Ways to maximize your Instagram while studying abroad

Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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Your online presence matters more than usual when you spend a semester studying in a country abroad. Friends and family from back home only see tiny glimpses of your new life through a trickle of posts on social media. Make sure to let them know you’re living your life to the fullest. From a girl who took a social media course, here’s a how to guide on how to be basic on Instagram when you’re abroad.

1. Consciously curate your feed

Every picture on your Instagram should speak to another, whether it be through color or content. Try to curate each picture carefully to uphold basic design principles in your attempt to imitate official, verified Instagram accounts.

2. Pick an angle

Some people want to post stunning landscape shots of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, while others want to create the illusion that they’re always on vacation in Thailand. Whichever theme you decide to go with, make sure you keep it consistent. For example, my Instagram falls under a broad lifestyle umbrella — I post a combination of selfies, events and popular locations. I like to keep my options open, and I post a wide range of content. Even though I post different types of pictures, I always try to keep something in common between them.

3. Pretend you’re back in art class

Your Instagram is a reflection of your creativity. The app allows you to carefully shoot, edit and arrange your photography. Follow basic design principles, such as the rule of three or complementary colors. Try to stick to a certain color scheme and play around with complementary or contrasting shade combinations. For example, if you post a red picture, try phasing into other colors in your feed by adding a pink-toned picture next. There are external apps that allow you to test out what a new picture would look like, if added to your feed.

4. The rule of three

The rule of three applies in several different ways here. When you take your pictures, make sure your grid lines are turned on. Visually stunning photos usually place their focus on the intersections of the grid lines. Remember that your Instagram feed is arranged in rows of three. Keeping this in mind, I like to post three pictures from the same event or photo session in a row, or place a selfie between two photos of scenery to create balance while upholding the rule of three.

5. Research your locations

Visit the trendiest spots around town. Use a popular website, such as Timeout, to learn about the latest and most popular events in cities all over the world. Consider talking to locals for insider tips on locations you otherwise wouldn’t discover. Use all your resources — even filter through Instagram hashtags!  Find spots that others are already talking about. Most of these picture-worthy places will require reservations or, at the very least, some planning.

Create a content bank of several photographs so you don’t feel constant pressure to take pictures. Remember that your Instagram is a way to express your fun side when you want to, and there’s no need fixate too much on what your virtual reality is perceived as! Enjoy your time abroad, and you’ll be able to document it aesthetically with no problem at all.

Contact Jasmine Monfared at [email protected].