My Instagram now is more reflective of my blog. It's not a lie. What goes on there, happens but it's like the highlights. I don't upload pictures of me doing the laundry or last night's takeaway. I want it to be a visual channel - one that tells a story. Hence why I'm at the point I'm at today. Yes it's white, yes it flows and yes I get a lot of 'how about a bit more colour' comments but I kinda like it the way it is. I've changed my 'theme' a few times, most recently a few weeks ago now and I like how bright and a bit more life like it's looking. God help us bloggers come winter when we live most of the day in darkness. Maybe that's when I'll get back into Snapchat or Twitter will really come into its own.
But the point of this post is to show you how I edit, as quite frankly I love reading other people's posts like this. I'm nosey and I like to see where I can save time. So hopefully you'll find this interesting. Maybe it'll teach you things that you want to do yourself, or heck even things you'll be like 'I wouldn't do it that way.' If you've got any killer apps, top tips or anything Insta related I should know about - please leave a comment or tweet me @SJMFord.
ShapeI used to be a rectangle kind of girl until this year when a photo made me switch into the square life because I couldn't crop an epic shot of a model and a dog into a landscape box. Little bit sad, I know, but when your colleagues produce killer shots like that, it's worth an Insta re-theme. Am I right? I now use your standard square, which makes regramming a LOT easier. And it seems to be working for me so far.
LightingLighting is without a doubt the most important part of taking an Instagram, and photo in general. I have a very clean and white feed so it has to be natural light on a minimal background - I tend to opt for white or grey hues to keep it consistent. If I'm inside I'll take as close to a window as possible and always try to avoid shadows.
AnglesYou'll probably know what angles work for you. Sometimes we'll be at brunch and my friend will have a better angle than me - learn from thier skills. I'll probably take five photos but only use one. It's always better to have too many.
AfterlightThe first app I go to is Afterlight. It's not a free one but inexpensive at 79p from the App Store. You can pretty much do everything on this app - from lighting to filters, frames, crops, saturation but I mainly use it for brightness. Every since my 're-brand', if you can call it that, I actually use this less but I used to use it for filters and exposure too. I've had my money's worth but now it's a simple brightening which I'll either go to 100% once (if the photo's bright enough) or if it's still too dark, I'll apply a brightening tool on it once more to get the light I'm after. If I've gone too far, I'll add a little exposure on and if needed, a little sharpening before moving onto my next app.
FacetuneAh, the world popular and much featured in the press app. Known primarily for being the selfie editing app, I don't actually use it at all for that (#badblogger). I have used it in the past for selfies, and yeah you can do A LOT with your face - which is both a good and bad thing. If you want to use it for that purpose - the best tools are the softening, whitening and details tools. If you have a pimple or dark circles, you can blend these out with the softening tool and if your teeth are on show - the whitening tool comes in handy. And as for details, maybe you have epic curls or want to bring out the colour of years - use the details tool for this. And if you've got a busy background and you want you to be the focus, you can blur out the background too. I would recommend using it on your face/body sparingly. I've seen some crazy changes from original photos to the 'finished product' to the point where the person doesn't look like the same anymore.
As for me, I import the image I'm working on from Afterlight to Facetune where the only thing I do is whiten the background or image itself. Sometimes I go too far myself and the picture looks too drained, so luckily, there's an erase tool that I use to bring some colour back into it. And all this time you can see the progress you've made by clicking the bottom right corner button which flicks between a before and after shot. It does cost a couple of quid (£2.99 - if my memory serves me correctly).
PreviewI used to be an Unum user but have recently switched to 'Preview' which is free too. Think pastel shades, white backgrounds and a clean design. Props to the designer and developer as it looks great. It allows you to display your existing live feed and then drop in your upcoming shots so you can see how they'll look next to each other. If you're not feeling the layout, you can switch up your shots to make sure you're completely happy with the way it's going to look. Once feature I really love is the caption editing. It remembers all of your most recent handles and hashtags to save you retyping these time and time again. And it also pulls a report on what the most successful tags you used were. You can then push your posts live through this and schedule too. I don't really schedule on it, but it's nice to know it has this capability should I change my mind.
I've included some before and afters below so you can get a feel. That's it, all of my Insta secrets out...