How-to-Edit-Your-Photos-for-Instagram

How to Edit Your Photos for Instagram

Did you know that Instagram users will decide within 3 seconds of visiting your profile if they are going to follow you or not? Your feed is a key component of your profile, which means the layout and editing of your photos can have a major impact on a user’s decision to follow you and somewhere down the line of a customer journey; buy from you!

One way to curate a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing grid is to edit your photos for Instagram consistently. This could require establishing a few presets (or filters) to overlay on top of all of your photos prior to posting. Will you opt for a bright and colorful feed? Dark and moody? Light and neutral? Find a few filters that match the “theme” or “vibe” you’re going for and stick to them!

Always stick to the same color scheme no matter what. Don’t get crazy with wild photos and wild colors that don’t match the aesthetic of your brand colors.

Here’s Why Cohesive Editing Matters

  • It makes the layout of your grid visually appealing, which can attract more followers
  • Consistent content builds trust with your audience as they know what they can expect from you
  • Editing makes your posts and brand recognizable

If those benefits aren’t reason enough to consider investing time into your content, consider this: a picture is worth a thousand words. High-quality imagery communicates to your digital audience that your products and services are likely high quality too. Now onto the editing tips…

My Top Editing Tips

DON’T OVERDO IT

Heavy and overly saturated Instagram filters are OUT! Lately, most brands and influencers have been opting for softer and more natural filters. 

Regardless of what “everyone else is doing” take some time to determine what best reflects your brand.

PICK A “THEME” AND STICK TO IT

Whether you prefer light & bright or dark & moody, pick a theme you like and stick to it! This will ensure a cohesive feed.

PREVIEW THE PHOTO ON YOUR GRID PRIOR TO POSTING

I prefer to do this in Adobe Illustrator, but for the non-creative; you can just pop into Canva, upload your future post images and drag them onto a 3×3 grid. This will allow you to visualize how the photo will look in your feed before publishing. Take note of how it looks in comparison to the other photos around it. Is the editing too light? Too dark? Way too colorful? Do the images seem dull? Adjust as needed!

Now that you know the importance of editing feed posts and our top tips, let’s get into HOW to actually edit photos for Instagram. Here are a few of our favorite apps:

Favorite Apps

  • Lightroom
    • This application was rated a favorite among the homies at HMS! If you’ve seen some of your favorite creators selling presets, this is the app they were made for. We love this platform because the photo editing possibilities are endless!
  • ColourTone
    • Our copywriter Dominique’s personal favorite. Just like Tezza, this app comes with pre-made filters for you to easily toss on and beautify any photo or video.
  • VSCO
    • This app is an OG. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use editing tool that does the job, consider this app your answer.

A handy guide (for now – remember Instagram makes changes every few months to mess with us!) for how large to make these photos or graphics. Click to Download Infographic.

And as always, if you’re a busy little bee or overwhelmed with the creative aspect of this; get a hold of Jacquelyn anytime to work on not only your photo editing, graphics, but Instagram marketing growth as well.

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Don’t Let Customers Affect Your Inner Bliss

Now… I don’t want to be too grim, but…

Let’s face it – sometimes customers and the people we work with get on our nerves. We either butt heads with someone who has a different personality than we do. We have to deal with complaints as a business owners. Or we just flat out have a “Karen” walk into our lives that day.

Now I bet you think I’m about to say don’t worry, rainbows are ahead… Hmm… Not today.

We sacrifice a lot when we run our own business. We might give up on the idea of having a family or free weekends. Or it could mean you choose to pursue the idea that might deny you the opportunity to do something else in your career.

But it’s not just the business realm that teaches us about suffering. It also affects other aspects of our lives. To be successful in all our human relationships often requires suffering. And the same is true of being successful in matters of health. We often need to do things, like exercise, that doesn’t feel great at the time. Just ask me every time I’m internally whining during the first 10 minutes of a workout!

To really be successful, we need to be able to go into life with the confidence that suffering isn’t going to overwhelm us. We need to know that no matter what challenges we face, we’re going to be okay in the end. That’s the sort of confidence that drives the most successful people forward in everything that they do.

Of course, to get to that state of mind, we need to adopt strategies.

But it also helps to be secure in our own sense of wellbeing. We need to know that while unsatisfied customers can affect our business, people, in general, cannot affect our inner bliss. 

