Perfecting Your Instagram Photography

Pretty much every man and their dog wants to be insta-famous nowadays (seriously, some of those dog accounts are killing it!). Instagram is no longer about sharing a photo in the moment, it is about creating a gallery, a beautifully curated gallery, and while the key to a successful instagram account isn’t photography alone, perfecting your instagram photography will help.

You don’t need a fancy camera

I never thought I would say this, but, you really don’t need a fancy camera. I have always been a bit of a camera snob, priding myself on picking up the finer details and having the perfect depth of field, yet, one of my most popular instagram photos was taken on my iPhone 6s, and while it isn’t of a quality that I would ever consider blowing up and printing, it works for instagram. Most people view instagram in teeny tiny squares on their phone, meaning that the quality of the photo doesn’t matter too much. I’m not saying go out and take real shit quality photos and put little effort in, what I am saying is, you really don’t need a DSLR, and also, flower walls will always win instagram.

Bank holiday has been super lazy 😴😴I’ve done pretty much bugger all, apart from a walk to the park and BBQ with the in-laws tonight 🔥🍔Spencer went out with the boys on Saturday for bank hol beers but not me, I made no plans, despite craving bank holiday beer garden booze times ❌🍻Why? Because I’m weak, like super weak. I am determined to have a 100% week on my diet, I even took slimming world potato salad and a weight watchers pudding to the BBQ 💪🏻💪🏻I am just too weak to go out and not cave. So I stayed in. Stayed in with a toddler who has learnt to climb out of bed and decided that she wasn’t tired 😬😬 I lost count of the amount of times that she appeared downstairs 😤she didn’t end up going to bed until MIDNIGHT 😱😱which is exactly why daytime naps have been banned ❌❌ more about that in my latest blog post, click the link in the bio 👩🏻‍💻

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Take in your surroundings

There is nothing worse than looking at your fabulous picture after the event to discover an overflowing bin in the background. Survey the scene before taking your photo. Frame the photo perfectly within your camera. Move to your subject and set the perfect scene within your frame. I’ve been known to turn Aria around in the swing so that the pretty fields are behind her, rather than the ugly old Leisure Centre. These little details make all the difference when it comes to perfecting your instagram photography.

Focus, focus, focus

Focus is key. If using your phone tap on the main subject of the photo to focus on them. If using your camera move the focus point around, or, lock the focus point down and move your camera to where you want it. When photographing people try to focus on their eyes.

If you need to crop, do it within Instagram

I never, ever crop my instagram photos outside of instagram. I used to, but recently I have discovered that cropping works best within instagram itself. Cropping within instagram gives you a lot more control as you can better see how it will look within the app and at the required size. Leave the overflowing bin in the photo and zoom in to crop it out in instagram. Just remember when uploadloading elsewhere that it hasn’t been cropped. This may have caught me out on a few occasions.

Give your audience what they want

This is where a business account really pays off. The analytics are fab at providing a wealth of useful information, as well as easily sorting your most popular photos over a period of time.

This one is getting SO difficult, but also cuter and funnier, which is good because I need something to sweeten the deal 😁😁 – Today she had a meltdown in a cafe because she wanted her yoghurt before her sandwich 🚨bad mammy alert🚨I gave in to her 🙊🙊it was SO quiet and she was SO loud and I was SO embarrassed 🙈 top parenting right there 🙌🏻 – Other goings on today have included her running in and out of the house and shutting her fingers in the door not once, but twice and getting all of the recycling out of the bins and throwing it down the garden steps 🙈 all because the food shopping came and I stopped paying her attention while sorting it out 🙄 – Man I need booze and chocolate 🍫🍺 if only I wasn’t on a stupid diet 🙄🙄

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By sorting my photos by top engaged over the past year it becomes evident that photos of myself and Aria always do well, other than one or two particularly nice photos of Aria, the photos of us together are dominating the top. This shows me that my audience like to see photos of me, the person behind the camera. As a result I now aim to include a photo of Aria and me at least once a week, more if I can.

Get down to your subjects level

I say down because my subject tends to be a toddler, basically kneel down, sit down, stand on tip toes or steps, just do what you can to be on the same level as your subject and the photo will look instantly better. There are some exceptions to the rule, such as when you hover over them and they melt you with their big blue eyes, but generally, if you are stood up and your toddler is stood up it isn’t going to work. Kneel down to meet their eye level and you will see a huge difference in your photography.

