For Photographers: Get noticed on Instagram in… 5 days!

I’ve just published a new Instagram account for my fashion photography, videography and directing, and would like to share a few of the techniques and styles I used to make it stand out from the usual post-by-post format that most of us are familiar with.

I am a wedding photographer and a fashion photographer, and one usually complements the other. My wedding couples like the fashion influence in my work, and I’ve met some of my best commercial clients at the weddings I’ve been working at. I was full time fashion photograph for a few years before I ever shot my first wedding, but once I started, it was at these events where I really cut my teeth as a photographer. Weddings are hardcore!

On a fashion shoot you can control your environment, the lighting, the timing. You can pause, check, adjust, continue. Not so at weddings. Most of the time, whilst you can plan before hand, you are playing catch up, with no opportunity to stop the proceedings to re shoot something you missed or didn’t get right the first time.

You have to deal with almost every style of light out there; tungsten lit hotels rooms, through the back-lit doorway into the dark church, out into the sunshine, followed by the rain, into the candle lit tent, and then on to the disco lights of the dance floor. To name just a few! Wedding photography really does separate the men from the boys, and the women from the girls.

It’s crazy to think that often people choose to photograph weddings as a hobby, or to subsidise their first choice discipline of travel photography, fashion, portraiture etc. Those who have experienced the pressure and responsibility of capturing these events will know the very idea of dipping in and out, is a best foolhardy. It takes a lot of time, practice, discipline and skill to be a great wedding photographer.

And yet this is not always appreciated in the fashion world. I still encounter a certain attitude when I mention that I photograph weddings.  I do understand it is a very different discipline and needs a unique approach, but I’m not sure that just because you can take a great photograph at a wedding, you should be excluded from another genre of photography. Testino has a few weddings to his name and no one got too upset!

Anyway, this is a very long way round to making the point of this post: I’ve made a separate Instagram account just for my fashion clients. I’ve been producing some stills and video content for Beyonce.com and her clothing brand, Ivy Park. By anyone’s standards Beyonce is at the forefront of fashion culture, and a lot of work goes in to making sure she and her brand stay there. I love shooting fashion and enjoy anything that pushes me, so I have curated an Instagram account for my clients in this domain.

I put aside a day to do this. That was five days ago. As anyone who has tried to update their website gallery or portfolio will know, the struggle is real. It’s just not easy. I’m still not 100% happy with it, but I gave myself until friday night, and promised I’d stop there. So this is how it’s going look for the time being!

It took me a while because there are a few extra shots I wanted to retouch from some of the shoots, I’m new to Gifs, and I wanted to have a play with a few different layouts. I didn’t reinvent the wheel, and I’m sure a few of my methods were a little a-roundabout, but I’ve put down some of the websites, apps, videos and techniques I’ve used, so I hope it’s helpful!

 

1. Gifs. I created a number of gifs by having different elements of a still image on different layers, and then exporting them as individual JPEGS. I then imported these into gifmaker.org to produce the gif, and then ezgif.com to turn the gif into mp4 video files, as IG doesn’t publish gifs directly. I use airdrop to send everything to my phone to upload to IG. I don’t use any editing or filter within IG. Everything is done within PS with the help of Alien Skin Exposure 5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Splitting images across multiple posts. Instagram posts are 1080 x 1080 pixels, so I made a template 3240 x 2160 to post single images across multiple posts. I used the guides to show where the separate posts would be divided. I divided one image, or a collage of images, in different ways across the grid, then flattened and cropped the individual 1080 x 1080 JPEGS.

 

 

3.Polaroids and film edges. There are so many way to do this now. Devientart.com is a great place to download templates like polaroid boarders and film and negative edges. I found this video helpful. I also like the free Instants app if you want to do it all on your phone. I played with a masking tape effect brush I downloaded. I didn’t end up using it in the final selection, but it does look great when coupled with the polaroid frame and some paper textures.

 

 

4. Videos. I posted a few of my recent videos straight into IG. You can select the thumbnail image that you would like to be displayed, so they look good as still posts.

 

 

5. Retouch. One of my ambitions this winter is to become better at retouch and my Capture One to PS workflow. I used this contouring technique for these pictures because it’s quick and good enough for IG, but I follow Michael Woloszynowicz and use the dodge and burn technique when I have more time and it’s a commission. I also like Phlearn’s video tutorials.  I added some eyelashes using a brush I downloaded into PS, and one of the Alien Skin Exposure 5 filters.

 

 

6.The Squaready app is super useful for different compositions and boarders of single images within a single post.  I also like using the solid colour backgrounds it offers.

 

7. Social Pear. This can be some what controversial. Social Pear is just one of many companies that offer social media growth for a monthly fee. Their software logs into your account and interacts with similar accounts with like and comments on your behalf. I used this to great effect when starting my girlfriends account from scratch. She averaged about 50 new followers a day whilst working with them, and then was able continue that growth naturally by just posting regularly and using hastags. I haven’t set anything up on my account, as it’s more an online portfolio to point potential clients towards, but social proof is important. We tend to favour the restaurant with the cue outside, than the one next door full of empty tables!
There is absolutely no reason why ( except my list of a million other things I also want to do ) I shouldn’t design my original IG account like this. A bit of style shouldn’t be reserved only for the fashionistas. I want every touch point for my business to be as impressive and effective as possible, and I always use these winter months to perform an overhaul of the website etc. Just not sure it’s a priority right now, but let’s see!
I’ll continue to post accounts of what I’m doing each week, so to receive these articles direct to your inbox, please do sign up to my blog using the pink slider on the left of the screen!
I would love to get your comments on this article or topic in the comments below. If you have any questions, or feel there’s something I missed out, please do ask!

 

 

 

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