How I Shoot + Edit + Plan My Photos for Instagram Using My iPhone
Before we start, please note: I’m not an expert. I’m not a photographer. I’m not Instagram famous. Taking pictures (of books) is what I consider a hobby and I find this fun.
So, here’s how I shoot, edit and plan photos for my Instagram using my iPhone.
GET A GOOD SHOT - Everything that comes after in this post won’t matter unless you have a good picture.
No. 1: You’ll need good lighting
Natural lighting is a game changer. Unless your theme is on the dark side, you’ll want good lighting to help your pictures pop and help your feed stay bright, vibrant, etc. This could be a personal preference, but just think about your favorite Instagram account… are there pictures bright? How do you want your pictures to look?
No. 2: Be willing to be that person taking a photo
For the most part, no one is watching you but if they are and judging you that’s something they’ll have to deal with on their own, amirite? I used to be shy about taking (multiple) pictures in public but now I live in Atlanta and I drive past people shooting music videos all the time. If you feel silly, you’ll rush through taking a picture and won’t be as poppin as it truly could be.
No. 3: Always take multiple
I take multiple shots, and after a couple I see what I have and ask myself: Do I like this spot? What should I move? What would make this better? Could another angle be better? I take pictures til I love it or the person I’m waiting for shows up or enough is enough. If I don’t get a good one, it’s not the end of the world. I won’t post something (anymore) that I don’t love because what’s the fun in that? Your IG doesn’t have to perfect, you just have to like it.
No. 4: Keep an eye out
Sometimes I’m out and I think, “wow that would make a great picture.” And then I take it, hopefully. And bonus points if I actually have a book with me. Whether I’m in the mood to take a picture is another thing, but it’s always fun to have spur of the moment posts mixed in with planned photos.
EDITING APPS - I actually don’t spend as much time on editing as I do everything else.
No. 1: VSCO
I use this app to edit the photo I deem the best out of the batch in the photo shoot. I pick a filter, decide on the filter’s intensity, then play with the tone and white balance. This is not how I was editing photos a year ago, so it could change. Right now I use KA1 for my photos, but I used to use E6. Some VSCO filters are free, some cost money.
No. 2: Unfold
If you want to have pretty IG stories, you can use Unfold. I just started using these to post multiple photos in one IG story, but there’s a lot you can do (including post multiple videos in IG stories).
GROWING YOUR ACCOUNT - I am bad at everything in this section, but I know it’s what I should be doing.
No. 1: Post consistently
I don’t think it has to be every day, but consistent for you is consistent enough. If it’s only on Sundays, and you’re posting every Sunday, that’s still consistent.
No. 2: Use hashtags
See what hashtags are relevant in your field. See what hashtags Instagrammers in your niche are using. Create a note in your notes app with the hashtags you want to use and post them in the comments.
No. 3: Comment on posts
Still, only comment if it’s genuine/you were already going to.
PLAN YOUR FEED - Do you have a theme to your account?
No. 1: Pick a theme
My theme is books (mine and others write) and coffee with random fun mixed in between. So I have a Bookstagram. Is your theme vinyl records, music, yourself? Timelapse videos of you playing videos or decorating? Archived photos/books/news stories of historical black women in New Orleans? People should be able to take a look at your feed and be able to see what it’s about through the first 9 photos that pop up.
No. 2: Plan your feed
The free app UnUm will help you pre-plan what your feed will look like. Do you want only every third picture to be one of you? You can pre-plan with unum.
Follow accounts you admire, it’ll spark ideas in you.
Don’t start a business account unless you’re trying to monetize soon/you feel a strong need to.
Listen to podcasts/youtube videos on the topics. That’s a big way I learn more.