The most Instagram-friendly cameras
Travel, food, family life… whatever you document, here are the best cameras for your feed
Whether you’re a budding photographer or a social-media pro, the camera you use can make all the difference. With more high-definition, lightweight, easy-to-use and Wi-fi compatible cameras around than ever before, the choice can be a bit overwhelming. These days, we are all capable of becoming good photographers if only we could find the equipment to suit our needs. So, what are the best options?
‘I believe in the saying, “The best camera is the camera you have on you”, ’ says professional photographer Katrina Campbell. ‘It’s really not about having the most expensive gear – it’s about spotting the opportunity, pressing the shutter and capturing the emotion.’ Campbell spent much of this year taking doorstep portraits during lockdown. ‘Some of my favourite photos are taken on an old iPhone XR, my Fuji X-T 100 or my trusty Nikon D800, and the photos I post on Instagram really reflect that – they’re a mixture of three different cameras.’
How to achieve those Insta gold shots? ‘My approach is the same whatever the camera,’ says Campbell. ‘Slow down and try to think lighting, composition and emotion before you click. Be consistent with your filter, adjust the angle to ensure the best composition, and finally put on a powerful crop. Something I’ve learned this year? Doorways are the ideal backdrop – not only do they offer individual features, flashes of colour and sometimes overhanging foliage, but they are a ready-made frame for people to position themselves within.’ Happy snapping.
A popular choice with Instagrammers, compact system cameras provide a lightweight and slightly easier-to-use alternative to the traditional DSLR. Models such as the Sony A600 and Canon Power Shot G7 also provide excellent vlogging opportunities thanks to exceptional quality video. ‘I use the Fuji’s Wi-fi connection to upload them straight to my phone so that I can share them instantly. Again, no messing around with filters or editing,’ says Campbell.
Carrie Santana da Silva, of travel, style and photography blog wishwishwish is also a Fuji fan. ‘I shoot exclusively with Fujifilm cameras after discovering their magic a few years ago,’ she says. ‘The colours they produce, as well as how easy they are to use, even for beginners is a major draw. If you want a compact camera that delivers beautiful shots, the Fuji X-T30 is the way to go. I edit everything for Instagram in Adobe Lightroom for mobile. It has the same powerful tools as its popular desktop version, and you can switch between the two seamlessly, making editing on the go a breeze.’
Keep it simple
Rebecca Lawson of Scandi interiors blog, Malmo & Moss whose stylish Instagram feed inspires more than 90,000 followers, reveals, ‘I use my iPhone 11 Pro for some things but also have a Olympus OM-D E-M10 that I absolutely love. I have two different lenses that I use depending upon whether I want a crisp wide shot or a softer close up. It is very easy to use and has some great modes you can play around with depending upon the subject you are shooting, whether that’s people or nature or landscapes. I use apps like Snapseed and VSCO to edit photos after I have shot them, adjusting the saturation, exposure and contrast.’
Compact digital cameras, also known as ‘point and shoot’ cameras, are a good choice for documenting on the go due to their reduced size. ‘Compacts can be split into three categories,’ explains Rebecca Atkinson, Partner and Junior Buyer, Audio & Imaging. ‘Entry level, which offers greater flexibility than a smartphone; super zoom, which provides great capability to get closer to the subject; and premium compact, which have larger sensor sizes and manual controls for more creativity.’
If you’re aiming for professional-level imagery for your blog or Instagram feed, consider getting to grips with a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR). ‘A DSLR is a camera body with an optical viewfinder built in,’ explains Atkinson. ‘This is where you can see the image through the lens via an internal mirror. This gives the photographer an exact representation of what they are shooting. DSLRs have a wide range of lenses available for maximum flexibility. This makes them the choice for professionals and for beginners wanting to take their hobby to the next level.’
‘My favourite camera is definitely my Nikon, which I use for all my family or commercial shoots, usually with a prime lens attached, either 35, 50 or 85mm,’ says Campbell. ‘No need to zoom in – I can simply move in close or stand further back. Its glass is just beautiful, giving me gorgeous light-filled images every time, even in pretty low light. I post these images frequently on Instagram with no filter, as the small amount of editing that I do in Lightroom is enough.’
With camera quality improving vastly over the past few years, many Instagrammers are now just using their mobile phones. The Google Pixel 4 boosts vivid colour, extremely rich details and the ability to take pictures in the dark without a flash. Rosanna Falconer, brand consultant and co-founder of FashMash says, ‘The Google Pixel transformed my content game. I use it for everything from my tablescapes to travel imagery. The abilities of Night Sight blow my mind every time. My favourite party trick is to show friends just how much of the evening can be captured with its intelligence. The sharpness and saturation of the imagery is a credit to how far smartphone technology has come. I then often use the Adobe Lightroom app to tweak the images to my tastes, adjusting exposure, contrast and colour.’
Like many other social-media pros, parenting blogger Courtney Adamo has stayed loyal to the iPhone. ‘I just use my iPhone 10,’ she says. ‘I can't be bothered taking photos on a camera and then uploading to my phone. And I know it's a silly consideration, but I like the quality of the photos on my feed to all look the same, so if I do put the occasional camera photo in there, it always looks out of place among the iPhone photos. I do use VSCO to edit my photos, usually increasing the exposure and sometimes the contrast.’
Main image: Getty Images