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It’s safe to say Geneva Vanderzeil knows a thing or two about taking a great photo. Founder of A Pair & A Spare, an online portal for stylish DIYs, how-to tutorials, and all things lifestyle, Geneva has 170,000 followers and counting on Instagram, all poring over her beautiful, perfectly composed imagery, documenting everything from travel experiences to home renovations and day-to-day life.

To help you step up your own Instagram photo-taking game, we asked Geneva to share her top tips for taking photos like an influencer. We’re taking notes.

1. Gather Your Inspiration

‘It always helps to have an idea in mind when you go to take a photo, and the more creative the idea is the better! Look online or in books and magazines for poses, composition and colour palettes that you like. And don't be afraid to experiment to find your own style — with so many photos being taken and shared every day, the best way to stand out is by doing something different or surprising,’ shares Geneva.

2. Find a Great Location

‘The days of posing against a blank wall are long gone — audiences love to see beautiful, engaging backgrounds. Take your time to find the right background for your photo by looking on Google Maps for locations, visiting lots of different places in your area and snapping some example photos so you know how the location will look. Location tags on social media are great for research too.’

3. Consider Your Wardrobe

‘What you wear in a photo will communicate a lot about the mood and place, and also your own personal style. Dramatic dresses and skirts that have a lot of movement are always a winner, but equally you might want to choose something a bit more casual and relatable if that's what your audience prefers. Consider how you’ll use props to further convey the mood or lifestyle of the shot. And always think about whether your outfit and the location will work together.’

4. Get the Timing Right

‘The secret to all those amazing influencer travel photos? Waking up at dawn to snap before the rest of the world wakes. It also pays to avoid the brightest part of the day, with dusk and dawn providing a more flattering light (also known as “golden hour”).’

5. Composition is Key

‘Composition is everything, and is essentially all about how you frame and lead people’s eyes through the image. Good composition is something you can experiment with regardless of how fancy (or not) your camera equipment is — an iPhone photo with great composition beats a poorly composed image taken on an expensive camera any day of the week! Easy composition tricks include using symmetry, a frame within a frame (for example an archway, window or doorway) or using the lines in an image to lead people's eyes towards the subject (like a road or avenue).’

6. Edit Like A Pro

‘Once you've snapped your picture, edit it to further set the mood and bring out the colours. Easy iPhone apps to use include VSCO cam, Snapseed and Afterlight. Crop the photo to get the best composition, and use tilt shift so that horizons and other dominant lines are straight. Consider choosing a few filters you can regularly apply to your photos to create consistency on your profile.’