Friday, 11 November 2016

Top 10 Instagram Tips and Tricks


I don’t think I’ll ever be “insta-famous” but for me that isn’t what Instagram is all about. For me, Instagram has multiple benefits. It allows me to explore my creative side which is totally opposite to my day job and also my role as a Mammy. It’s also a great way to connect with other like-minded people whatever your interests are. 

As a blogger interested in beauty, lifestyle and parenting related topics, I’ve been fortunate to connect with and chat with lots of other lovely folk in the blogging community. It has also been brilliant for keeping up to date on new trends in the beauty and fashion worlds and for picking up a wealth of tips and advice from others who have way more experience than me.The only downside is the effect that it’s had on my wallet but that's a whole other issue..

I still have a way to go in terms of getting my Instagram account to where and how I want to be, but I thought that today I would share with you a few tips that I’ve learned so far in terms of taking and editing your photos, having a “theme” to your feed, and how to get your posts out there for people to see and hit that little heart for!

1)      Planning is key.  



In all aspects of blogging, planning is so important. If you either work or study full time as well as spending time on your blog, or if you are a full-time parent, then you don’t have the time to be present on all social media platforms all day so it makes such a difference having a plan written down of what you want to post and when. Some people might be able to just snap a photo and upload it to Instagram straight away and it works for them – but for me and a lot of others that just isn’t feasible. I often take a couple of days’ worth of photos at the same time if I know what I want to post about. Then I will plan how they look together as in do they have similar colours or lighting next to each other?

2)Download some editing apps. 



When you are starting out you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on paid for apps to get the photo results you want. The ones I use most often are Facetune (which costs €3.99 on the Apple Store), Afterlight (which if I remember correctly costs €0.99) and even Instagram itself has great editing tools that can do most of the work there for you. Facetune is great for whitening or smoothing out areas in particular.  Afterlight has some great filters as well as the common sharpening, brightening options etc.  There are tons of apps and tools out there so have a look around and see what suits your budget and needs.

3) Develop a theme for your feed. 




Decide on what you want your predominant colour theme to be and keep to a few of the same filters each time for consistency. While anyone looking at their own news feed won't notice when your photo pops up, they will notice if they go to visit your page and see that everything doesn't flow or have some sort of pattern/consistency to it. If you look further down my feed you will see that my earlier photos were rather different. I'm not deleting them though as we all had to start somewhere and I'm still proud of my amateur shots as you should be too!

And decide what you want your theme to say about you. Are you sophisticated/funny/bright and cheery or a bit quirky? Your feed should reflect something about you and your blog. For instance, from mine you can tell the type of colours that I like and most of the photos have a similar light background. I try to alternate types of photos too so that I don't have two very similar photos side by side. (Which I stuck to until the day I posted two quotes haha. But in my defence there was a message behind both quotes for me and thought what the heck, just go with it and post what you want!)

4) Good lighting is essential.



Use natural light as much as possible i.e. take your photos in daylight hours and near a window or door where the best light comes in. At this time of the year, that kind of light is rare so I did invest in some studio lighting from Amazon too which was surprisingly reasonable and works great. The above is the set that I bought from a brand called Neewer and it's been a game-changer for taking both blog photos and Instagram photos. There are tons of options out there from ring lights to soft box lights to these umbrella types so do a bit of research and see what suits your needs and your budget.  Also the lighter the background the better if you are photographing objects, particularly beauty products, accessories, clothing etc. 

You can buy plain mounting cards from craft shops, marble or other effect contact papers or use what you have already around the house. For example, plain white bedding can work great, as can a light coloured kitchen worktop or floor tile. Some of my photos are even taken on my toddler’s IKEA table!

The main point here is that you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune on props or backdrops to really make a difference. And a lot of the time simplicity is actually better.

5) Make use of filler photos.

Use “filler photos” in between your own original photos e.g. inspirational quotes that you like or that photo of your nice cappuccino.

6)Use the square mode when taking your Instagram photos.

Always take your photos in the square view so that you know you are fitting everything into the frame that you want to. Otherwise half of something that you wanted to show might be hanging out of the side of the picture. In terms of making it more visually appealing, don’t be tempted to fill in every blank space. Some empty areas are needed so that it doesn’t look too busy.

7)When editing – don’t over brighten or change the colours beyond recognition. 

If you are reviewing a product it is very important that your photos are a true representation of what the product looks like in real life. I learnt the hard way on this when I filtered a photo of a lipstick too much as a rookie and it ended up looking a completely different colour. I decided to delete the photo then shortly afterwards as I didn't want to mislead anyone or have them decide to buy it then realise it wasn't as I described it! 

8)Make use of the tagging feature.

Tag brands or other Instagrammers in photos if you want them to see your work and potentially share it or if you hope to collaborate with them in future. During the week I was totally “fan-girling” over the fact that Primark shared one of my photos on their page and it reached over 50,000 likes. This is great for getting your work out there and potentially bringing other followers to your own page if they like what they see.

9) Using hashtags.



Use wisely and use what actually relates to your photo. I’ve seen people putting a # of Mac cosmetics when there isn’t actually anything from Mac in the picture for instance. Unless you really want your account spammed, I would avoid the “like4like” or “follow4follow” tags. 

It might temporarily increase your likes or followers but what is much better is to aim for sustainable, believable growth over time. And furthermore, for some it might be all about numbers but for me actual engagement is equally important! You can use up to 30 hashtags on each post but you don't neccessarily have to fill this quota, The optimum really is around 15 so that you don't look too "spammy". 

You can either put the hashtags straight after your caption or create line breaks and put them further down so that they're not visible in the caption or you can add them as a separate comment. I'm used to the first option so that's what works for me but you find what's best for you.

10) Remember not to take it too seriously.




If you don’t get the amount of “likes” or comments that you were hoping for on a photo, don’t take it to heart too much and think that you’re failing. Instead, use that as a case study to learn from and see what you can do better next time. Engage with others and like or comment on their photos and they will return the love in time. If you put the time and effort in, it can not only be enjoyable but can be an additional way to help promote your blog and get your content “out there” to other readers and companies that you might want to collaborate with in future.

I hope you found some of these tips helpful. I could go into a lot more detail on a lot of the above points and in fact most of them would probably fill an entire blog post themselves e.g. lighting and background materials. If this is something you would like to see more of let me know! And if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Oh and while you’re here if you would like to pop over to my Instagram (@mamavoomblog) and say hi that would be great too! :)

Bye for now and happy snapping, 


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1 comment

  1. I decided a month ago I didn't want a white theme anymore - I sucked at it anyway! But I changed it lol its now kinda different, but good - it stands out I spose!

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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