I saw a statistic the other day that said 2bn images are uploaded to social media every day – and I’d say the vast majority of those have had some serious filtering applied. We are officially living in the age of digitally enhanced beauty, and if you haven’t got the skills to make yourself or your brand photogenic, you’re missing out on those ego-boosting hearts and thumbs up icons.

Instagram filters have become our electronic blusher and mascara and as much as I really dislike the narcissism this new age brings, it’s had a really exciting effect on beauty and fashion.

The speed of social gives us constant ideas, so beauty and fashion in particular is moving faster than ever. I follow lots of magazines (that I used to buy), bloggers and beauty and fashion brands on Instagram now, and take my inspiration from their daily shots. Seeing so many changing images has made me want to try out new looks – and buy into the brands that publish them. Marks and Spencer’s images on Instagram, for example, are brilliant and make me want to rush to buy them…but then when I get to their more professional website and see the products without the creative Instagram backgrounds and on professional models, I feel a bit disappointed.

I also saw a jacket on the ASOS website once that I just flicked over during a mindless search – but when it came up on their Instagram feed a few days later, draped over a cool chair in a cool studio with a well worded caption about hanging out with the denim jacket of dreams, I immediately went to buy it.

That’s the power of Instagram. It’s the champion of behind-the-scenes images where people can document their lives in a pretty way and we feel part of it all – edited, nonetheless, but at least we can see Victoria Beckham crack a smile pretending to wear no makeup and comment on it or like it like she’s our friend.

Fashion and beauty brands are leading the way with more and more perfectly styled, beautifully lit, well placed images, taken by the latest DSLR camera – but the people of Instagram have spoken and that’s kind of what we want (just not too perfect, it’s a fine balance). We see it with our clients; the professional shots get a lot more likes than the (even heavily edited) ones taken on a phone.

Curating a strong visual content strategy is so key to a brand’s success on social media now and creating the right types of images and video, professionally, is an area where we can help. However, for any budding photographers out there who want to improve their selfies or pictures of their avocados or cats, we’ve put together this quick guide to getting the best images for social media on your phone:

1. Set your exposure
Especially if it’s bright and your subject is lit from behind. Just tap on the screen, hold down for a second and you can change and lock the exposure of your photo, brightening or darkening it using the sun icon.

2. Grid lock
No one wants a wonky line. Go to settings, photo and switch on Grid and you can line things up perfectly.

3. A helping hand (or app)
Some free apps worth downloading to make your pictures perfect are:
• Snapseed – Easy to use editing tools for exposure, sharpness and contrast.
• Priime – An app that’s been developed with styles created by photographers. It even tells you which style would work best with your image.
• VSCO Cam – Great filters and colours, some free, some available to buy.
• Touch Retouch – When you get a cool shot, but someone’s photobombing you in the corner? Yeah that. This app is like Photoshop on your phone so you can wipe those nasties out.

4. Don’t flash me
Flash lights don’t show things at their best, fact. If it’s too dark just don’t take one – or if you have to, use Cortex Cam, good for shooting in low light conditions.

5. People in front of things can look a bit weird
But make them look great by seeking out colour or pattern in the background, and if they’re wearing a light outfit, put them against dark and vice versa. Taking from above also is more flattering.

6. Go incognito
If you want to apply Instagram filters to your photos and save them in your Camera Roll before uploading them onto other channels, just put your phone on Flight Mode while you work your magic so they don’t upload to Instagram while you try and test. Voila!

If you need a hand with your visual content strategy, just get in touch! hello@contentsoup.co.uk