6 Tricks For Better Instagram Photos

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Hi there! Are you doing well? I’m sending love & positive vibes your way! Life can be tough. Make it a little easier by being kind to yourself ❤

I thought I’d share a few tricks for Instagram photos that I’ve learned through trial and error so that maybe you don’t have to learn the hard way! I’m no expert, and I just do Insta for fun, so this is a pretty basic tutorial.

I joined Bookstagram a few months ago and absolutely LOVE IT! It is so fun to indulge my creative side and see what I can do with the books I love. I shared some tips & tricks for Reels in another post, so check that out if you’re interested.

Without further ado, here are my 6 tricks for better Instagram photos:

1 Lighting – I can’t stress this enough. Not only will it help with the sharpness and clarity of your photos, but people love bright photos on Instagram! Some of my older stuff is not very bright, and it looks a bid dingy to be honest. I tend to get more likes on brighter photos, and people on IG just really like the bright look. This looks like a pretty good photo light, if you need one.

Photography lights for a studio.
Photo by tyler hendy on Pexels.com

2 Stick with a vibe. A flavor. An aesthetic, if you will. My photos have a bit of an airy, classic vibe. Lots of cream colors, muted tones, flowers, and fur. I also have been using the same backdrop (it’s actually a table cloth) for a while and it gives my my wall a really cohesive feel. I started getting more traffic once I started to stick with the same vibe throughout my pictures. This way, my followers know what to expect from me. If you scroll down further in my account, you can see that my earlier photos were a bit all over the place. We grow, we learn. That’s why you’re here, right?

Happy woman with a colorful aesthetic. Flashing her loud vibe.
Photo by Karley Saagi on Pexels.com

3 Photos have are more visually pleasing when they’re a little off-center. Now, this isn’t always the case, but it usually is. For book stacks (I’m a Bookstagrammer) I will usually keep them pretty on-center, but for one book or a collection of books laid out on a backdrop, it’s good to make the focus point off-center.
Turn on your grid while taking a photo. Try to make your focus point line up with one of the intersections. This can be a book, or a picture or word on the book (if you’re taking a picture of books). It’s also best if they are not straight up & down. Keep in mind that your camera typically takes a rectangular photo, while Instagram will crop to square, so the situating may be done after the fact.

4 Knick-knacks and other random items can add depth and interest to your photos. I have some pebbles, candles, flowers, decorative balls, rings, and bookmarks that can all be mixed & matched to create the look I’m going for. Adding things that pertain to the subject of your photo is always good as well. Placement should be done with your focal points in mind, but also with a bit of randomness. Working too hard on placement can sometimes add stiffness to a photo. Below, you can see 3 different placements of items. I kept rearranging until it felt right.

5 Filters – I actually edit my photos in the IG app. I know a lot of people use other softwares, but frankly I’m just too lazy to do that. When editing, I will pick a filter first. This way, the little touch-ups I do will look good with the filter I’ve chosen. As I mentioned before, I’m trying to stick with a certain vibe, so I only use like 3 of the filters. I pick the one I like best for the photo I’m editing based on lighting, subject, and the feel of the photo.

Woman using a filter. She is wearing red and the photographer has captured her serious mood.
Photo by RF._.studio on Pexels.com

6 After you’ve chosen a filter, select Edit to adjust other aspects of your photo. I usually crop and move my photo around until the focal point is right where I want it. If there’s only one book, I like it to be a bit off-center. Adds some dimension. I’ll also play with the other toggles until I get the look I’m going for. Usually upping the brightness, saturation, and warmth, and lowering contrast. It depends on the photo, and the vibe you’re going for, but this just fits for me. I also really like the sharpness and structure options. It pulls out the shiny little details like the glitter in the table cloth or the shine on the book without overdoing the brightness. Don’t be afraid to play around with it until you get the look you’re going for. You can always press and hold on the image to compare to the original.

I’ve included the before and after below so you can see the results!

I hope you found these tips helpful! I’d love to see some of your photos or hear any other tricks you’d like to share, so feel free to add you account or pointers in the comments below!

Check out my Bookstagram account if you’re interested in seeing my work.

Sending love,

MK

9 Tips For Better Instagram Reels

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Hi there! I hope you’re doing well. Are you taking care of yourself? You should be, because you are worth every ounce of effort.

