Expert Instagram Photo Tips from Chris Burkard

Dozens upon dozens of press releases and PR pitches find their way into my inbox on the daily {Bless you, Unroll.me!} and I tend to glaze over the majority of them. But sometimes, a nugget of fun catches my eye….like this one!

I’m willing to bet that the majority of y’all are on Instagram, no?! {Come follow me!} And we’ve all seen the IG evolution over the past few years, with the photo-sharing site evolving from day-in-the-life photos to epic landscape scenery snaps. But how in the world do these photogs take those images?!

 I ask Will the same thing all the time. 

{Also: if anyone knows how to center an embedded IG photo, let me know. It is BEYOND me!}

Chris Burkard is one of these Insta-famous photogs. With over 1.7 million IG followers {yes, you read that number correctly}, his photography has obviously captured the attention of plenty of people. And why? Because his photos are unreal. I follow his account and enjoy every single photo, even when they are obviously staged and/or edited. The dude takes stunning pictures.Want to learn how to take stunning IG photos of your own? Burkard has some tips for us wannabe photographers in the world. Trust me; I’m taking notes, too.

  1. Add a human. Including a person in the foreground of your landscape shots is a great way to add perspective and a sense of grandeur to the surroundings.
  2. Own your style and keep it consistent. Burkard’s number one piece of advice is to find a style that speaks to you and perfect it, keeping it consistent so your followers can learn your niche.
  3. Embrace the mundane. Burkard says that even the most mundane travel moments can sometimes make for the best photos.
  4. Find something unique: When shooting a space – whether it be a restaurant or mountain range – Burkard says to look for what makes a place special, and focus on that. For example, those cute lanterns on a patio could make for a great pic.
  5. Lighting is key: The right lighting can make a bland subject come alive. Burkard says that the early morning or late evening are best, as things silhouette.
  6. Leverage hashtags and locations: Especially if you’re interested in building your follower base or increasing your posts’ likeness, Burkard says it’s important to make yourself discoverable.

Of course, I imagine these tips only work if you actually know how to use your camera, which is a step I’m currently working on myself. You see, I FINALLY BOUGHT MY OWN CAMERA!! Yup, I’ve stared at Will snapping photos long enough; it was time to purchase a big-girl camera.

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For those in the Northern Hemisphere, Milky Way season is upon us. The next few months will be the brightest and most visible it will be all year. There is countless bits of information out there on how to photograph this mind blowing celestial event – But I typically only look for a few things. . The darkest skies I can find. No light pollution, and very little moon If any at all. A shallow lens of F2.8 or less, a good tripod and camera with a long exposure setting. A decent star app will go a long way to help find the core of the Milky Way as well. ( which is the brightest part) . My camera of choice is a @sonyalpha A7SII – I usually pair it with a Sigma 24 f1.4 or a Zeiss 35 f1.4mm. . The hardest part is exposure. I try to limit it to about 10-15 seconds with a wide open Fstop. This freezes the stars making them sharp. – ISO for me ranges between 1600-12000 depending on available light. ( big range I know 😕) But there is no right or wrong way… Just shoot until there is nothing left to shoot. 👌🏼

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I still stuck with a point-and-shoot rather than DSLR, largely because I don’t want to deal with the size and weight of a bulkier camera. In the end, I opted for the Canon G7X Mark II, a camera that was recently released. I took it out on this weekend’s backpacking adventure and I’m already in love!

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Stay tuned for more snaps from my OWN lens!

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3 Comments

  • Reply Allie at

    Just wow. And OMG wow. So amazing!

  • Reply Christy@ My Dirt Road Anthem at

    Great tips and amazing pics!

  • Reply Kristen at

    These tips are great! I had a conversation with a photographer friend of mine the other day about adding humanity to our pictures and how just placing a person or a piece of human creation in an image adds so much to the story. It’s one thing to see pictures of an incredible place, but when you see someone is there or had been there, that place becomes mysterious but reachable…and you can’t help but wonder what took that person there!

    Can’t wait to see more of your pictures 🙂

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