As a designer, Instagram is a great way to promote my work. I have a second Instagram account just for my art and design work. Since the new API update, Instagram has allowed business accounts to directly schedule photos rather than manually post them. Today I thought I would share how I edit and schedule Instagram photos for my art account.
I’m still working on my 100-day project so usually, I will wait for a free day so I can take multiple photos at the same time. Setting out a good chunk of time to take a batch of photos works better for me as I actually get it done. I’m liable to forget if I’m taking photos whenever I get a chance throughout the day.
First I start out by taking the pictures. I’ve always found natural lighting works best. I take all my photos next to a window but in the shade, so the highlights aren’t blown out. It always helps if the image is in focus however there are times when an out of focus photos can look good as well.
As for composing the image, I’ve found the photo looks better when its natural. I tend to have a messy desk and this works really well for Instagram. For actually taking the photos I use my Samsung phone. Sometimes I will use an SLR if I can’t use my phone. But for the most part, taking images on my phone is easier. The process of getting them onto my computer is simpler and I also have the option of editing photos on the phone if I choose to do that.
TRANSFER TO THE COMPUTER
I have Google Photos set up to automatically backup all my images to the cloud. This means getting images onto my Mac is really easy. I check to make sure the images have been backed up then visit the Google Photos website from my laptop. If everything has worked I should find all my photos there.
Then I choose and download the images I want to edit and save them into the Google Drive folder on my computer. The advantage of having Google Drive on my computer is that the files are constantly being synched with the cloud. If I want an edited image back on my phone I can just find it using the Google Drive app.
EDIT IN PHOTOSHOP
Once all the files are on my laptop I will open them in Photoshop. You don’t have to use Photoshop. This just happens to be the photo editing software I use because I have a Creative Cloud subscription. It’s totally possible to find free photo editing packages like GIMP or edit images on your phone using the Instagram app or something like VSCO.
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There are all sorts of different ways to edit photos in Photoshop. I use the Camera RAW mode to up the brightness and contrast. I want to make sure the photo is really bright with the white areas appearing as a true white. I will then go in and burn the darker areas to brighten them even further. I find that this is the best way to get an image which looks really bright and vibrant on the Instagram app.
SCHEDULE INSTAGRAM PHOTOS
I use Iconosquare to schedule Instagram photos. Since Instagram changed their API any user with a business account can directly schedule images without having to manually post them when the time comes. You don’t have to use Iconosquare specifically. There are a number of services which allow you to manage your Instagram posts. They all tend to start from around £10 a month for a single user.
The great thing about Iconosquare is it can show me a huge amount of analytics about my Instagram account. Including which times are the best for me to post, usually based on the amount of interaction they get. Scheduling images is just a case of dropping them onto the calendar at the right time. I tend to only post once or twice a day. I find this makes it easier to post consistently.
The thing I love most about Iconosquare is the ability to see how my Instagram grid will look with my newly scheduled photos. Having a grid which looks cohesive isn’t something I pay much attention to. But since my photos are all taken at my desk they tend to look similar anyway. Occasionally I will swap around the order of the scheduled images just if I think the grid could look a little better.
This is the best workflow I’ve found for me just now. It allows me to schedule a week of Instagram posts at a time. Of course, it isn’t the only way you can schedule Instagram photos. You don’t even need to edit images on the computer. It is totally possible to edit and schedule from your phone and still get a really nice looking image.