When Instagram originally launched in 2010 it was only available for iOS users, and the social network only became accessible to Android users a whopping 2 years later in 2012. Fast forward another 4 years and it looks like Apple might be taking the power back once again with the iPhone 7 Plus’ abilities for photography. Having said that, the abilities of the newer Samsung mobiles are also right up there. And so the iOS/Android war continues… we’ll let you decide!

The quality of the images one can expect to find on Instagram is one of the things that makes the platform so great. Photos and videos that blend together to create a sea of beautiful imagery in a feed has become the unspoken rule of Instagram, so prepare to watch your engagement rate plummet if you make the mistake of posting a sub-par photo.

So the bar is already high, and it could be about to get even higher with the arrival of the iPhone 7 Plus and its brand new photography mode which is in testing at this very moment. “Portrait” mode will make it possible for users to take professional looking photos with minimal effort, thanks to a second camera lens in the back of the device.

How does it work?

Portrait mode works by giving an impression of depth to your photo by guiding you to the perfect position in the seconds leading up to the actual taking of the picture. The camera will tell you to either get closer or further away from the subject to activate “Depth Effect” and will also guide you to get the perfect conditions for your photo (ex: get more light).

The blur that appears in the background when you take a photo using “Depth Effect” is also visible on the screen before you tap the screen to take the photo, giving you the flexibility to adjust the effect as much as you wish before committing.

Here is an example of the difference between a normal photo and a photo taken in Portrait mode:

Image credits: Macworld

As you can see, the background is blurred, meaning the subject in the foreground jumps out at the viewer and appears more obviously as the focus of the image. The whole photo just looks more professional – edited, even.

I mean, can you believe this photo was taken with a mobile?!

Image credits: Macworld

We’re probably doing Apple’s job here and making you want to go out and buy an iPhone 7 Plus… But the point we’re trying to make here is completely Instagram-focused.

What does this mean for Instagramers?


Immediately? Nothing. But we consider this easy quality in a smartphone something to take note of for the future of Instagraming. This kind of quality is extremely Instagram-friendly, and therefore the standard of photos is something that serious Instagramers will definitely be hungry for. Basically, you’re going to want to take extra care when selecting the images you upload to Instagram, because competition is likely to get tougher and tougher when this feature goes live and rival brands bring out their versions.

Don’t forget the posts with the best engagement are the ones that Instagram privileges and moves to the top of the news feed. Lower than average quality images are unlikely to meet the engagement specifications to be bumped up to the top, so the quality of your posts is definitely something to watch out for!

Top tips for stunning Instagram photography

If you’re taking your photo with a mobile, there are a few ways you can guarantee yourself a better composition and quality of photo. Here are three quick checks you can make to ensure yourself the best possible outcome:

Respect the rule of thirds
Using the grid function on your smartphone camera can help you to get a grip on the rule of thirds (3 vertical columns, 3 horizontal rows). Placing eye-catching parts of your image in any of the 9 squares helps to balance out your photo and allows it to be easily contemplated by the viewer.

Watch out for lighting and contrast
Getting the perfect light can make your photo, and getting the wrong lighting can break it. If you’re planning on editing your photo after taking it, you can probably get away with less than great lighting and contrast, but it’s best to get the balance spot on from the start.

Feel free to edit your image
Gone are the days when editing your photos was seen as “cheating”. Nowadays, everyone’s using filters, boosting contrast and smoothing over. Instagram’s editing tools are actually brilliant, so don’t be afraid to make the most of them to give your photo that professional, clean-cut look!

Our final word

Although smartphones are a great, easy way to take your photos for Instagram, there are so many other possibilities if you’re having a hard time getting the angle/focus/quality right with your mobile. Try free stock photos or pay for them if you have specific needs. You can also experiment with using tools like Canva to add text to your images or even use a template image and customize it to make it your own.

Thanks for reading! We hope this article was helpful and would love to hear your feedback and personal experiences!

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