 

Be real, but not too real

People like to be able to relate, people like to know that your life isn’t perfect, but people also like visually appealing photos. If I were to post a photo of Aria in a dark and dingy house with toys and general mess everywhere it would flop, it’s not pretty or funny, therefore it isn’t visually appealing, it is just a kid stood in a shit tip. Save that stuff for instagram stories, where, in my opinion, mess is perfectly acceptable, in fact, it’s desired. People are naturally attracted to clean, bright photos, so if you want your photo to stand out in amongst feeds stick to this.

Lighting is key

Good lighting can make all the difference to your photo, especially when using a phone. The golden hours (shortly after sunrise and before sunset) are the ultimate times for your whimsy perfect captures, but they aren’t always possible, especially when littles are involved. Believe it or not the best days for photography are your grey and overcast days. Try to avoid shooting in direct sunlight, especially at midday when it is at it’s strongest. If shooting indoors open up your curtains and let as much natural light in as possible, avoid turning lights on if you can as they often create a yellow glow which doesn’t look good. If this can’t be avoided you can easily adjust the colour temperature to make it cooler on most editing software, including Photoshop and PicMonkey.

Don’t post for the sake of posting

If you aren’t 100% happy with your photo don’t post it just because you have nothing else to post. People say consistency is key and that you should post your photos at the same time every day and stick to a regular posting schedule. This is right, but it won’t work if you post any old sub par photo just because you need to stick to your schedule. If you don’t have a photo that you are 100% happy with, it is okay not to post. If you really are concerned about sticking to a tight schedule then make sure that you have a bank of photos, instagram lost its instant a long time ago so don’t worry about posting a photo taken a while ago, as long as it is seasonally appropriate no one will bat an eyelid.

Take a wide selection of photos

For every one instagram photo that I post there are around one hundred that didn’t make the cut! Taking photos of a toddler is hard, be prepared to keep snapping away until you find the perfect photo. Burst mode is your friend.

Filters aren’t necessary to create a theme

Once upon a time I believed that you had to have a theme for your instagram account, and I decided that my theme would be to edit all of my photos with a hazy pink filter. This looked lovely on some photos, but on others, rather than adding to the photo it took away from it. Nowadays the majority of my photos are bright and colourful, but occasionally if I feel a photo would be better suited with a hazy filter I will add one. I’ve come to realise that my theme is me, my personality, my captions, and also Aria and (hopefully) good photos. If you do want to use filters for your photos (because there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing so) consider using out of app filters. Some of my favourite filters come in the form of Photoshop actions, these are relatively cheap to purchase, can be applied to your photo in the click of a button and give you a lot more control than instagram filters.

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun! 

Life really is about taking the rough with the smooth isn’t it? Like when I walk along the beautiful, scenic canal 🛶🦆most of it is lush, but what I don’t tend to show you is that I have to pass through dark, dingy, graffiti filled tunnels that stink of piss 🤢welcome to the valleys butt 🤛🏻 This weekend has been all about taking the rough with the smooth 👩🏻🙇🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️I had a fab day on Saturday at #ThisWelshMotherMeets, then I spent yesterday in A&E after Aria fell from the top to the bottom of our stairs 🚑 thankfully she was absolutely fine, but because it was such a big fall they had to monitor her for four hours just to be sure. I was so scared, stressed and worried and am now exhausted and drained 😴😴 We’ve also had stresses with the house sale/purchase being delayed and the solicitors at the top of the chain seemingly ignoring everyone 🤷🏻‍♀️ today I have been convinced that it would all fall through, to then discover that it’s all fine and the top of the chain want to complete FRIDAY 😱😱 we’ve had to say no, talk about short notice!

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#MyTrendyTot Round Up 2

I’m so pleased with how the #MyTrendyTot Instagram link up is going, it has only been running for twenty days and already we’ve had so many gorgeous photos linked up. Picking my favourites for the past two weeks was a real challenge, the tots of instagram sure are trendy!

 

I am a huge fan of anything with rainbows and splashes of colours so I obviously had to pick this one. This top is so fun and colourful, it would be great to brighten up a dull, grey day like today.

You can also find Lucy blogging at Hello Beautiful Bear.

Obviously I just had to include the birthday girl, as Kate says, who can resist a tutu? Not me that’s for sure!

