Creating images for Instagram made easy, by Helen Perry @notaboutthekids

Photos for Instagram made easy

When I started my Instagram account @notaboutthekids I only had Insta to answer to. Since then I’ve taken on a blog, Pinterest account, speaking commitments, and started an events business on the side. And, of course, I still look after the kids. The part of my work that has become squeezed with each added commitment is image creation. It gets harder and harder to find time to take photos. And harder and harder to think up new ideas. Yet iPhone photography is a cornerstone of what I do, social media demands lots of visuals and I love it. So I am developing ways to make photo-taking easier and quicker. Here are some of them.

Pin like mad

Constantly thinking up ideas for (magical, engaging) images for your social media can be a problem. I find Pinterest hugely helpful with this. I’ve gotten into the habit of pinning images that inspire me to a few different boards every day, it only takes about 60 seconds. Browsing through them when I’m stuck for a shot, will almost always get me unstuck. Even if it is just the inspiration to find a different angle or try a new backdrop. I could share dozens of examples. This autumnal leaf picture pinned by Elizabeth at Fine Litte Day gave me the idea for how to picture the leaf carpet outside our house.

But also be your own inspiration

I often forget to look back through my own feed for old, new ideas. But it’s such an easy win. Scroll through to remind yourself of what has worked in the past, and think about ways to recreate it. Instagram likes a repeat.

Embrace the seasons

If you want an image to be a hit, look no further than out of the window. I generally get great engagement on posts that reflect the seasons and seasonal shifts. It must be because it’s instantly relatable, as it’s exactly what is happening in the viewer’s backyard too (unless you are in a different hemisphere, but then it’s a great talking point).

Watch the skies

Different times of year have different challenges for photographers, in the winter it’s short dark days, in the summer bleaching bright sunlight. I look ahead at the weather forecast to see which days of the week are going to be best for photos. That way I can batch them up and avoid wasting time battling the elements.

Keep it local

I do not regularly jet off to exotic destinations. I don’t live in an idyllic country cottage or surrounded by the charming doorsteps of Notting Hill. Instead, I live 40 miles west of London in much-less-picturesque Reading. But I like a challenge so I’ve started to try and seek out more pretty corners in my hometown. I guarantee they are there for you too. Take yourself off on photo walks and follow Instagram accounts that celebrate your area, that’s is how I found this green letterbox.

Capture small moments

I used to plan plan plan my photos but in order to save time, I’m now trying to keep my eye open for tiny photo-moments when I’m out and about. Actually, I’m finding some of these casual images are the ones I like the most. Perhaps they reflect my life and what I like more honestly? My advice is to always have your phone ready and don’t feel embarrassed to climb on a chair in the middle of a coffee shop.

Find your filter

If you can find a filter (or two) that you really like in a good editing app (always VSCO for me), it will really help to bring your visual brand together. Applying a similar filter to each of your images helps them sit comfortably together and be instantly ‘you’. Taking this approach has allowed me to photograph a greater range of subjects because I know how I’m going to edit each shot to make sure that it fits with my feed.

Don’t be scared of editing

Editing apps are our friend. Great editing helps us turn less than spectacular images into brilliant stories. Experiment, apply filters and effects quite heavily. It’s amazing what you can achieve if you are bold enough.

Walk away when it’s not working

And finally, because all of this is in the interest of not wasting time; if it’s not working take a break. I’ve learned that if a picture is taking too long to create, it’s probably never going to come together. Try something less boring instead, or come back to it later with fresh eyes.

Please share any of your tips and shortcuts in the comments box below, and thank you so much for reading.

I’ve written some more tips and tricks for taking better photos on your phone, click here to read.

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7 comments on “Photos for Instagram made easy

  1. Juliana on

    Love this Helen, some great ideas. I’ve found Pinterest to be really useful too, there is so much inspiration on there although I can find it time consuming because I get sucked in at the same time. I’ve also found inspiration from other IG accounts or bloggers who have a similar style or same geographical location – it’s amazing the things you can miss or take for granted!

  2. Helen on

    Hey Juliana, I forgot to mention in this post that I also save inspiring Instagram posts for future reference. Ideas are all around. And yes, Pinterst rabit holes….best not to go there hahaha. Thanks for stopping by, Hx

  3. Helen Orrock on

    Some great tips here Helen and I’m definitely with you on walking away when its not working for me.

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