How to create the perfect images for Instagram

Instagram is rapidly gaining popularity for business use as large swathes of your potential customers love to see life through the eyes of other people.  If you tried it before and didn’t see why it would be relevant to your business, take into account that it is now a lot more driven by small businesses, you no longer have to post all images as square and they are increasing the amount of advertising being used in the streams.

Take a look at various businesses and how they are utilising the strengths of this online showcase of pictures and information afresh – whether the pictures you see are very personal or very staged, the most popular profiles have an ability to really capture a feeling or mood as well as whatever they are trying to show, be it food, makeup, a building, exercise related equipment or themselves.

How do they do that?  Here are a few tips on how to create the perfect images for Instagram that will show off your brand and market you to the people who want to see it.

Start with the image

You need to take a really good quality image.  Many of the top images are captured by very hi-tech cameras operated by equally highly skilled photographers, but the power of smartphones and tablets will allow you to take a great quality image nowadays.  Concentrate on picking the correct subject matter and showing it off with interesting perspectives, backgrounds, patterns, textures and so on.   on the message you are trying to get across….is the picture just to look good?  Is it to showcase a product?  Is it to allow the viewer to get to know you or your business better?  Keep this in mind as you create.

Edit your image

Editing your image using photo editing apps before putting it into the Instagram editor will truly transform your image from normal to a real feature. There are countless apps available out there that do the job well, some cost a little money, others are free, and they are well worth investigating.  Apps such as Afterlight, Snapseed, PicsArt, Picfx, InstaCollage, PicPlayPost, Hyperlapse and so on (the last two allow you to incorporate videos to bring your image to life).  Remember, utilising the settings in two different apps one after the other will allow you to tweak and refine your image even more.

Once you have finished making use of the photo editor app that you are using, save and upload to Instagram to start using their features.  Remember, if you prefer your image NOT to be cropped to a square, just position it so that the whole image is shown onscreen and once your image is here, you can start to play around with the multitude of filters and start creating.

Filters are basically different settings and adjustments for colour and lighting and alter your picture at the touch of a button.  Try out all the different filters first, and see which offers you the ‘look’ you are going for.  You can also see the different variations within each filter, which gives you a lot of free rein to alter further.  You will probably find that one or two of these filters always draw you to them, remember though that you need to think through the eyes of your ideal customer, as it is them that you want to be attracting.

Once you have finished on that step, press the sun symbol on the bottom middle of the app which is the lux feature and can be used to bring out the small features on your image. Have a fiddle with the slider and see what suits your needs. This really can transform what you are working on. If you didn’t make minor adjustments before this editing, now is the time to alter the alignment, crop, contrast, structure, warmth, saturation, highlights, shadows, and sharpness etc in the editing section (find the wrench symbol to access these).  Note that some features for editing will be more sophisticated in the other apps so you may want to make those alterations before heading to Instagram.

When you are finally happy with your finished image, click ‘next’ at the top right of your screen and you are ready to post your image along with its hashtags and description.

It’s really useful for you to master these editing tools to make visuals for that can be shared on all of your social media networks and any blog articles where applicable to really draw your ideal customer avatar to you.