I have been so surprised by how fun Instagram can be! I joined as a Bookstagrammer only a few months ago (check out my profile here), but I’ve got a decent following, and I’m having a blast.

I really didn’t expect to. I joined mainly to create a social platform, but I have fallen in love with the Bookstagram community and also with the art of photos & videos.

I have learned a lot since I started (sometimes I look through my old posts and cringe a little). One of my favorite things to do is Instagram Reels. Reels are also great for the dreaded algorithm. Insta likes to show off your Reels. I was a little nervous about them at first, but now that I understand them, they’re a breeze!

I thought I’d share a few tricks I use when creating a Reel. Keep in mind, these will be catered mostly to books, but you can apply it to your own content as well.

1 Good lighting is essential, whether for photos or reels. Natural light is best, or white light if you don’t have a nice spot by a window. I have a big empty space on my office floor right in front of a window that I keep clear for Insta photo shoots. Here’s a link to some photo lights if you don’t have any.

Lighting. Photography. Photo Light. Bright.
Photo by Anete Lusina

2 A phone stand has been a life-saver for me. I couldn’t make most of my Reels without one. I see a lot of people making Reels that seem a little shaky. They look fine, but you’re not reading this tutorial for your Reels to be fine. If you need to get one, this one looks good and is a decent price.

Photography. Photo. Picture. Phone. Phone stand.
Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

3 Pick your music first. Now, this is not essential, but I’ve found it fun to make sure I’m on beat when I switch scenes or do a trick. It gives the Reel a more polished feel in the end. You can find music to add by clicking on the music note & searching for a song.

Music. Listening. Beat.
Photo by Moose Photos

4 Edit as you go and preview, preview, preview. Reels can only be so long, so you may run out of time if you’re not trimming as you go. Also, back to 3, you might not be on beat if you aren’t accounting for the snipped ends of each video.

Timeline. Time. Editing.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5 Transitions are one of the hardest parts of making a Reel. One thing I have learned is to make sure that the scenes you are stitching together line up with each other. For example, one trick I do is to flick the book, and when I pull it back up, it’s a different book! MAGIC! Check out an example here (3rd transition). First, I made sure that I was holding both books with the same hand at close to the same position on the camera. Then, I trimmed the end of the first scene until the book was at its lowest point, then I trimmed the beginning of the other until I found the same position. You should also pick a relatively blurry frame so that the transition isn’t quite as obvious. The goal is to watch one book descend, then another ascend, which you can see between Wicked King and Blood & Honey in the linked video.

Editing. Photography. Videography. Instagram reels.
Photo by Plann on Pexels.com

6 Once you have all your scenes, Preview to double check the transitions and how they line up with your audio. Is every transition clear? Does your audio end on a weird beat? Did you miss a trim?

Thinking. Editing. Video.
Photo by Martin Pu00e9chy on Pexels.com

7 In Preview, click on those 3 line toggles at the top. These are your audio controls. I usually keep my music all the way up, but make sure your Camera Audio is on 0, unless you want your shuffling sounds in the background. If you are talking in your video, ignore this step.

Editing. Sound.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

8 If you want words on screen, you can tap on the scene and type as normal. Want to make them only appear for a certain part of the video? Click on the excerpt block at the bottom left of the screen, then use the trimming toggles on either side of the video to trim to how long you want the words to appear.

Post. Traffic. How to get traffic. Volume. Impressions.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

9 Posting is pretty final for a Reel. You cannot go back and edit the Reel (just like with your photos), but you also can’t edit the words of your post (unlike with your photos). Triple check your spelling and grammar. make sure you are ready to post this, otherwise you will be deleting your post, which is rarely a good idea. Make sure you have all the hashtags you want on there, you cannot go back and edit them later. Of course, you can comment more if you do miss some. I would actually suggest doing this anyways as I have noticed more traffic when I go back later and add a few fresh hashtags.

Post. Instagram. Photography. Videography. Reels. Traffic. Reach.
Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

I’m not an expert, and I’m still learning, but I wanted to share this with you so that maybe Reels won’t be quite so scary anymore. Enjoy!

Sending love,

MK

Linux says your Reel is the bomb-diggity.