I field many questions about what I do but for some reason as of late most of the intrigue is around my Instagram. It’s a bit, odd but it seems as though everyone, regardless whether they are in my industry or not, appears to be interested in curating the perfect “grid”. I wish I could say that it’s an effortless task and that not much thought goes into the images I post, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I mean, it does sound ridiculous but with Instagram now having more than 300 million users (roughly the population of the United States), there are some crazy super users such as myself, who go out of their way to create an aesthetically pleasing grid layout.
Anna Bediones of AnnaBediones.com
Alyssa Garrison of RandomActsOfPastel.com
Kirsy Lovett of KirsyLovett.com
My squad (who is also equally as obsessive about their Instagram content) and I recently attended Mogo Money’s first influencer event here in Toronto hosted by Christian Thompson of ChristianConfidential.com with one goal in mind – to capture dope motion shots at Skyzone Trampoline in collaboration with Kastor & Pollux. Who is Mogo? In short, a financial institution for our generation based out of Vancouver who is helping it’s customers become more conscious with their spending habits via pre-paid credit cards in addition to low interest rates for personal loans. Quite brilliant in my opinion that they are teaching younger folk to be fiscally responsible while still using their products. The best part about Mogo is #MogoPerks, a growing community where the brand has been introducing cool events, activations and other exclusive card holder benefits.
Vanessa Cesario of TheBrunetteSalad
Christian Thompson of ChristianConfidential.com
Without getting too technical and obsessive, here are some of the basics for improving your Instagram grid:
1. Do NOT use the Instagram app to take your photos.
This sounds elementary but I see it more often than you may think. I actually cringe when I see someone attempting to capture an image through the app’s camera as it doesn’t have the same functions as your phone’s camera; such as “zoom” and the “grid feature” – both help you to compose your photo better. If you have an iPhone, try to deliberately underexpose your shots to counter against the phone’s tendency to blow out some parts of the image. Last but not least, within the phone’s camera, you are also able to play with the focus to create a greater sense of depth before posting to Instagram.
2. Pay attention to composition.
Sure, symmetrical images are really appealing but majority of images are symmetrical. You don’t have to limit yourself by putting your subject in the middle of the frame all the time. It can sometimes create a boring with no sense of direction or energy. Try thinking “outside the box” (no pun intended) and attempt the rule of thirds. This form of photography technique means the frame is broken up into evenly into three horizontal or vertical sections with the subject oriented within these imaginary lines – and you will be surprised it results in a well balanced frame.
3. Hire a photographer.
If you are looking to enter into this crazy world of blogging, what you need to understand right away is “Content is King”. Having amazing imagery is what sometimes can set you apart from your peers. Although I am pretty decent working with my iPhone camera, I do have to call on some heavy hitter photogs at times to help me execute a vision or concept – especially when movement is involved.
The Kastor & Pollux team understands this all too well and hired famed photography duo Othello Grey and Neva Wireko to shoot movement images of our crew as we bounced around at Skyzone, which was probably the most fun I have had in years. Please do me and yourself a favour and check out their respective Instagram’s immediately. They are brilliant. The right photographer can execute an image effectively by understanding how to use light and the surroundings to ensure you get the perfect photo. More importantly, their post work and editing can bring a photo from 0 to 100 real quick.
4. Learn to edit like a pro.
Speaking of editing…capturing a good raw photo is important of course but everything lies in the edit my friend. Yes, Instagram has had several updates over the last few years and have added editing options that you can use prior to posting, but please do not rely on these. Every good blogger has their go-to editing apps that they literally swear by, I sure do! It has taken me longer than I would like to admit to develop an editing formula to create the aesthetic you currently see on my grid. I prefer to post groups of images within the same tones and colours, leaning towards bright, clean and slightly de-saturated shots. My fave editing apps right now – 1) VSCO 2) Photoshop Express and 3) FaceTune and 4) Snapseed. VSCO is probably the most important in my editing arsenal because I also pre-plan my Instagram posts there. By mirroring my grid within VSCO, I can strategically plan what to post next for the most optimal aesthetically pleasing appearance.
5. Learn to love light.
Good light can actually do wonders, trust me! Even the most novice of photographers can produce a great image with natural light. The type of ideal lighting you need really depends on the type of image being shot and more importantly whether it’s a shot being taken indoors or outdoors. For example, with outdoor photography, you may hear of people speak of the “Magic Hour” or the Golden Hour which refers to that sliver of time in the day around sunrise or sunset where your images are bathed in the golden glow from the sun. Just after sunrise and late afternoon before the sun sets are also ideal times of the day to capture epic images because the light is not too harsh.
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