There are a million reasons why I enjoy Instagramming; mainly because of the way I can make people feel something with the photos I share, partly because photography has been my creative outlet aside from fashion design. Honestly, Instagram has opened doors for me, and it started the day I decided to be the ambassador of my own brand (plus put my gmail on my bio).
The thing is, aside from Instagram being the best thing since sliced bread, it allows you to shape how people see you. Your name is your brand, your bio is your business card, and your photos are your trademark; so it’s important to post strategically. Aside from it being an avenue for personal branding; it can also be where you might be scouted by your next employer, or become the vehicle for your next big opportunity. Now that I (might) have convinced you on why you should take Instagram seriously, let’s get back to the drawing board.
I’ve gained a number of followers in the span of a year, and I can’t really put my finger on why exactly, but i’m pretty sure it’s steady credit to some of these tips below.
So let me help you, up your IG game.
Here’s 10 reasons why my Instagram is better than yours (at the moment, of course):
1.I always try to ENGAGE
- Keep your captions original and don’t hold back compliments or comments. If you like a photo, just double tap 🙂
2. I MAXIMIZE the reach of each post
- TAG and CREDIT like crazy. If your post gets noticed or reposted, then there’s a bigger chance their followers will be redirected to your account. Tagging people & places gets your photo on the explore page, where friends of friends can see your post too
- It’s all about LOCATION. Add the location of where you took the photo, so when people look up a place on IG they’ll find your photo in the location’s stream.
- Hello HASHTAGS! Each post allows a maximum of 30 hashtags. These are my favorites:
#vsco #vscocam #instafood #vscodubai #vscoph #thatsdarling #myunicornlife #flashesofdelight #foodporn #visualsoflife #postthepeople #neverstopexploring #lonelyplanet #socality #killeverygram #ZomatoUAE #FotografiaUnited #livetocreate #peoplescreatives #passionpassport #liveauthentic #pursuepretty #nothingisordinary #finditliveit #vscofolk #instamood #shotoniphone6 #igersdubai #huntgramuae #mydubai
3. I follow people & pages that INSPIRE me
..and I think you should too! You’ll often end up carrying over a piece of their style into your posts & along the way.
(back shots, hands in frame during food flatlays)
(“la vie en rose” pastels, marble tables, faded filters and breakfast with fowers)
(pretty desktops, macarons & café culture)
(minimalist portraits, lafang & lamyerda #goals)
Now you know where I find my insta-inspiration, go ahead and find yours! You’ll eventually develop your own style 🙂
4. I stick to a THEME
- Pops of color
- Bright & sunny
- Pretty pastels
I’m kind of Obsessive about how my feed registers in just a glance, Curation is easy and anyone can do it.
- First, you have to make sure your first 9 squares stand for who you are or what the things you love are.
- Second, each photo you post doesn’t clash with the one beside or under it. That’s it!
So simple, right? I personally post something, take a screen shot, delete, then choose which one best fits my current theme.
5. I try to find BEAUTY IN THE ORDINARY, then EDIT
Basically, anything ordinary can be made amazing (especially with the help of some editing).
(Waves on the beach)
I’m definitely a VSCO person, if you are too, here’s my fix: Filter A6, Exposure +1, Contrast -1, Saturation +1, Fade +2, Sharpen +2, Tint +1. My cheat sheet for natural-looking effortlessly-beautiful photos. Just find the potential in the ordinary, and make it work! 🙂
6. I believe in TIMING & CONSISTENCY
My followers are from the Philippines, so I post around 6:00-8:00 p.m. (GMT+8). I personally get to scroll through Instagram after work, I guess that’s the best time to post, when everyone’s waiting for dinner or scrolling through their social media news feeds before bed.
Honestly, in this generation, anyone can pass for a food photographer! The key is to end up with a drool-worthy food photo. If you need to share a photo of what you’re having for breakfast or lunch alone, try to add whatever’s on the table so your photo won’t look so bare. (In this case, salt, pepper, and the bill.)
If you’re with friends then go for flat lays! It captures everything on the table.
(my friend hannah’s phone is a staple in all my flat lay photos! haha)
To take the perfect flat lay, ensure proper lighting, apply adequate spacing, include something else other than just the food itself (like a magazine, gadgets, or some flowers), and get a good angle (Often you have to shamelessly get up on a chair, but I promise you it’s worth all the shame and effort. haha!)
and when you’re too shy to stand on a chair for the perfect shot, go for something across the table.
If looking at the photo gets you hungry, then it’s good-to-go!
(If you’re best friends with a photographer, then skip this part. If not, read on)
Let the person taking the photo know how you want your photo to look like by taking his/her photo first, then let him/her copy your frame. Just like this:
Give as much instruction as you can, it helps them understand how exactly you want your photo to look like.
Take a snippet from where you’re standing or what you see around you. I love seeing photos of where my friends are or what they’re looking at, it helps me think of and miss them more 🙂
10. I keep it PERSONAL
Totally saved the best piece of advice for last! The most important thing for you to realize is to always keep your profile personal. Here’s some of the milestones in my career that I shared on Instagram:
The day I auditioned for Project Runway Phils. and The view outside my window in the morning.
Waiting for customers in a local coffee shop plus the first set of calling cards I got as a young designer.
Post whatever floats your boat! Leave a sincere touch of YOU in every post & you’re sure to gather loyal followers (turned friends) through time.
So, as a recap, here’s 10 ways you can up your Instagram game starting today:
- Always try to ENGAGE
- MAXIMIZE the reach of each post
- FOLLOW people and pages that INSPIRE you
- Stick to a THEME
- Try to find the BEAUTY IN THE ORDINARY, then EDIT
- Believe in TIMING and CONSISTENCY
- Enjoy your FOOD – but take photos first!
- Take more PORTRAITS
- Go PLACES
- Keep it PERSONAL
Now go on and enjoy Instagramming! If this helps, let me know! 🙂