7 Tips to a Better Instagram

When I started my business back in high school, I used Instagram to promote the necklaces I’d made. Someone would follow me and after looking at the pictures, they’d pick what they wanted and email me. Even after I created my website back in March, people loved seeing new designs and ways to style pieces! It’s such a creative platform you can do so much with. Over time, there’s seven tips I’ve been using in order to take Instagrams that lead to a guaranteed increase in likes and comments:

Create Your Own Backdrops

You’d be surprised to learn that most of our photos with a white background are taken from a birds-eye view using poster board! For any images with a patterned background, we have another trick: 50 cent scrapbook paper. You’re welcome.

Take Advantage of Photo Editing Apps

When it comes to photo editing apps, there’s only three you need:

Snapseed - Snapseed is the best for upping the brightness and contrast. Other apps will offer this, but often at the expense of over-exposing the entire image or making it too dark. Usually, you don’t need to do too much—just a couple levels will get the job done and make the entire image look cleaner. Remember that less is more! The image is at the perfect color level when the white in the image truly looks like white (shoutout to CTodd for teaching us this one!).

VSCO - An easy way to keep your feed consistent is to keep every image in the same filter. VSCO is perfect for this because the app never takes away filters, only adds more, meaning you don’t have to worry about suddenly having to change the vibe of your entire feed. Even better? When applying the filter, you can apply it in “levels”, meaning if a filter is overpowering an image, you can tone it down.

PicTapGo - If you’ve put your image through VSCO and aren’t entirely convinced it’s ready to be posted, run it through PicTapGo real quick—although it costs $1.99 in the app store, it’s super easy to use and will take your image from an 8 to a 10 in seconds.

(photo cropped centered, photo cropped according to rule of thirds)

Follow the Rule of Thirds

Another shoutout to Cindy Todd, my yearbook teacher when we attended Westlake High School, for teaching us this one! The rule of thirds refers to the way you compose an image. An image should be divided into a grid with nine equal parts and anything important to the composition of the image should hit on one of the grid intersections. Basically, frame your image in thirds to draw your eyes anywhere but the center.

Shoot in Natural Light

Whenever possible, avoid shadows in images—the most ideal light to get for pictures is natural light, either in the early morning or early evening. Even if you can’t take photos at that time, taking pictures near windows or outside will get you a good vibe. Make sure you never take images with natural light in the background! The natural light should shine on what’s being photographed.

Sharpen With Caution

A rookie mistake is over-sharpening an image in an attempt to focus it. Don’t do this! As you up the sharpening, your eyes will begin to get used to that level and you’ll think you need to sharpen more, but you don’t. Just a couple notches will be more than enough to get the effect you need.

Use Blue

Studies show time and again that people are most responsive to images with a slightly blue tint/blue imagery to them. Why is this? Blue is calming to people, as opposed to orange or red, which subconsciously makes people feel rushed or panicked.

Listen to Your Blogger Friends

When I started to take social media seriously for Beaded by W, I consulted one of my friends, Annie, who runs Take a Bite. She taught me so much about Instagram, including these quick tips:

“Never use the flash on your phone (especially for food); it’s all about natural lighting! The flash blows it out weird.”

“I like to use InstaFit to get my rectangular pictures to fit without cutting people out!”

"Try and keep your [caption] characters as minimal as possible! Sometimes it’s hard, but captions with a ton of words don’t get written. You want the image to do the talking!”

Without Instagram, my business would not be where it is today. In so many ways, it has shaped the growth of Beaded by W. Hopefully, these tips will help you out!

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