March is all about Instagram for your Business, Photographer Rachel Devine from photoblog sesame ellis shares some of her tips below:
I – I, myself and me – Instagram should be about you. Your enjoyment and your story. Follow who you like, share images of your world and don’t let it become just another social strategy. Instagram is eye candy.
N – Neat – Try to keep your imagery neat. Often times it is what you leave out of the frame that can best tell the story. Also, keep in mind that the majority of people are looking at Instagram on mobile devices, so busy photographs on small screens are not as compelling as more simple shots.
S – Square or not to square – Instagram allows for rectangular images now so you are no longer constrained to just a square. That said, their rectangle crop is actually a crop and not the full image you upload so I recommend adding a white border (via an app) to transform rectangular shots into squares. This also allows your entire photo stream to be easily printed out as squares directly from Instagram with services like Origrami.
T – Timing – While Instagram started as way to share what was happening instantly, it has evolved to a broader purpose of a mobile photography portfolio. Even that is not completely accurate as many images posted to Instagram are taken with cameras other than the one inside your phone. The one thing that has not changed is that your feed is constantly moving as the people you follow post new photographs. For me, a lot of my audience is based in America even though I am now living in Australia. This means that I have to take the time of day I post photographs to Instagram into consideration or many people will miss them. If your photos are not getting seen, it might be the time you post is not the same time that your followers are online. If you need to schedule images to post at a later date or time, you can use apps or services like Latergramme and Buffer.
A – Apps – Any digital photo taken with a proper camera or a phone needs some post processing. Putting your best images online is more complicated than just taking pictures. There are so many different apps out there (too many to mention here) that will allow you to do simple edits like brightening or sharpening and even complicated filters. Afterlight is an app that is available on both Android and iOS to not only edit your shots, but also add the white border to rectangular shots before posting to Instagram.
G – Gadgets – Get a selfie stick and a few additional lenses for your phone camera. These are inexpensive accessories that can make taking photos even more fun! A selfie stick is not just for selfies! It can be really useful if you need to steady your phone in low light (shaky cameras make blurry photos) and no tripod is around or to raise your camera high for a completely different view of your world. Magnetic lenses that attach to your phone camera open up a whole new way of seeing things. Photojojo has a kit of six lenses for under a hundred dollars or if you just really want to take macro shots on your phone, you can get the individual ones for $20 each!
R – Rule of Thirds – If I can give one tip that will improve your photographs right away, it would be to use the Rule of Thirds when composing your shots. This rule is an easy way to place your subject in the frame of your photograph for the most visual impact. How it works is to consider a naughts and crosses grid over your viewfinder/LCD and simply ensure your subject appears in any of the four spots where the lines intersect. Many cameras, including the one in your phone, have an option to turn on a grid like this so you can easily visualise the correct spot. Over time, this just becomes second nature.
A – Aperture Priority – Aperture is the word for the adjustable opening inside of your camera’s lens. It is measured in numbers referred to as f-stops. These f-stops are labeled somewhat confusingly because the smaller numbers actually refer to the larger openings! Aperture is the main control of how depth of field is rendered in a photograph. You know, how blurry or sharp the background looks! Controlling your aperture is a quick way to adding an artistic element to snapshots is setting your camera to aperture priority and choosing the smallest aperture (f-stop number) available. Make sure you then focus on your subject and the background should appear softer depending on the lens you are using. You can even do this with manual camera apps for your phone. When you choose Aperture Priority, the camera will decide the rest of the elements needed to get a correct exposure.
M – Meaningful – While I started these tips saying that Instagram is all about you, I do believe it is also about what you put out there for others. If your images have meaning behind them, people will connect to your work. When people connect, you build a community and community is good for the soul. Build a beautiful and meaningful Instagram feed, comment, like and interact with others on Instagram and you will quickly see in return, an engaged following building naturally.
Rachel Devine is a professional photographer by trade, mother of 3 children, author of 4 books and the creative mind behind photography blog Sesame Ellis.
Rachel recently founded #kidphotoclub, a program to help kids develop a love for visual storytelling and to become even more confident behind the camera. It is her passion to help people, no matter how young, who want to learn how to record the beauty in their lives and see the extraordinary in the ordinary.