Oh heeeeey weekend, I've been waiting, well, all week for you and you, like usual, just took your own sweet time in arriving. Hmmph.
Aside from long runs, laundry, housecleaning, yardwork, socializing, etc. weekends are also for learning how to improve your Instagram account. What? You didn't know that? Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's a law or something:) Fortunately for you, this weekend, I have you covered.
I get questions all the time in regards to how I edit and take my photos on both my blog and Instagram. Here's the deal...every single one of my pics has been taken by me. Even the outfit ones. I wish I had a photographer (or a handy boyfriend) that could take them because it would be SO much easier, but, I don't, so, I do. Today though, I'm talking product photos, flatlays, etc....basically phone photography. Easy peasy:)
Even though they get far fewer likes and comments, my most favorite pictures to take are my product photos for Instagram. Those are the types of photos that really allow me to use my creative side and have me thanking my Yearbook teacher for helping me understand spatial awareness...or something like that, lol. You can see a few of my favorite recent flatlay style images here, here and here. I'll discuss arranging flatlays in a future post.
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Ok, so let's get into this. How exactly do I take and edit my photos? The truth is, everything I'm about to tell you works for me, BUT, this is all SO subjective so please don't rely solely on my word. Take what I tell you as "guidelines" only - experiment, practice and find your own IG vibe. It will make your feed SO much more realistic. I'm telling you this from experience...a couple of years ago I had had taken a class because I LOVED this girl's IG photos and she is absolutely amazing!! It really was a great class and I learned a lot. So I did everything just like she said. And honestly, my pictures weren't that great BECAUSE I was editing just like her. My pictures weren't just like hers however. My lighting was different. My objects were different. I was using a different camera. You get the point. These aren't rules, they're guidelines to help you find your Instagram voice.
Tip 1: Invest in aesthetically pleasing props. These don't have to be expensive, FYI. In this photo, I'm using a faux-fur blanket I found on sale at Target (I use this in the majority of my product photos) and similar throws are all over - check Marshall's, Kohl's, Hobby Lobby, etc. I'm also using something SO fancy, like seriously, ridiculously over-the-top fancy: a foam board I got at Michael's about 2 million years ago. It's stained with remnants from all sorts of past craft projects, BUT, a clean foam board makes a great background for product pics and flatlays, just an FYI. This pic also contains my roughed up Converse kicks and fresh flowers (fun fact about me, I get all twitchy if I don't have fresh flowers on my table at all times....I usually just get the tiny bouquets from Wal-Mart or Aldi for like $4).
Tip 2: Don't forget the small stuff. For instance, in the pic I'm working on for this post, I used the tissue that came with the shoes originally to keep some dimension in the shoes (you know so they didn't get all sinky and weird). I also used a twist tie to keep the flowers exactly how I wanted them to lay.
Tip #3: It's all about the light. This is probably the MOST important....take your pictures in the daylight, preferably close to an open window, free from shadows. I never use overhead lights or lamps. If it's too dark, I wait.
Tip #4: It's never one and done. More like one hundred. Plus 50. I arrange things...take pics, I rearrange them, take more pics. I change the angles and height I'm shooting at. Experiment. Remember, there isn't a clear cut step-by-step, and also remember, you will very rarely use the pic you take first.
Tip #5: Don't over edit. I used to do this (remember above when I mentioned I was trying to edit like someone else? My photos looked ridiculously over-edited). And here's something that may come as a shock to some of you, but, don't use filters. At least, not the kind of filters you can tell are filters, lol.
For every single picture I post on Instagram, I edit it in the app, A Color Story. The majority of the "filters" don't seem like filters at all. They brighten the whites, they help make colors pop, etc. After applying the filter I *usually brighten it up a bit and play around with the saturation and vibrance. I also sometimes adjust the contrast and sharpness. The sharpening tool is sensitive...I never take it all the way up as even if it doesn't as you're looking at in in A Color Story, it will look grainy in Instagram. Take a look at my final results below...the before and afters and well as my editing procedure for each in A Color Story.
Filter: Tulip: 100%
Increase Brightness: 58%
Increase Contrast: 52%
Increase Saturation: 56%
Decrease Vibrance: 48%
Decrease Temperature: 47%
Increase Sharpness: 63%
Filter: Sky: 100%
Increase Brightness: 52%
Decrease Saturation: 45%
Decrease Vibrance: 44%
Increase Sharpness: 60%
Filter: Lite Brite: 100%
Increase Brightness: 57%
Decrease Saturation: 46%
Decrease Vibrance: 45%
Increase Sharpness: 66%
Filter: Lite Brite: 100%
Increase Brightness: 55%
Decrease Contrast: 49%
Decrease Saturation: 46%
Increase Temperature: 54%
Increase Sharpness: 64%
With all of the above photos, although I took them at the same time, using the same props, I created different "edits" for each of them. Something else to point out, with A Color Story, each of the above edits (with the exception of the "Filter," essentially starts at 50%. So when you see something under 50%, I've moved the slider to the left. Anything above 50% has been moved to the right.
There you have it my friends - hope this information helps! Be sure to sign-up for my IG newsletter so you receive exclusive content on all of my Instagram hacks and tips. Don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!
And, in case you're not, you can follow me on Instagram at Laura_Yoder:)