You can also find Kate blogging at Counting To Ten.

What can I say about this one, not only is she pretty damn stylish, she also dresses herself, a little fashionista in the making!

You can also find Beth blogging at Twinderelmo.

 


Obviously I had to include a photo from my very own trendy tot who recently decided that it is all about the red lipstick, and lots of it! Watch my latest YouTube video to find out exactly what happened here.

Don’t forget to check out Chantele’s picks for the first #MyTrendyTot round-up here, and of course, link your trendy tot photos up on Instagram using #MyTrendyTot for a chance to be featured on one of our blogs and instagram accounts.

#MyTrendyTot – Kids Fashion Instagram Community

I have an exciting announcement! I have teamed up with the lovely Chantele, photographer and fellow Welsh blogger from Two Hearts One Roof, to bring you a new kids fashion linky over on my favourite social media platform, Instagram.

#MyTrendyTot a new kids fashion community linking on instagram .- share pictures of your fashionable toddler for a chance to be featured

Each fortnight we will be inviting people to link up, simply by using #MyTrendyTot on any Instagram photos that showcase your tots trendy outfit. Chantele and I will then take it in turns to share our favourites.

Our favourite images will be shared on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month. These we will be shared on Instagram and on our blogs, linking back to the instagram accounts and the blog (assuming that this information is easily available in your profile). For this month Chantele will be posting on the 15th and I will be posting on the 29th. 

You can find Chantele on Instagram as TwoHeartsOneRoof and me as CorneliusBlog and follow the #MyTrendyTot Hashtag here.

#MyTrendyTot starts today so please support us and get involved. 

Quickly & Easily Grow Your Instagram

Instagram is fast becoming one of the top social networking sites for social influencers and businesses alike. It is a powerful tool and if used well can bring you plentiful opportunities, drive traffic to your website and help to drive sales. There are even people who make a full time wage from Instagram alone.

 

While my following hasn’t shot up and isn’t huge it has improved drastically since making a few simple changes earlier this year. To grow your following massively you need to put a lot of time into Instagram, which sadly I don’t have. Today I’m going to be sharing some simple tips to help you quickly and easily grow your Instagram following, you can put as little or as much time into it as you want, obviously more time equals more likes/followers.

