Blog header that says How to Stand Out on Instagram with Unique Instagram Photo Ideas.

How to Stand Out on Instagram with Unique Instagram Photo Ideas

Are you seeing lots of unique Instagram photos, but you’re not sure how to create your own? Or maybe you notice the same “Instagramy” pictures in your niche. I’m going to give you unique ideas on what to post on Instagram to get engaged followers.

The great news is that you don’t need a ton of money or a professional photoshoot to improve the quality of your photos. Ready to learn more? Here are three ways you can capture unique Instagram photos, plus a trick I use for perfect lighting every time.

#1 Selfies

There is no shortage of selfies on Instagram. But if it always seems like the lighting is dim, angles are off, or background is too busy then your selfie skills probably need some work.

One way to instantly improve the quality of your selfies is by finding a lot of light. If possible, try to take your selfies outside or facing a window. Unlike fluorescent or overhead lights, natural light brightens your photo without a yellow hue or unnatural glare.

Also, make sure to check behind you. What’s in the background of your photo? Are there posters or signs that don’t fit your branding? Go ahead and take them down or move. You don’t want anything in the background that can be a distraction. You should also keep an eye out for photobombers. They’re inevitable, but you don’t need to feature those photobombed photos on your Instagram account.

When you’re trying to perfect your selfie skills, there’s really no such thing as taking too many. Seriously, you will have to take a ton of pictures until you find the angle, lighting and poses that work best for you.

Try poses like:

  • Chin up
  • Chin down
  • Hold your phone higher
  • Pivot until you find the light

A really good example of someone who always shares #InstaPerfect selfies is Dominque Sache. As a YouTuber by day and news anchor by night, she’s always snapping high-quality selfies. She clearly knows her best angles and how to find the perfect lighting.


Dominique Sache tilts her head to the side as she takes a selfie in the front seat of her car.


#2 Styled Product Images

Whether you’re trying to take pictures of your products or just the items that inspire your business, you don’t want to just snap it and forget it. Interesting product shots require planning and creativity to capture the feeling you want to evoke from your followers.

Of course, flat lays are always a popular choice. They can be shot anywhere and can be as simple as emptying the contents of your purse or laying out the items in your desk drawer. Just remember, it’s about the narrative of the photo. Your photo can be simple, overstated or playful. You can also experiment with empty space to make your image more interesting.

Another fun way to style a product shot is by taking action. Try holding up the object in the air or arranging them in a color coordinated way. Whatever photo you decide, just like your selfies, you’re going to need to take a ton of pictures to find the perfect shot.

If you need inspiration for your product photos, take a look at #Bookstagram. This hashtag hub is brimming with beautiful photos that show how creative you can be when capturing product shots. You may even find that there’s a style that you want to incorporate in your next photoshoot.


A grid of the photos featured in the bookstagram hashtag hub.


#3 Event Pictures

Trying to capture beautiful photos at an event or conference can be really challenging. Think about it … you’re probably in a badly lit conference room or hotel. Unless you have a professional camera and the right lighting equipment, it’s going to be almost impossible to capture well lit, beautiful photos.

That’s why whenever I speak at a conference, I ask people to step outside with me or stand near a large window to snap a photo. By facing the natural light, I am adding brightness to my photos and minimizing any tinge of yellow from the overhead lights.

But what if you can’t step into the hallway? Or you get a photo with a speaker you love, but the quality isn’t great? Go ahead and share it in your Instagram Stories. You can even share it in your feed, just make it part of a carousel post and select a higher quality photo as your first image.

Other fun ways to capture the energy of a conference or event is by taking photos of your:

  • Badge
  • Program
  • Giveaway prize

For example, I share a #ShitTon of photos on my personal account when I’m speaking at conferences. Rather than getting together for a typical posed shot, I always encourage people to put energy into the photo. Sometimes that means throwing our hands up or laughing into the air. Whatever pose we strike, we want people to have serious FOMO when they see our pictures.


Sue B Zimmerman poses with a group of her students holding hashtag signs at the SMMW conference.


How to Capture Perfect Lighting Every Time

Here’s a trick if you’re in a pinch and need good lighting. Wrap a book or other flat object with tinfoil. Then you can use it like a reflector to capture the light. Seriously, try it! You’ll never take selfies in the same way again.


Sue B Zimmerman holds a book wrapped in tinfoil to capture a selfie.


Photos Are Just the Start. Here’s How to Craft the Perfect Caption

You might draw people in with your beautiful photos, but you can inspire them with your thoughtful Instagram captions. Let’s be honest, your Instagram captions should never be an afterthought. That’s why I created this FREE Copy + Paste Download. This resource gives you four creative format options for your captions and resources to share perfectly spaced captions right now.