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If any of you use Instagram as a tool for your business, then you know how powerful (and intimidating) it can be. While I am still not 100% satisfied with my ig feed, I have picked up some very helpful tips and tricks that have helped me to grow my following. Not to mention, I really just enjoy curating something that is beautiful. So, if you're an entrepreneur trying to build your Instagram presence or just someone who wants to beautify their feed a little are some of my top tips.

1. Lighting is EVERYTHING

And when I say everything, I mean everything. Ideally, you want natural, white light to take your Instagram pictures. It will help brighten up the look of your feed and produce clearer, sharper images. Find a spot that is in indirect natural light so you don't wind up with harsh shadows. There are also a couple of editing apps that I love to brighten up my pics even more. My two favorites are VSCO Cam and Afterlight. You can make your photos brighter in both of those by bumping up the exposure and the contrast. 

2. Color and Texture

First off, with this category you need to decide how you want your feed to look. White and black? Pastel? Colorful? Once you've decided on your level and range of colors, break up your pictures in the order you post them so you don't post too many pics of the same color one right after another. This will give your feed a lopsided and unprofessional look. Unless you ombre' your feed, then intentionally post varying lighter and then darker and darker or more saturated photos to create a visual ombre' effect. Make sense? Totally up to your creativity on this one. I like to use the app I mentioned above (VSCO Cam) to build in my library before posting to my Instagram. That way, I can see how the new picture will look in my already existent feed. Texturally, mix it up. You always have the option of sticking to one texture, but if you do, keep it cohesive and consistent. I like to add in varying textures; a flat white background, natural flowers, fabric, etc. It adds a little more visual interest and keeps attracting the eyes from one pic to the next. 

3. Staging

There is nothing wrong with staging an Instagram picture. After all, you are essentially a photographer using an iPhone (probably) and showcasing your collection of work. Let's be honest, photographers stage. Having said that, I do like to be honest when I stage certain things, no one lives a perfect life. But, nothing wrong with creating beautiful pictures! If you decide to take a picture of your coffee mug, think about holding it up in front of a cute or colorful wall, are set it down and arrange some flowers around it. If you are taking a picture of your shoes while you're wearing them, clear the ground of unwanted debris, or toss some flower petals down to offer a contrasting color. The staging opportunities are endless and allow so much room for you to be creative!

4. Photograph in Square

If you know you are taking a picture for Instagram, photograph it cropped to square to start with. This will help you capture more balanced pictures and will save you editing time. It is so much easier to just start out shooting in square than it is to try and edit a pic later only to realize you have to cut off your shoes when you really want to see them in the picture. I always take photographs using my iPhone camera app that comes with the phone in the square setting. That way, it is already saved to my camera roll and ready to open in my editing apps. 

5. Be You

Most importantly, your Instagram should reflect you and your tastes and personality, or your business and its personality. What is it that makes you or your business special/different? Focus on that and stay true to what you like and don't like, not just what is popular. Being uniquely you is a valuable thing and Instagram is a really neat opportunity to do that through pictures. Play around and discover what you like. There is a world of inspiration out there!

~What's your top ig tip?~