Step 1: Thirds.
When you are shooting your image, split what is in shot into thirds and use the imaginary lines as guides. Try to align major focal points along those lines (so a person for example - or the skyline) and you'll get a much more interesting photo. The above is an example where the rule hasn't been followed completely, but by you'll see each third taken by itself is still an interesting photo.
Step 2: Light.
This might seem like a simple one...but think about where the light is coming from! Having light coming over your shoulder as you take the photo is perfect, but if you find yourself in a position with lots of shadows - think about using your flash to get rid of them. If you want to get more technical have a play around with your white balance, exposure and the mode your are taking a photo in. For your phone - there are some great apps out there to give you these options.
Step 3: Touch it up.
Grab photo editing software and touch it up. Instagram will put a filter for you, but free programs like GIMP give you the ability to get stuck in and fix up your photos. Our handy hint - adding a bit of contrast (which is a really simple editing trick) often makes an image look much more polished.
That's our cheats guide to getting a good photo. Just choose a good subject, split it into thirds, make sure the lighting is right, throw in some contrast...and voila!
Everyone has a camera in their pocket these days - and with smartphone technology getting better and better, it's becoming easier for anyone to take a decent snap. Stick to these few rules, and you'll be filling your instagram with professional looking images within no time.