My instagram journey so far & how I edit my photos...

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Instagram is by far and away my favourite social media channel. Facebook is for chatting to my friends far away (and the occasional stalk of 'hey do you remember so and so'), twitter sort of feels like I'm walking into a room where everyone else knows eachother, and I shout something embarrassing, and Snapchat is how I loose whole hours of my life even though I'm never really sure why. 

That Instagram though.

Instragram to me, is a place to go when I need a little inspiration. It's the only social media app I open first thing on a morning because my feed is a place of positivity and perfection. Instagram is somewhere I can wake up to a delicous breakfast, an amazing outfit and an inspirational quote without having to go to the effort of making breakfast, getting dressed or being inspiring.

Yes sometimes it is too perfect. I, like everyone, suffer from the occasional spot of insecurity and jealousy, but most of the time I am ok with the fact that instagram is a place where everyones best bits go.

While I've always loved following others on instagram  I haven't always loved my own profile. Not because I don't think my life is instagrammable, with the right light everybody's life is instagrammable, but because I was just a bit rubbish at taking a good shot. Before posting, I always felt a bit like my photos were stood outside a bar waiting for a bouncer to tell them 'Sorry love, not with that filter.'

I'm not saying, I'm now 'good' at instagram, but recently I have been beginning to feel a hell of a lot better about my gram-game. Now while my photos might not be the best dressed in the club, at least they don't feel too out of place being there!

It's taken a pretty long time for me to get to this point though.

I first started using instagram 3 years ago, when I bought a really rubbish HTC camera off a friend who excitedly exclaimed "instagram works on it" and I nodded with enthusiasm despite not really knowing what instagram was. 

My first few posts were badly lit snapshots of whatever I was doing at the time, with my favourite amaro filter knocked on the top of it. There were no hashtags or real explanation of what was happening, it was just 'hey this is what I'm doing right now' and while the photos weren't great part of me likes that it was instant. It was a snapshot of what was happening their and then. I didn't spend hours editing, or worrying if this fitted in with my theme or my blog, I just took the photo and uploaded. Get this... I didn't even use hashtags.

When I read blog posts about how people choose a theme for their instagram, how long they spend editing their photos and how they drive up those likes, I feel torn. Part of me thinks isn't INSTAgram meant to be instant? Shouldn't it be personal, a photo diary of some sorts, a glimpse behind the scenes, of peoples wonderful but imperfect lives? But then the other part of me loves getting inspiration from instagram. I love that looking at other peoples boards motivates me to spend a little bit more time thinking about my photography and what I post.

So I no longer JUST post what is happening right now, but I still want my instagram to be personal. I still want to include a selfie every now and then, or a picure of something that isn't exactly hashtag friendly. I WANT my instagram to be edited BUT honest, and where it is right now I'm pretty happy with. 

In coming to this point in my instagram journey I've also found a way of editing photos that allows me to feel confident enough that my photos will make it into the club, while still staying true to themselves.

I want to point out at this point that I am in no way whatsoever shaming people who do spend more time on their photos and instagram, I admire them, and those accounts are the ones that inspire me, but if like me you don't have a DSLR or don't want to spend lots of time editing, I thought I'd share how I edit my photos.

Basically all of instagram photos are taken on Samsung S5, much like most of the photos on my blog are. I don't own a DSLR, and my real camera is a bit bulky, and not that much better than my phone anyway. The Young Man has recently invested in a DSLR and I've started playing around with that a little, but using my phone camera allows me to still be instant.

I also only ever edit photos on my phone. I don't own a fancy laptop or any fancy editing software, and even if I did I honestly don't have the inclination to upload my photos to my computer than back to my phone. I also don't have the skills! 

The main app I use to edit my photos is Aviary. I think this might be a very under the radar app, as I've never seen it appear in any 'top apps' list and don't know of anyone else that uses it, but personally I love it. It is a free app, that comes with a number of presets free, including, filters, stickers and frames, then there are HUNDREDS of extra packs you can buy for as little as 79p each. I don't tend to use any filters or frames etc. but I like to play round with them every now and then, and the design of them is lovely should that be your kind of thing.

I mainly use the free hand editing tools, that allow me to change the brightness, contrast, saturation etc. of my photos. I do this for every photo I post to instagram now. I like my photos to be bright and colourful (if I had to say what my 'theme' was that would be it) so I always turn up the brightness, contrast on saturation. I also sometimes take out some shadows, or change the highlights as well depending on how good the lighting of the photo was to begin with. After doing this, I like to tint my photos slightly pink as I like the way this makes the majority of photos look and how it makes the colours stand out. I also think this helps all my photos sit together in my grid.


And that's basically it. I keep the majority of my photos square and very rarely use any filters or editing with instagram itself.

As I said way back at the beginning of this post, my photos are by no way perfect, and no doubt as I go on, they will get better and maybe one day I'll invest in a dslr and want to showcase that on instagram more. I will also freely admit that, like with my recent holiday photos from Lisbon, I do post pictures a couple of days or even weeks after I took them, if they fit my mood for that day. Like everyone I like to use hashtags, I like to post pretty things, and I edit my photos and the parts of my life I am sharing on there, but I'm ok with that. Going forward I want to bring a bit more of the personal back to balance it all out.

How do you feel about instagram and what do you use to edit your photos? Leave a comment or you can tweet me @teacuptheatre! And if you don't already follow me on instagram here! x

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