Interestingly, when you follow this line of reasoning to its conclusion, you discover that real success in business isn’t actually the money or the prestige that comes after years of hard work. It’s actually having the mental fortitude to go through the process in the first place. Business leaders are perhaps the most successful at all because they are able to find ways to manage their hard times and enjoy their lives at the same time. They can tolerate a high level of pain without allowing it to get to them on a fundamental level. 

Steve Jobs had a pretty good take on it. He reminded himself every day that his life was limited (and…it was) and that, whatever happened in his work, it would pale in comparison to not existing at all. He reminded himself that, ultimately, nothing that he did mattered except how it felt for him. Creating iPhones had a huge impact on humanity. But, for Jobs, it was mainly about spending his time as well as he could, doing something he loved. If he didn’t like the process and it became clear that something needed to change, he wasn’t afraid of making the hard decisions to make it happen, even if it involved a hefty dose of bad moments.

So the next time something happens. Anything. A bad customer review. Unwanted client feedback. A b!tchy customer. Know this – this too shall pass.

Written By Founder and Creative Director, Jacquelyn Tolksdorf

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Is it time for your brand to evolve?

Refreshing an outdated brand can have enormous power. Which begs the question, when is the right time for you to change?

There is always a variety of motivating factors from functional, such as adapting to new channels, to strategic, like building a brand that supports a social dialog.

What’s more, today’s digital landscape demands you always being “on” brand.

Companies are also being urged to have a louder voice when it comes to social issues, which too, is influencing visual expressions. Whether it’s social reckonings, COVID, or environmental issues more brands are thriving when they show they have a moral stance on something. Furthermore, diversity, equity, and inclusion and philanthropy are no longer tokenism as companies set specific targets in hiring, equality in pay and investment in the communities they operate.

It’s a brave new tech world

The immediacy of digital channels and social media demand brands be in— and of— the culture. People expect to engage with brands on their time. The way of the dodo went rigid marketing strategies and now a much more universally understood set of principles that can be used by anyone, at any level, in any role to showcase the organic nature of the brand is ideal.

As you head more and more into building relationships via digital devices, consumers expect seamless experiences with brands across all devices, whether mobile, watch, thermostat, or smart speaker. And as brands expand their reach, companies must think more universally about their brand voice throughout these mediums.

The new design toolkits must allow for comprehensive experiential language, encompassing visual, verbal, and emotive cues. You can no longer have a cookie-cutter website that looks like everyone else’s website if you want to elevate your brand position.

Ask yourself these questions

  1. Is your brand expressed through an authentic voice? Does it enable you to converse in the moment? Does the tone of voice feel human and relatable?
  2. Is it built for a digital-first world? Is it accessible across media and channels? Are there meaningful interaction patterns? Are there principles for motion and video?
  3. Is it designed to drive the business strategy? Does it resonate with key audiences? oes it express the values of the organization?
  4. Does it inspire your team? Can teams get inspired to do the most with the brand elements?

If you answered no to any of these questions, it might be time to explore an evolution of your brand. While updating your identity can be a big step, it’s crucial for a brand’s success and more important than ever in today’s competitive landscape.

Bear with me while I do the marketing agency equivalent of putting a “My child is an honors student” bumper sticker on my car. But after 12 years of working with brands like Rocket Mortgage, Disney, and more — brand strategy has become so important to me (founder of Unglitch.io). I’d love to evolve your brand. Learn more at Specialties.

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I was aGraphic Design Efficiency Expert for an eCommerce brand a few years ago…

I was aGraphic Design Efficiency Expert for an eCommerce brand a few years ago…Here’s what I found…

Back in 2018, a catalog company that sold gift baskets, sweet treats like chocolates, nuts, meats and cheeses, and other gifts needed a design overhaul. I was hired as a freelancer to take over their seasonal catalog design. Create a clean, precise layout for over 50 pages and set it up for the marketing department as a template so they can easily keep the designs in place and accurate. Aside from that, I oversaw all new photoshoots for their products.

Now if you were just a consumer of this magazine you may have noticed that previous Halloween or Christmas issues looked outdated, but you may not have been able to put your finger on why…

I was hired in early Spring to re-brand the business – then re-do the Halloween and Christmas catalog. This project was penciled in to take 4-6 months. It took 1 month.

