFilter! Try Instagram's other editing tools to brighten, enhance contrast, saturate, and sharpen. In the below picture, the left photo is too filtered. On the right, though, the photo is lightened, brightened, and sharpened.
15. Edit a photo without posting it by turning your phone on Airplane Mode.
Hit "post," and nothing will upload but the edited photo will save to your camera roll. This enables you to use Instagram solely as an editing tool, if you want, or just space out your posts.
With reporting by Elizabeth Narins.