With over 400 million active users, a quarter of which are located in the United States, it’s easy to understand the increasing popularity of Instagram among marketing specialists.

In just two years, the growing social network managed to multiply their ad revenue by five-fold, from the forecasted $595m in 2015 to the staggering predicted $2.81 billion in 2017.

Similar to the other social media platforms, Instagram provides its users with a unique way to express their persona online. Unsurprisingly, this has lead to the formation of a special photo and post language people use on the platform.

A Dash Of Glitter: Image-Editing To Insta-Success

While photos are important on both Twitter and Facebook, on Instagram they are the core currency that shapes your persona and brand. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why going the extra mile to ensure your photos are up to the standard is definitely a must.

Photos on Instagram from a Design Perspective

Regardless of the niche you are in, the design of your brand is as important as your marketing message itself. When growing the exposure of your brand through a social media platform, the brand should seamlessly interact with the audience in the right language. In Instagram’s case, this would be your photos.

Let’s take this example. When you take an iPhone in your hands, you expect it to be designed in a stylish fashion with a modern soft touch that fits right in your palm, while everything on the smartphone itself fits perfectly together, right? But when you are buying a carton of milk, you are not looking for something futuristic with a sleek feel.

However innovative a product might be, it wouldn’t be as successful, if it doesn’t fit the expected design standards within its product range and category.

It’s the same with social media. When people go to Facebook, they expect to see a certain type of posts, while when they visit Twitter and Instagram, they expect something different.

Visual Elements

Your brand should be consistent within the given social networking platform. You don’t want someone to visit your Instagram feed and be blasted with a dozen of different photos that have little to no resemblance to one another. When expressing your brand, you want to achieve a seamless consistency.

On Instagram, this can be done with the use of photo editing. Filters are powerful but it’s difficult to achieve a consistent feel on the photos on your feed by using filters only. When someone visits your Instagram photos, you wouldn’t want them to have negative stimulus from a particular photo on your profile.

For example, you wouldn’t want your profile filled with relaxing nature photos and images, in the middle of which there is a photo with a screaming red text on white background announcing your new sale.

Much like the seamless design of the iPhone, your feed should feel simplistic and natural, drawing attention with the consistency of the color scheme throughout your photos.

Now, it is understandable that each and every photo on your Instagram feed should be different and unique in its own way. We are not talking about having one and the same photo. Instead, we are taking a note of the fact that the overall nature of your photos should be similar from a design perspective. This can easily be achieved by proper editing techniques.

Should you go professional or on your own? A few tips on how to do it on your own

The easiest route to take would be to hire an Instagram social media manager with experience or a designer to edit your photos before posting them. However, this is not always a possible option having in mind the cost, time and effort it might take to run the whole operation.

Plus, even if you do have a team that runs your social media, understanding the correct editing techniques and what goes into making your Instagram feed truly shine, can help you better manage your team and help you better plan out your marketing, business and advertising plans for the platform.

Photo Editing Can Do Wonders

Photo editing is just as important for a photo as its composition is. The digital world has presented us with unique opportunities to tinker with our photos in a dozen of new and unique ways.

Today we live in a world driven by the social media. Multiple small and big companies have banked on the fact that we feed ourselves with a constant array of visual imagery, creating easy to use and simple photo editing tools that allow us to achieve professional looking editing effects with little to no effort.

While your Instagram photos are not million dollar pieces to be sold at an art gallery, you should nevertheless take a few minutes of your time before posting. This will help you achieve a unique feed with professional looking photos that help you express your brand.

Instagram photos

The Four Pro Tips to Step Up your Instagram Photo Editing Game

Tip #1 – Have the Right Tools

As aforementioned, simply adding the default Instagram filters won’t help you out. While Adobe Photoshop is the best tool you can have to edit your photos, it’s not necessarily possible to use it for each and every photo you want to post on Instagram.

That’s why you should focus on having the right smartphone apps that can help you easily and quickly edit your photos. Instead of running your photo through multiple apps, find one that works best for you and excel at it.

Here are just a few you should check out:

  • 1. VSCO Cam –Available on both iOS and Android, this app has a minimalist vibe and while its editing options are relatively limited, it is extremely easy to use.
  • 2. Photo Editor by Aviary –For Advanced editing capabilities, you won’t go wrong with this one.
  • 3. Snapseed –One of the best photo-editing apps for the smartphone. Snapseed will allow you to do photo editing wonders, but it definitely has a slight learning curve
  • 4. Pixlr –If you are looking for ease of use with a combination of useful photo-editing tools, this app is definitely for you.
  • 5. Adobe Photoshop Express –You can get the most of this app via its in-app-purchases, but even the free version offers you easy and quick photo-editing fixes.

Tip #2 – The Hipster-esque Nature of Photos

Whether you love or hate the Hipster culture, it has managed to leave its mark on Instagram. Nowadays, almost everyone is using photo editing tricks to make their photos more hipster-esque, and thus appealing, on the photo-sharing social media network.

Here’s how you do it:

  • 1. The White Minimalistic Shot –To achieve a minimalistic white background shot, you should simply center something in front of your white space, take a photo and then turn to editing. To make things right, make sure to adjust the white balance to brighten up your photo. If the photo looks dim and yellow, bringing down the temperature and increasing the exposure should do the trick.
  • 2. The ‘Vague’ Desaturated Effect –To have an alluring vague photo, you should bring down the saturation of the photo and fade your colors, but not as much that it looks gray-scaled. Then simply save your highlights.
  • 3. The ‘Food’ Shot –If for some reason you want to take a photo of your food, climb up on a chair, take the photo from a top-down angle. Then increase the exposure and slightly increase the contrast. For the final touch, simply sharpen your photo.
  • 4. The ‘Pop-Up’ Colors –In case you are standing in front of a colorful background, you might want to have a photo with popping colors. To do that, you should play around with the temperature when editing. Also, make sure to bring the front object to focus and slightly increase the shadows and contrast to achieve a more realistic look.
  • 5. The ‘Nature’ Shot –To make a nature shot, you should play around with the contrast of your photo. By increasing it, you should achieve the desired effect.

Tip #3 – Achieve Style Through Editing

Certain tricks can help you out regardless of the desired effect of a photo. To make your photos more stylish, you can simply make the colors pop, while drawing in the focus directly to your desired object.

Here’s how you do that:

  • 1. Lower Saturation, Increase Brightness and Contrast –This will help make your photos more clear, helping the colors be more expressive without losing the overall prime focus of your image.
  • 2. Play around with the Color Curves –While this depends highly on the photo you are currently working on, make sure to play around with the color curves. Usually, lowering the center of the red curve, while moving up the Blue and Green lines, should do the trick.

Tip #4 – Have an Overall Message Through Editing

Take a few different photos and play around with the editing tools. Whether you’d like a specific color and balance curve or more color-faded and less saturated photos, you should try to achieve a seamless coherence throughout all different photo types. In layman’s terms, all of your photos should have the same feel and overall expression.

From Image-Editing to Insta-Success

Nothing is certain and everything’s subjective. However, achieving a coherence and consistency through quality photos with the slight touch of photo-editing will increase your chances of becoming an Insta-success.

If you are just launching your brand on Instagram and want to learn more about how to do so, make sure to check our Six Steps to Success right here.