How I'm Planning My Instagram

Friday 27 January 2017

Hey everyone! How is your week going? Mine is going so fast and not to wish my life away too much, but I am hoping it keeps up the pace as Wednesday's are by far and away my longest day! 

Today I want to get back on schedule and have a quick catch up about everyone's favourite social media platform - instagram. 

It isn't actually that long since I last shared how I edit my instagram photo's but since then I've bought a sony a6000 and spent a lot more time not just editing a photo but really thinking about what I'm photographing and posting.

I really struggle with the idea of having a 'theme' and for a long time really rallied against putting too much planning into my instagram. I only have one instagram account which I use for my blog and personal photos, so I liked the idea of keeping things 'instant.' And like I do with my blogging schedule, I still like to leave room for posting in the moment. However my photography and instagram has become another creative outlet for me. One that isn't linked to theatre or writing and therefore never feels like 'work.' I like that my photos don't have to be perfect but that I can also spend hours on them just for fun.

My blog and my instagram are the only places I have to share my photo's so naturally, if I'm putting a lot of effort into taking them, then I want my instagram to reflect that.

Towards the end of last year I finally gave in and started to think about a theme and I'm now really happy with how my 'grid' looks (although you'll never hear me say 'grid goals') So if like me you're rethinking how you use instagram but don't really know how to start, here are my tips for planning out your theme.

Finding Some Inspiration

The first thing I did was look at the instagram accounts I truly genuinely loved the most. I'm sure like me you'll have hundreds of people you follow that give you real instagram envy, but the key with this one is to diferentiate between the profiles you admire and the ones you love. There is no denying that bright white grids, full of flat lays look stunning, but they don't really speak to me. The accounts that capture London looking beautiful, dark and moody, fill me with awe simply at the skill, but I don't see my life reflected in them.

I don't live in a big city, I don't have photogenic beauty products, and I can't keep anything clean and white for longer than ten seconds so blog wirthy flat lays are out of the question. The accounts I truly love are colourful, and busy, and full of life. Once I'd worked this out, I screenshotted their profiles, and looked at what they had in common. Is there an editing style that they all seem to use? Do all their photos have a common colour? Are they sharp? High contrast? Black and white? 

For me I like the accounts that don't rule out anything in terms of what they are capturing. They post moments of real life. Some of their photos are busy, and then balanced out with photos that contain a lot of space. They are colourful but not highly contrasting or saturated. They're relatively unstaged. They have an identity. When I look at their photos I get a sense of who is posting them and what their life is like.

Choosing What To Post

From this I decided what I wanted to post. As I've already mentioned I SUCK at staging flat lays, so I decided to stop trying - I don't enjoy taking them, they never come out how I want them too, and they don't really reflect me. I decided I wanted my photos to keep real, moments of my life that actually happened. If you spot a flat lay on my grid it's from a coffee shop. I drink A LOT of hot beverages and I wanted my instagram to feature that. I love traveling and exploring and this is when I take my most photos so I want my instagram to become a bit of a visual diary. I've never taken an outfit photo - so while this might change in the future, for now fashion doesn't feature too heavily. I do take the odd selfie, and I like that when you look at my instagram you can see who I am. 

I guess this comes down to why you are using instagram. If you have a strict purpose then your photos should probably adhere to that, if you're a beauty blogger who loves beauty post about it, if you're a fitness junkie then get us all motivated with your gym life selfie!

Choosing an Editing Style

Once you've worked out what you want to post, and you've identified the photos that inspire you most it is time to work out an editing style. My 'theme' largely comes from the fact that I now edit all my photos in exactly the same way. I like my photos to be bright, and colourful, but still soft, so I always turn up the brighteness but slightly lower the contrast and saturation. My favourite apps for doing this, are Avairy and Facetune, but A Color Story have recently released a new pack of filters called 'Flashes of Delight' and these are PERFECT for me. 

My editing style is a bit like my wardrobe, bright and colourful, but not too contrasting or daring.

Using Plann

Even once I'd worked out my editing style, I still found that my photos didn't always sit next to one another harmoniously. I know a lot of people used to use VSCO to plan out their instagram, and then moved to mosaico, but I have an android phone and found these weren't all that compatible with my Samsung. Then I came across the Plann app.

I first downloaded this app about 5 months ago. It was £7.99 when I first bought it, and while I liked that I could move photos around pre plan my captions I found it to be a bit clunky. However it has recently updated itself and it is an absolute game changer! Now I can, plan my grid out, write out my captions, and save my hashtags in different groups. It is honestly now SO easy to put together an instagram post. And while you can't get it to autopublish (instagram doesn't let any app do this) you can set a reminder that prompts you to post.  

As I said, I still like to leave room to post things as and when they are happening, Plann lets me preview what my post will look like, as well as save my poor fingers from typing out hash tag after hashtag.

Captions & Engagement

This is my most recent change in my approach to instagram. Towards the end of last year I began to get a bit obsessed with follower numbers. I was posting every day, to build up my theme and followed every tips post going. And do you know what? It bought me no joy whatsoever - plus I very quickly ran out of photos. So I've recently changed tactics, and like with my blog, I'm going to focus on engagement NOT numbers. One of the main ways I'm doing this is through using my captions as a little bit of a microblog. 

I know a lot of you probably already did this, but I never really paid much attention to my own captions before but I now figure that while my photos might be from three weeks ago, my caption is what is happening right now. Keeping that balance between pretty photos and real time feelings. 

And that's as far as I've got so far! I really love reading about how other people are editing their photos and instagrams, and I always take away a little bit of inspiration so hopefully you've got some from this! What would your number one tip for instagram be? And have you found your theme or approach changing lately? As always let me know in the comments x
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