Wednesday, 8 February 2017

How To Improve Your Instagram Feed

Instagram is huge marketing tool today. As it's based solely on visual content, it can reach a wider audience especially the ADHD ridden populace of today. While everyone and their grandmother has an account on the platform, not everyone has a feed that could potentially draw in thousands to millions of followers. Of course, this is not the aim for most people, but for those who aim to achieve this goal seem to be plagued with more than their fair share of myths about the requirements to achieve such perfection.

I'm here to bust these myths and make things simpler for you. To be completely upfront with you, I don't have thousands of followers but I know for certain that there isn't one set of rules for you to follow to get there. Variety is the spice of life, or so they say!

Now, I do know of any formula to building a following and I have never been good at math, but two main factors are consistency and engagement. Apart from that, all you need to do is improve the quality of your images. I for one look for good quality pictures before hitting that follow button. I don't want my timeline to be littered with over-pixelated, over-edited pictures of the sky. I am by no means a professional or hardly even "great" at photography but I have noticed a huge change in quality of my photos over the last two years. So, I've made a list of everything that I can think of that has changed in that time period and decided to put it up here, where it collects dust but is immortalised for eternity!

Set the Mood
When you have a subject, decide what kind of mood you're going for with the picture and play with
the light accordingly. Heavy shadows with harsh lines create a more mysterious vibe while brighter pictures with soft shadows paints a more joyful story. Of course, this can be altered with editing but that would have to be your last option. Move around until you've found the right angles. It usually takes a couple of tries to get the right shot so don't be afraid to click incessantly.

My pictures generally have heavier shadows with the light kind of piercing into the darkness. That's just a personal preference based on what I'm attracted to.

To get really unique images, you have to break the rules a little bit. Everyone knows that to get one
great shot you'd probably have to capture a dozen or so frames, so use those frames to experiment. There are all these rules about the angles and lights and how you shouldn't shoot right at the light, but to be honest, that gives a really good effect. I've got a whole full of pictures of colorful lens flares from shooting right into the light. A couple of them have even made it onto my feed.

Instagram is a learning space, as I see it, and the response you get will tell you where you need to improve.

The most popular trend of Instagram seems to be flatlays or shooting from straight ahead at a subject. It's important to remember that the majority of these photos are shot under professional supervision and are not carefree in any manner. Although these pictures look very clean and desirable, it is not the standard for good images. Make use of the natural light available to you and work your way around it. There are also ways to trick lighting on small scale shoots by using visiting cards, blank sheets of paper, or even mirrors depending on the intensity you are going for

Filters aren't everything
In my opinion, the best option is to make sure your photograph is as close to your vision and completely skip out on editing. Most of the time, editing because abundantly clear to the viewer as it is very easy to go overboard.

If you use a hand held camera (it could be of any level of proficiency) instead of your phone, try your best to use the manual mode and not the automatic setting. This might take a bit of getting used to but googling the make and model of your camera will help you better understand the workings of it. The manual mode enables you to control every aspect of the image from the clarity to the brightness to the speed at which the shot is taken. Learning these tools will help you capture crisp images which need little to no retouching or editing.

Black and white
If you feel like an image looks flat and lacks intensity, try converting it to greyscale. Black and white images have a vintage feel to them that draws people in instantly. The details that would've otherwise been lost in colour can be drawn out in grayscale and can even even be visible to the most unobservant viewer.

Create your own style
Everyone is obsessed with something called a "theme" for Instagram and honestly, the whole concept is overrated. Holding back on posting a picture you really like just because it doesn't go with your "theme" is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. It's your feed. Do what you want with it. What matters at the end of the day is original content and good quality photographs. That's what rakes in the followers, anyway. Posting memes and inspirational quotes from pinterest aren't going to bring in a lot of attention but if that isn't what you're after, then who cares?! Have fun with it. That's what social media is all about.

Leave me your Instagram links in the comments because I'm always curious!

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