Hands up who spends far too long scrolling on Instagram, nose gazing at how the other half live. Wishing you were sat by pool in Majorca or had X amount of followers so you could also attend an event in L.A.
Yep, I’ve been there, we’ve all been there. But what if I was to say, you too could have that. No, I’m going to give you £5k to swan off on holiday or land that perfect contract or collaboration. Nor am I going to tell you how to get over 100,000 followers either.
But, by doing a few simple tweaks to your own Instagram account you could be seeing a boost in your own creativity, have a better understanding at what this app is good for…. and start to not give two hoots about what everyone else is doing. Magic eh?
No this isn’t marketing speak. It’s all about looking about what you want to portray. Does your Instagram account say what you want it to? Does it convey your aesthetics? Your beliefs? Is your dream life shown or is it too ‘real life’?
Believe it or not, no one wants to see drunken snaps of your night out with friends on your Instagram feed. These need to be saved for a friends whatsapp group or facebook even. If you want to get serious about using Instagram as a tool to help your business, in whatever career you have chosen… then get rid of anything that isn’t business related.
But, be mindful that your account doesn’t become too business orientated. It’s all about balance.
My own Instagram account @littlegreenshed is an extension to my blog – which is lifestyle & travel related.
My account shows my life, loves and travels. So expect images of adventures, flowers, gardens, my home and kids.
I don’t show EVERYTHING about my life, because quite frankly my life is pretty boring most of the time. I show an EDITED VERSION of my life. The good bits. The wobbly and in the moment, funny stuff I do share on my stories – but never on my main feed.
I think carefully about each image, the look of them, the story they tell and the message they convey. If they don’t hit my brand then they aren’t shown. Simple.
Curate your content
Those beautiful feeds we all lust after aren’t made on the spur of the moment. They are thought out, planned and images are styled, curated and placed in an order that is aesthetically pleasing.
I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it needn’t be. For example:
Ren makes beautiful linen clothes (read her interview here). Her Instagram feed has a look that is unmistakably hers.
- tones and colours
You can see she uses only images that compliment each other. The colours are tonal. Her filters are the same. She shares her products sparingly – probably 1 out 4 images. The other images she shares align closely with her brand.
These simple tricks can elevate your own feed. Share only things that ‘fit’ your style and brand, and dare I say it, colour scheme!
Editing your images
Nearly everyone you follow edits their image before sharing it on Instagram. EVERYONE. It can be as simple as upping the exposure, or face tuning your face (yes that is a thing – ask Kim Kardashian).
I personally think the best that you can do for your images is to download the VSCO app. If you haven’t done this already – then why not?! Seriously this app can take you photos from zero to hero in seconds.
Photo editing apps to have a look at:
- VSCO – the god of filters
- Snapseed – great for getting rid of unwanted things from images (lamp posts or bins)
- A colour story – if you are into bright garish colours
- Lightroom – professional editing app – in my mind fiddly to use
The best thing is to find YOUR style. Something that you are going to enjoy using, creating and playing with. Don’t think ‘I’m going to go minimal‘ when actually you are a maximalist. OR ‘I love bright pink colours‘, when your business is making wooden bowls. It doesn’t really work.
Now this is a game changer. Say for example, you have a day photoshooting all of your products, or you have been on a weekend away, and you have a stock pile of beautiful images.
My best advice is to not upload all of them on to Instagram at once. You will want to save some back and drip feed them over a period of a few weeks. Then you can ensure you have a varied and consistent feed, and this way you will always have something to post.
There are apps which can help you with this. I personally use an app called PLANN. But there are others in the app store, such as Planoly and Mosaico.
These apps allow you to upload all of your beautiful styled and edited images in to a grid, and see how they work together on the screen. You can easily slide your images around the grid and plan days or weeks in advance. This method also keeps me alert to potential new images, and helps me get my eye in quickly when I’m out and about.
Here are a few Instagrammers who do this well:
Following & Hashtags
I love to find new accounts to follow. I find them inspiring, and I love to stretch my own creativity. The best way is by following hashtags and seeing who other people follow. Seriously, following someone, and then seeing who they follow you can go down a rabbit hole of creative inspiration.
To get others to follow you… comment often on images. Follow others. And join in community hashtags… it’s as simple as that.
Speaking of hashtags:
I’d love to start a little hashtag project, for the summer. If you’d like to join us. Starting this week – let’s find something floral/seasonal/nature inspired – to celebrate mid-summer solstice next week.
Images will be shared on our feed.
I hope this little round up has helped. If you are interested in Lou writing an ecourse for the community on photography and Instagram – then leave a comment below.
Lou Archell, a writer, photographer, stylist and the founder of Sisterhood Camp.
Lou is also a busy mum of two amazing boys and can be found over on her blog Littlegreenshed, where she shares her life, loves and inspiration. Lou is passionate about supporting and inspiring others whether through her workshops, writing, photography or lifestyle hacks.