Photography + Instagram
Photography is the one thing on my “self-development list” that I one day, plan to dive a bit deeper into. But here’s the thing… when you’re running the entire show and it’s just you pulling together all the other elements, it becomes much more difficult to give over that time.
Meanwhile, by the very nature of being an online creative, my appreciation of visuals and aesthetics continues to grow. So over the years, I’ve found ways and means of creating the kind of imagery I love for the blog and Instagram…
Whatever the nature of your business, beautiful imagery that tells its own story is a key element. Over the years I’ve been lucky to meet and subsequently work with some very talented photographers. These three amazing women are local to me and I’ve worked with them on a repeat basis:
Hmmm… another one that gives me frown lines! I only ever used to use PicMonkey for resizing images but depending on your requirements, it can be quite basic as it doesn’t allow you to factor in file size for website upload, pixels and image resolution etc. It has some editing capabilities too but I kept hearing about the magic of the Adobe suite that allows you to edit your images to the best of their capacity.
As someone who mostly uses the camera on a manual setting or takes photos with (the more than capable) iPhone 8 plus, it seemed foolish not to give it a go. So I now subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud software via the Individuals Photography plan for a monthly fee of just under £10 and within that suite I use Lightroom and Photoshop. I’ll be honest and say my current capabilities are pretty limited and I only ever use Photoshop for resizing and Lightroom for some basic edits that I learnt from this easy tutorial.
This is how I currently get by but perhaps when I get around to delving more into taking pictures, I’ll find some tutorials and dig a bit deeper in Adobe. Perhaps.
Video is a more recent medium for me. I have zero plans to become a YouTube sensation… not really my forte! But sometimes it’s useful to be able to add video in as a supporting factor when creating content. I’ve worked with both of these talented videographers and would highly recommend them:
Lauren at The Female Edit
A Word On IGTV
These days I’m loving the easy going approach of IGTV and find myself way more drawn to that way more than I am to YouTube. See my thoughts on the Splice App below...
For transferring large files of images, high res photos and video back and forth I use DropBox and I know some photographers like to use WeTransfer. If you’re going to be transferring a lot of files back and forth with the creators you work with, it’s worth checking out the fees attached to the various services offered by both and perhaps consider an upgrade to a business package. For me the DropBox Plus package is more than adequate and costs around £7 per month.
The Benefits Of Building Up A Collection Of Stock Images
The words stock photo used to fill me with horror but thankfully, stock imagery has come on in leaps and bounds I’m sure that’s in part due to the rise of online creatives and the demand for quality stock imagery. I wrote a blog post on how to build on your collection over the years and also how to get the most out of any investment you make when shooting with photographers…
For stock imagery I love:
SarahLou Francis is the wild hearted creative behind the Wildblume concept. I love the offering of the three Bloom And Grow sessions that can be slightly tweaked to accommodate your needs. When I decided to create simply START living I went to SarahLou to for the Bud package and many photos you’ll see here are as a result of SarahLou’s beautiful work.
Have you heard of Unsplash? This is an amazing resource that features free downloadable imagery by some very talented photographers. You can search by descriptions and categories and I’ve found some beautiful images here. It’s not mandatory to credit but why wouldn’t you to say thank you? Unsplash make this easy by providing a pop up link at the point of image download that you can simply embed into your blog post as I have here.
The image you see above is by an uber talented photographer Annie Spratt who lives right here in the New Forest so I was thrilled to discover her work. This is her Instagram account… so much beauty and talent!
A Word Of Caution About Images On Pinterest
Use Pinterest for inspiration and collating all the boards you want but I wouldn’t recommend “borrowing” images from there to use on your website or blog due to a myriad of potential copyright issues.
Oh my… where to start? I’m sure many of us could talk all the livelong day about the benefits and pitfalls of Instagram - particularly when it comes to using it help support your creative business. I mean this topic could be a whole other blog in itself!
I’m not going to go there because this blog is my overriding priority. Instead I’ll share some resources and ideas that have helped me over the years to make my grid a grid that I love and can live with…
Before you get started, here’s why you can love it but don’t put all your business eggs into one sleek Instagram basket…
My Favourite Editing Apps For Instagram:
Lightroom For Mobile - my goto editing App before I even think about adding a filter.
VSCO - Great range of presets in here and good for straightening skewed building photos!
Snapseed - I like the Selective function in here that allows you to apply basic edits to only part of your image if needed.
TouchRetouch - good for removing unwanted lamp posts, dustbins and what not from otherwise pretty pictures.
Priime - for finding and adding your signature filters. I use a few from the Bright category.
I like to plan out the images on my grid for a cohesive feed and use the Mosaico App to do this. There’s also Planoly too. Depending on who you follow and what you read, there are Fors and Againsts when it comes to grid planning and curating is now considered a dirty word by some! I say make it how you want it and use it how you love it best. Being a visual person means that I love to see a grid that works in harmony and don’t forget… you don’t have to plan the captions and the image doesn’t have to relate to the caption every time either. This gives you more writing freedom and allows for relatable stories to be told under beautiful images. Nothing wrong with that in my book!
Editing, planning and whatever the latest strategy is aside, try not to spend time obsessing over numbers… here’s why it’s bad for creativity…
I Love Instagram Stories!
Having shunned Snapchat, I fell ever so slowly in love with Instagram Stories. It’s the behind the scenes reality (or BTS if you’re a cool kid), to Instagram’s glossier shop front. It’s a place to chat when you’re a lonesome freelancer with just the dog for company seven hours a day. And you can be as stripped back or as creative with it as you like! Hooray!
If you want to be creative, try some of these Apps:
Splice - I’m just learning to use this for basic video edits and to merge clips together - it’s fab!
Unfold - I get asked about this one so often on Stories! It’s what I use to add in frames and fonts.
We Can Be (Instagram) Heroes...
I can’t talk about Instagram without mentioning Sara Tasker… if you’re any kind of Instagram obsessive, you’ll probably know of Sara already.
Her blog, Me & Orla is full of insightful resources and her podcast, Hashtag Authentic is a must-listen. And of course don’t forget her recently released book by the same name - a calm and insightful read packed full of beautiful imagery and useful hints and exercises to help you fall in love with Instagram all over again.
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