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How to take the perfect Instagram photo

For the last two months, #Exploreogram has been trending among local photographers as they’ve traveled the world taking their best Instagram photos.

Some went as far as London and Hong Kong to capture the perfect shot, while others found beauty right in their own backyards in York.

Starting May 4, more than 650 of these Instagram photos highlighting 65 local photographers’ adventures around the world will be on display at The Parliament Arts Organization’s new exhibit, #Exploreogram, in downtown York.

Twenty photos – which The Parliament programs director Stacy McClain said received a lot of likes on Instagram – will be displayed as larger prints on the walls of the gallery. The remaining 600+ photos will be displayed on light tables borrowed from the Susquehanna Art Museum. Click through the photo gallery above for a sneak peek.

Want to document your own adventures? Check out these tips from local photographers on how to take the perfect Instagram photo.

Don’t take photos in the Instagram app.

Instagram’s camera doesn’t have the best options for choosing a focal point, West York photographer Chelsea Foster-Hilt said. So, it’s best to take your photos using your phone’s camera, instead.

Think about composition.

Find an interesting way to frame an image and utilize the rule of thirds to set your photos apart from the rest, York Township photographer Dorie Heyer said.

Make sure you have enough natural light.

Daytime is the best time to take a photo if you’re shooting from your phone, Trinity Walker Keefer, of Manchester Township, said. Cell phones can only do so much without using the flash, and a photo can get very grainy very quickly, Heyer added.

Use high-contrast filters, but don't overdo it. 

Dramatic filters like Lark and Lo-Fi are great for adding a pop of color to your photo, Foster-Hilt said. But going overboard with a filter can definitely kill the vibe of a photo. If the filter is too dramatic for your taste, try tweaking it using Instagram’s custom editing tools. Keefer suggests brightening the photo’s exposure and adding a little contrast to give the photo its own look.

Use relevant hashtags (and lots of them!)

The more hashtags you use and the more applicable they are to the subject of your photo, the easier it is for people all around the world to find your photo, Heyer said. Make sure to hashtag the location where the photo was taken as well as words or phrases that other Instagram users might search for.

If you go:

What: #Exploreogram exhibit of 650+ Instagram photos

When: 6 to 9 p.m. May 4 for opening reception; 5 to 9 p.m. May 6 for First Friday. The exhibit will be open through June 25

Where: The Parliament Arts Organization, 116 E. King St., York

More information: Visit