Oh Instagram, you barrel of soul destroying grids.
Hey remember the days before the algorithm when we actually gained followers and people actually interacted and we got an engagement rate of more than 5%? WHAT A TIME THAT WAS.
Needless to say that content has never been more king when it comes to insta, if your grid ain't looking incredible, then you're just not going to boss this platform anymore (you know on the off chance that insta has a fluke and decides to show your images to more than 10% of your follower count.)
I tend to keep it a strictly phone photography affair when it comes to my insta, call it a personal preference, but I somehow feel that those images edit better using the tools I have available on my phone, and it just keeps it all very simple. The exclusion to this is when I do factor in photos from my blog posts, which does happen from time to time. Those will usually be shot using my Canon 600d, or the Canon 5d which is what my photographer, Kaye uses.
I'll usually leave these photos as they are when I pop them on insta, as they've already been edited on my laptop using lightroom or photoshop. However, I will sometimes play around with them a little, usually just using the in house edit tools on Instagram. The main ones I tend to play with are highlights, vibrancy and exposure, just to make sure it still fits in with the theme of the grid I'm going for that week.
So hey - how about I stop nattering on and we get onto what this post is actually supposed to be about - INSTAGRAM APPS. RIP the good old days when all we needed was VSCO, VSCO was basically my go to and I didn't really need anything else. I could edit, have super cool filters, see my grid in advance and pretty much do everything in VSCO, treating it as a one stop shop. But with the changes they made last year, I was on the hunt for some new apps to use to edit photos, plan my grid, and analyse my stats. So here enter the new gang of apps that have been treating me well for the last year or so.
So it seems that when it comes to organising your grid in advance, there are two main contenders ahead of you, Planoly and Unum. Now it's worth mentioning that Planoly is a paid for subscription app, whereas Unum is free, however Planoly does have a free version of the app, which allows you to see limited analytics. And although Unum probably lets you see more for the price, I just can't help it because guys I just bloody love Planoly. This may be in part because of how much of a millenial pink theme it has going on, I mean I am pretty much an OG basic bitch, and not really ashamed tbh.
Being able to analyse my progress over the week, month and year has become such a useful tool, now that I tend to get quite a few collaboration offers with Instagram. (Or lol cc @instagram, lack there of RE the progress. Wanna make things go back to a chronological order please?) The analytic tools are a fantastic way to see what posts are best performing, for myself - I've personally found that my personal style and travel posts perform better than any of my others, this really helps me tailor my content, because I obviously want to produce the content that you guys want to see.
I used to be Photoshop all the damn way, being one of those annoying people that had spent so long crafting my photoshop skills that I pretty much refused to use anything else because adding a new software just seemed way too difficult to deal with. But now that my Photoshop subscription comes with Lightroom included, I decided to give it a go earlier this year, and I've gotta say I've absolutely loved playing around with it for Blog Photography. For basic edits, it's a really fantastic tool to speedily edit photos.
Then I discovered the Iphone app and my life basically changed. Being able to custom save the edit presets that you use on your lightroom account has been a gamechanger for me, I edit my photos usually to the same style, I like things to be quite clean, bright and clear, with minor playing around with aperture and focus. This means, lighting dependent, I end up using a lot of the same presets a lot of the time. The Lightroom app allows me to save these presets and use them on my instagram photos, which for when you're keeping in line with a theme, makes things SO DAMN EASY.
A COLOUR STORY
A Colour Story is an app I hadn't actually heard of at all until last year, it's the pet project of one of my favourite creativity blogs, A Beautiful Mess. If you haven't looked on their blog before (I seriously don't know what you do with your spare time, GO LOOK NOW.) It's very similar to what VSCO used to be, they have so many incredibly cool filters and edits to play around with and edit photos to a particular theme. PSA - if you're looking for cool edits on photos, I also HEAVILY recommend their Photoshop Actions, some of the best purchases I have ever made! I also get a little kick out of knowing I'm supporting a small business and helping them do what they love!
I really love how easy the app makes editing my photos, and I also adore that the filters are a little different to the ones that you usually see on VSCO and other, bigger editing apps. Standing out on Instagram has never been more important, so I love that editing your photos on this app, just helps you nudge yourself a little in that direction!
What apps do you guys like using on Instagram? Do you have any top tips for standing out on the platform nowadays?