From Instagrammer to Illgrammer: Photography Resources for Beginners [PHOTOS]

So you’ve signed up for an Instagram account.

Now what?

Maybe you have yet to post your first photo. Or maybe you’re ready to take your feed to the next level. Either way, there are a ton of resources out there to help you and today I’m going to share some of my personal faves.

When I started out back in 2013, this photo marked my not-so-triumphant arrival on the Gram:


@letmosy: humble beginnings

I’ve since deleted it off my feed in a fit of shame but on the plus side, I had nowhere to go but up. Since then, photography has become a real passion of mine and I’ve progressed from total newb to a solid amateur/hobbyist (if I do say so myself).


I still enjoy cupcakes, I just photograph them less often.

So, where did I start?

With a camera and a good eye.


They say in the photography world that the best camera is the one that you have with you. If you’re one of the 3 in 4 Canadian adults who owns a smartphone then you basically already have everything you need to start taking the Instagram world by storm.

Personally, I started out with a Samsung Galaxy S3 and shot with that for about a year. Once I decided I really did enjoy photography and wanted to have more control over my photos (exposure and ISO and shutter speed and all that fun stuff), I upgraded to the LG G4. After another year of mobile shooting, I took the leap and bought what I like to call a “real” camera: the Fujifilm X-T10.

All this to say, just start with what you’ve got and worry about upgrading later.

blog-post-1-photo-3     Processed with VSCO with j6 preset     blog-post-1-photo-5(Left to right: photos taken with my Galaxy S3, LG G4, and X-T10)


There’s a saying in the film industry that you can make a bad movie out of a good script but you can’t make a good movie out of a bad script. I think the same holds true for a photo: you can crappily filter and edit a good photo but no amount of filtering can save a bad photo (believe me, I’ve tried!)

Better photos will lead to better results on Instagram and there’s more than enough info out there to get you killing it in no time.

Skillshare: the site describes itself as “a learning community where anyone can discover, take, or even teach a class.” So, it’s basically creative people teaching other people how to be more creative. I personally love it. It does require a subscription ($12/month) but you can get a free trial month right off the bat. If you don’t want to pay full price once the trial’s up, you just have to remember to cancel your membership before it ends.

The photography stream has tons of great classes but three that I especially love are:

Street Photography: Capture the Life of Your City by trashhand

This is a class by Chicago-based photographer trashhand and he covers everything from planning your shoot to editing your photos. For me, the big take away was seeing how he looked at the world around him and learning how to hone my eye.

Outdoor Photography: Shooting at Sunset, Sunrise, and Night by Chris Burkard

I lean towards the landscape photography side of things and California-based photographer Chris Burkard is an absolute beast! This class was just a great introduction to the adventurous side of photography and that all important aspect of finding your light.

Food Photography: Shooting in 5 Styles by Leela Cyd

Even if you’re not much of a foodie, this class by editorial and commercial food photographer Leela Cyd is awesome. It’s a quick and simple way to understand how small changes can totally alter the mood and feel of a photo and I think the lessons easily translate into other areas of photography.

Newsletters: a simple way to bring new tips and techniques straight to your inbox is by subscribing to a few photography-related newsletters. I personally subscribe to Artifact Uprising for great photography tips from top photographers, A Color Story for inspiration and app tutorials, and Chris Burkard for amazing visuals and some great gear guides.

Follow, follow, follow: finally, follow blog-post-1-saved-postsphotographers on Instagram who inspire you. Fill your feed with the subjects and styles you love. If you read a lot or own a dog/cat/cute creature or love fashion or love food or build/create things or spend your days laying around, wrapped in a Hudson’s Bay blanket drinking fancy hot beverages, there is a place for you on Instagram.

I like to use the new Saved Posts feature as a collection of inspirations or shots/techniques/angles to try. It might also help you to hone in on what subjects interest you the most and what kind of overall vibe you’ll want to eventually create with your feed.


Hopefully some of these resources resonated with you but in the end there’s no better way to learn photography than to get out and shoot. Next time, I’ll delve into the wonderful world of digital editing apps but for now, I’d love to connect with you over on Instagram (@letsmosy). And if you have any amazing feeds to follow or photography resources to share, please let me know in the comments below! I’m always on the lookout for more tips and tricks.

Until next time, happy Instagram-ing!

facebook Take your photos to the next level. [Facebook Link: From Instagrammer to Illgrammer: Photography Resources for Beginners (PHOTOS)]

twitterbird_rgb Want to go from an Instagrammer to an Illgrammer? Check out my fave #photography resources for beginners:

6 thoughts on “From Instagrammer to Illgrammer: Photography Resources for Beginners [PHOTOS]

  1. First, I love that you dropped your Instagram handle into the post. It’s awesome to add a face to the post, as well as gives you the opportunity to showcase that you know what you are talking about (not that I ever doubted that you didn’t)! I also love that you started off right at the basics: having a phone is a great way to photograph anything, and you don’t need to be an expert photographer to use it. Obviously with more practice, and knowledge your photos will improve their content and quality. I also enjoyed that you gave some other references on how to improve photography skills. It’s nice to get a variety of “teachers” if you will. Because at the end of the day each person has their own unique style. But learning from a variety of people will help you determine which style you like best. I am by no means an expert photographer, I am definitely on a beginner level. But I though this was a great, down to earth post about where you came from, and what you did to get to where you are now!

    • Thanks so much, Emily! I definitely agree with finding a bunch of different teachers. Not only does it help you find your own style, but they all have at least one tip that you never would’ve heard elsewhere. Instagram can seem daunting at first but it’s been such a rewarding platform for me!! Have a great night 🙂

  2. Hi Maureen. Great blog! I have been trying to help my daughter find different places to go to find inspiration and helpful hints to get started in her pursuit of her dream. She intends to be a National Geographic photographer when she grows up (she’s 12). She is really good at finding the picture in things that one would normally overlook. But sometimes she lacks inspiration. Thanks for your insight! I haven’t really ever looked at Instagram as a place of inspiration. I’ve only ever seen it as a place to post your pictures to enjoy with you family and friends. Thanks again!

    • Thank you so much! That’s so awesome that your daughter wants to be a NatGeo photographer! Finding inspiration can definitely be tough though. For me, posting a picture every day for a year was a way to push my style and made me try out more things. I also started to see the patterns in what I liked to shoot so you kind of start having “fall back” photos that you can shoot in different seasons or settings.

      I know I’m a little Skillshare obsessed, but as soon as I heard of NatGeo I thought of this class: by Michael Yamashita, a NatGeo photographer. He has interesting tips for sure. The other person I would suggest is Finnish photographer Konsta Punkka – he’s more wildlife but his ideas can be applied in your own backyard!

      His instagram feed is pretty amazing, too –
      or just @kpunkka

      I wish your daughter the best of luck!!

      • Thanks so much for the tips Maureen!! I really appreciate you taking the time to point me in the right direction!! We got her a camera for her birthday next month so here’s hoping she will learn something from your pointers!!

  3. Pingback: The Tao of Instagram: My IG Philosophy – Algonquin College Social Media Certificate Program

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.