Thursday, February 27, 2014

all about instagram:: my shooting and editing process (+ the balance of pretty pictures vs. relatable pictures)

Today I'll be sharing a little about the shooting and editing process that I go through before I post a picture to Instagram.

My favorite feeds on Instagram have a good balance of pretty pictures + real life. Personally, I go to Instagram more for inspiration than to see people's dirty laundry or cluttered floors. But at the same time, like any person, I can start feeling inadequate when all I see are perfectly styled photos. A great Instagram feed (in my opinion) has beautiful images, but doesn't create a false sense of perfection. I want my own feed to inspire, as well as be relatable and real. 

For styled photos, I will almost always clear clutter out of the way, wipe crumbs from the tabletop, or toss laundry out of the picture. Even photos of my studio table clutter are usually somewhat arranged. I don't always 'pre-edit' and sometimes I just shoot. It depends what I'm going for-- am I sharing a snapshot of my every day? Or is my goal with this picture to inspire creativity? 

I think about how I want the picture composed. Do I want to back away for a more distant shot? Have a low horizon line? A high horizon line? More or less negative space? 

My favorite vantage points are 'bird's eye', from straight above, or getting down low (on Silas level, or the level of my subject). It usually takes 3-10 shots to get the image I like. I'll tweak lighting, or my facial expression, or shoot until I get a clear picture of my busy toddler. I almost always use natural lighting (so much so that I rarely post a nighttime picture). 

 AfterLight is my go-to app for 100% of my images, so as soon as I'm ready to post a picture, I'll open up my AfterLight app. The first thing I do is crop my image. This is one of my favorite steps, actually. Playing with the composition and deciding what exactly my image will be is really fun to me. #nerd

Next, I bump up the exposure a few notches, maybe mess with the temperature (if I want the photo to read warmer or cooler), and then I add a filter. My favorite filter is Russ, at 50-75%. Rarely do I go 100% on a filter, except for black and white filters. 

I'm interested to hear what you think about the balance of real life and pretty pictures. Is it possible to be relatable with styled photos? Do you unfollow some people if their pictures are too perfect? Do you prefer the relatable aspect of Instagram or the inspirational aspect? 

PS. Find me on Instagram as @lindsay_hellohue


  1. Since I'm working with a terribly unfortunately no good camera on my phone, I end up taking pictures with my Sony Nex, uploading them to my computer, editing in PicMonkey, saving to dropbox, and finally posting from my phone, using Valencia or Rise from IG's filters, if I use one at all. Believe me, I am counting down the days until I get an iPhone, just for the camera! Okay, and the face time ;)
    I never unfollow perfect pictures, although I will unfollow if the pictures aren't inspiring, and the content isn't relatable to me. I make art, and so even if its a staged picture, I can relate and be inspired. Its nice when there's a little something in a photo, though, like a gorgeous room shot with a single toy left out, that lets you know people are living the life you're peeking in on :)

  2. I totally agree! A perfect balance between mostly inspiring, uplifting, & beautiful posts with the occasional "keeping it real" photo is exactly what I like to follow. If the balance isn't maintained in either direction, it's easy for that person's photos to start bogging down my feed.
    Thanks for sharing! Right now my phone is no good for taking photos, but if I get one with a better camera, I'll have to check out AfterLight!

  3. I think about this a lot. Because my blog, twitter account, facebook page, and instagram account are all "Dear Mushka" rather than "Katie Lewis" (actually, I have a Katie Lewis FB page but I rarely use it...) I struggle to find the products-I-sell vs this-is-my-life balance. I want to be real, inspiring, and above all God glorifying, but I also want to promote what I do and (sweetly) keep my products at the front of their minds. But recently I've been paying attention to the feeds I most enjoy following/ really don't like following and... I think I need to take more photos with people in them. This is all I've learned haha.

    But I'm with you on the editing- take lots of photos, edit with Afterlight (Idaho is my go-to), and post!

    1. Katie, I struggle with that balance as well. All of my "branding" on social media is for my business, so I find it difficult to be real and inspiring with some of my posts while promoting my business with others.

  4. I'm loving the Instagram tips and I love looking at your beautiful (and real) photos! I really need to start using Afterlight more! Thanks for sharing!

  5. 100% love real images... Styled are "eh" to me... And oftentimes those are the feeds I end up unfollowing... Maybe it's the photographer in me, but I love lifestyle... Seeing how people live, and celebrate life :)

  6. To be honest, the reason why I got an iPhone was for the camera. At that time I had a $200 camera that took pittyful photos - no matter what I did, pictures would turn out yellow... After I got the smartphone, I discovered instagram and fell in love. I tried Camera+, but now I like VSCOcam and A Beautiful Mess. I love an inspiring feed, but after a while, I feel I'm a mess, so seeing a not so perfect picture on someones feed is a good balance. I love your feed - colorful, inspiring, and honest!!:)

  7. Thanks for sharing! I always wondered how you made your gorgeous ig photos! I always love checking out your feed! :)

  8. Love Afterlight for editing! I always have a difficult time getting good photos indoors with my iPhone. We have a lot of trees scattered around our house so we seem to be perpetually in the shade without a lot of good sunny light. Sometimes I scroll through my own IG feed and realize I've been posting very similar photos for a while-- like 4 in a row of my toddler's face. Since I love looking back at my own feed and seeing all those nicely filtered memories, I try to get a good mix in there of pretty/family/silly. I'm no photographer so I depend pretty heavily on editing tools. IG is definitely my favorite feed for mindless scrolling and your photos are some of my favorites! Love this blog series.

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