  • Find your tribe. Find a group of like minded Instagramers and agree to help each other out. Whether that be by liking each other’s photos, commenting on each other’s photos, or even better, both. This can really help you out as the more popular a photo is the more people Instagram will show it to. Also, if using hashtags the more likes and comments on a photo the more likely it is to be featured as the most popular for any particular hashtag.
  • Utilise Hashtags. Hashtags are there for a reason, use them. You can use up to thirty hashtags on any one image and I highly recommend using all of them as they can help your photo reach thirty potential new audiences, all with their own potential new followers. Where possible post the hashtags in the description of the image, if you don’t like how this looks be sure to post them as the first comment straight away. Be careful not to use just any old hashtag, instead research your hashtags and use them to describe what is in the photo. Have a look at what similar Instagram accounts are using for their hashtags, join in with hashtag linkys, these are very beneficial as they help you reach a wider audience and you could potentially be featured in a round up – scroll further down for a list of popular linky hashtags. Store your favourite hashtags in the notes section of your phone. If you are super organised (unlike me) store them in sections of thirty, ie, a parenting section, a homeware section, a travel section.
  • Only use high quality photos. When potential new followers visit your Instagram account most will make the decision of whether to follow or click off within a couple of seconds, simply by looking at the first six photos that they see. If you have posted, for example, a random drunk selfie this could potentially make that person click away instantly without bothering to scroll down and see the rest of your beautifully curated feed. Save your not so perfect photos for Instagram stories or Snapchat. Personally I take all of my Instagram photos on my DSLR. If you want to do this but your camera doesn’t have wifi built in I highly recommend purchasing an Eyefi card, it is a memory card with in built wifi which allows you to transfer photos straight from your camera to your phone/iPad via an app. There are similar cards out there but Eyefi is the only one that I have had experience of.
  • Engage, Engage, Engage! When it comes to building up your Instagram presence engagement really is key. Don’t simply post your photo and log off. Go through the hashtags that you’ve used and like/comment on the other photos in that hashtag, if you like the look of the account follow it. Be sure to like more than one photo from an account, you want your notifications to stand out and the best ways to do this are either by liking a few of their recent photos, 5-6 usually does the trick, or by leaving relevant comments. Don’t just concentrate on getting new followers, be sure to engage with the people who you already follow and who likely follow you. I often go through my newsfeed and click onto each individual profile and like a few of their photos, more often than not this favour is repaid, but don’t be disheartened if it isn’t.
  • Timing is key. The first few minutes of posting your photo are crucial. The new Instagram algorithm means that it deems how popular a photo is and how many people to show said photo to by it’s initial success. You need to attempt to drive likes and comments to your photo straight away. Do this by liking/commenting on photos straight after posting yours, target the most recent posts within the hashtags that you’ve used as these people may still be online so are likely to return the favour straight away.
  • Spread your photos out. If you go on a day out and take lots of pretty photos try and resist the temptation to publish them all onto Instagram straight away. Your followers will get annoyed if you clog up their newsfeed as people like to see a variety of photos when they log on. Instead store these photos and spread them out throughout the week, or the month. This way you have beautiful content to regularly update your account rather than spamming it all in one day and then having nothing to post for the next week.
  • Find similar accounts to yours. I love to follow parents with children around the same age as Aria, it is lovely to watch their child grow and see how they keep them entertained. I also like to follow accounts with beautiful homes. Accounts with similar content and interests to yours are more likely to follow you back, find them and engage with them. More so, if their account is similar to yours there is a chance to their followers will also want to follow your account, go through their list of followers and interact with them, follow them if their account takes your fancy, if not just like a few of their photos and maybe leave a few comments.
As mentioned above there are several hashtag linkys which can be hugely beneficial to growing your Instagram. Most of them are run by fellow bloggers and can often result in your image being featured on their Instagram account and sometimes their blog. Even if your image doesn’t get featured you are still sharing your picture to large audience simply by using the hashtag. There are lots of linkys and popular hashtags out there, you really do have to research this and find your favourites yourself, but here are a few to get you started :
#SaturdaySiblings – Run by Danielle (Instagram/Blog) and Harriet (Instagram/Blog). Link up your siblings photos each week using #SaturdaySiblings. Danielle and Harriet will each share their favourite four photos on their Instagram accounts.
#TheMagicInEveryday – Run by Hayley (Instagram/Blog) and Fiona (Instagram/Blog). Hayley and Fiona share a daily featured image and a weekly round up post on their Instagram accounts.
#LifeCloseUp – Run by Jenny (Instagram/Blog). Jenny shares her nine favourite images over on her Instagram account each week.
#LittleLoves – Run by Morgana (Instagram/Blog. Morgana shares her nine favourite images on her Instagram channel each week.
#RememberingTheseDays – Run by Laura (Instagram/Blog) and Clare (Instagram/Blog). Laura & Clare feature their favourite four images on both their blogs and Instagram channels every Sunday.
#MyHappyCapture – Run by Katy (Instagram/Blog) and Sian (Instagram/Blog). At the end of each month Katy and Sian both feature their favourite nine photos on their Instagram accounts and blogs.

#WhateverTheWeatherKids – Run by Jenny (Instagram/Blog). Link up your outdoor photos and Jenny will feature her favourite four photos on her Instagram account each Tuesday.

#UKExplore – Run by Karen (Instagram/Blog) and Rachel (Instagram/Blog). Each month both Karen and Rachel will share their favourite images on their blogs and Instagram accounts, they then each pick an overall winner to receive a National Trust Family Day Pass.
#DevelopingLife – Run by Debs (Instagram/Blog). A favourite image will be featured on her Instagram account daily.
#LoveLifeOutside – Favourite outdoorsy shots will feature on the LoveLifeOutside Instagram account.
#WorldOfLittles  – Run by Patricia (Instagram/Blog). This hashtag is a celebration of childhood, link up your relevant photos and Patricia will feature her favourite four on her blog and Instagram weekly.
#CaptureMyPositive – Run by Leyla (Instagram/Blog). This hashtag is a new one which has been created to inspire others to capture their positive moments. Leyla will feature her favourite images in a weekly round up.
Please be sure to only use the hashtags if they are relevant to the photos, hashtag dumping will not gain you followers, it will just annoy people and deter them from following you.
I hope that you’ve found this guide useful, if you have any other questions feel free to ask! Now I just need to start following my own advice….

This is what works for me personally, what works for one may not work for others.