I was surprised when I got there that they already had a small team working on these upcoming Summer versions of the catalogs while I worked on the future catalog for Halloween and Christmas seasons. Why did they need me?
Their team of 8 was full-time while during my time there. I worked only 15 hours or less a week. They got paid 3x less than I was per hour. Of that team of 8 the Creative Director and 1 other employee actually had a graphic design background and a degree in Graphic Design. The Creative Director up to this point was really the only one tackling any creative projects with success as the rest of the team felt overwhelmed (or so they said).

So given that the projects were completed 3-5 months early, the Creative Director felt embarrassed that she had clearly scheduled out a project based on her current team’s efficiency. She felt bad I wasn’t going to have as much work anymore so she asked me to be a sort of undercover Efficiency Expert and get to know her staff. This is not something I usually do. Nor did I enjoy this as I end up looking like a bad guy who just waltzed into their company to snitch on their team.

I haven’t talked about this story as it always feels like a brag. But I recently have been getting asked by many companies who already have small design teams to take on over-flow projects and subsequently the rest of their team’s projects. Here is why a freelancer designer might get more done than your staff and why the catalog company was lagging behind.

Expertise

The #1 issue I see always in companies like this is the staff’s training. The world of Graphic Design careers has changed drastically in the last decades. In the 90’s a graphic designer was a rare employee. A hard find to employ. Many companies hired people to teach them basic software skills for their business’ marketing or design needs. However, they never taught basic principles of design or urged them to keep up with design trends and new knowledge. You’ll find older companies staying loyal to employees who have been using design software for a decade or two, but never having professionally designed anything yet. I’m all for employee loyalty, but at what point is an old dog not going to learn new tricks?

9-5 Workplace Culture

In the era of COVID I’m glad more businesses are finding the 9-5 workday is not efficient. Think of it. You get in at 9am, chat with co-workers for a bit and then settle in. By 10am you’re starting to work, but by 11am you slow down as to not get too far into something before lunch. 1pm hits if you were lucky enough to get an hour lunch break and now you have to get back into the rhythm you were in before. And then that dreaded 3pm energy crash hits. In a poll done in 2019, 89% of employees produce little to no work from 3pm-5pm for this reason. Now math isn’t my thing, but if you’re a full-time 9-5 employee that’s 2-4 hours of quality work in an 8 hour workday… No wonder your team isn’t where it should be.

While at their department location, I often looked like some kind of weirdo introvert as I didn’t want to chat with them for 15 minutes a day about myself. I’m not here for that. I have a job to do so I get paid and my client is happy. I’m not an employee, however, so I got to come and go as I please – often working more either before employees came in the morning or after they left for the day. I get no benefits and have a contract and a deadline. But I’m a happier creator compared to them and my client was happier with me than their team of 8. I don’t work 9-5. I sometimes don’t start my day until 11am! I rarely end my day at 5pm though as well. As a freelancer, you are paid more to get it done faster and better.

Wages vs. Hourly Rates

So let’s talk about that…
Say your employees are getting $15/hour in the graphic design department. They take home a $1000ish check every 2 weeks for a fourth of the output (refer back to that 2-4 hours of quality work they are getting done each day).

Now as a freelancer — I get paid $30/hour for 15 hours a week. If we take the catalog project for example; I got paid $1800 for the project (plus a bonus for early completion) so let’s round that up to $3000. The project was completed ahead of time vs. leaving it to their team for 6 months which would have cost them $96,000, in the end, to pay their employees to only do this project and being that very few of the team had graphic design skills, that $96,000 could have left the company with a poor quality catalog still.

How to Fix This

Now if you’re reading this as a business owner you can see why hiring a freelancer may be more beneficial. But what about a business owner who already has a team they don’t want to fire just to pay less and get more?
What could you do?

  • Invest in Graphic Design Training for your non-trained Graphic Designers
  • Re-Organize Your Current Team into other positions and hire skilled Graphic Designers or a Freelancer to take up the slack
  • Re-Organize your Workplace Culture:
    • Pay More
    • Be More Flexible w/ Your Employees Hours (ex. If an employee can work 8 quality hours from 6pm-2am at home…let them!

If you’re a startup wondering who to hire and what team members you need onboard first, start with a freelancer. I’m always happy to take on more happy clients at Unglitch.io and happy to show you where to get the more bang for your buck!