For the past 3 Thursday’s, I have posted an Instagram 101 post to help you all with anything that the app may be stumping you about. The three blog posts have addressed the topics of Getting Engagement, Getting Real, and Getting Connected on Instagram with 5 tips in each to achieve the following and influence we all want. I couldn’t help but think that you all might have follow-up questions or q’s I didn’t answer in the three-part series, so I decided to add on a fourth and final post in the series where I would answer YOUR questions about Instagram and blogging. So here we are! I gathered questions from you all through Insta DM, and have answered them to the best of my ability, so that you guys don’t feel as left in the dark when it comes to social media 😉 Keep reading to see my answers!
INSTAGRAM 101 SERIES
@lovecarlyallison asks: More ways to gain (active) followers and have you worked with brands before? What’s your advice for working with them and even getting noticed by them?
To gain active followers, I would say to engage on other accounts that are similar to yours and in the same niche. Using the 3, 2, 1 rule (which I explain in my Instagram 101: Getting Engagement post), following 3-5 new accounts each day, and actively engaging on the people you already follow will 100% help in gaining followers. You can also leave comments and likes on pages that follow people you follow because this might lead them to checkout your page and maybe leave a follow!
And yes, I have worked with brands before! My biggest piece of advice for working with them is to email updates every time you finish something major in the campaign. Email them to let them know when the product arrives at your house, email once the photos have been taken, once you’ve written the blog post/posted the Instagram posts, etc. This lets them know that you are reliable and will follow through. Also, make sure your photo quality is the best of the best, and email the brand your top 5 or so photos with their product so that they may use them on their on social sites. To get noticed by brands, be authentic and have a very defined personal style/style of photo so they know how well the two of you match up!
@taiyamaddison asks: What are your top modelling tips for posing in photos?
One of the first things you need to be sure of before you even begin shooting photos is that you’re comfortable with your photographer. When you are, you’ll be more likely to feel okay with posing different ways. But pushing that aside, my top tip is to mix it up! Try different levels (sit, stand, lay down, etc.), keep your hands busy by framing your face with them or messing with your hair, even throw in a few dance moves here and there. Make sure your face portrays the mood of the outfit/the vibe you are going for. Be smiley and happy for flirty, fun looks and become more of a punk for edgier looks. Unless you’re going for a contrasting vibe between outfit and posture, I recommend matching the face to the look.
Also, practice poses in your outfits by looking in the mirror before shooting because I find it hard to know exactly how my body looks if I haven’t tried poses beforehand.
@cam_vip02 asks: What was the hardest thing about building your platform and gaining followers/readers/subscribers?
The hardest thing about building my platform was having to realize that I wasn’t going to have a huge audience over night, and for gaining followers it has to be the fact that I’m getting notifications for 15-30 new followers a day, yet my follower count doesn’t reflect that because of people who use the folow-unfollow method. I’ve had to get past both of these things, and turning my focus elsewhere, like to the quality of my photos and creating content, has helped a lot. It’s always going to be frustrating when you put lots of hard work into something and it doesn’t end up reaching as many people as you hoped, but that’s all part of the journey 🙂
@outnaboutweb asks: Who takes the many beautiful photos that you post and do you edit them certain ways or not?
Ooo I love this question! Every single photo that has ever been on my blog and Instagram (besides flat lays because they are obviously shot by me!) have been shot by someone in my family. My mom takes the majority and my dad and sister are tied for second place. This is convenient because at least one of them is with me most of the time, and I’m very comfortable with posing for them. And yes, I edit all my photos the same way with only minor adjustments done to things like exposure and contrast. I use VSCO and adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, skin tone, and up the temperature on the photo. Then, to give all my shots a somewhat cohesive feel, I use the filter M5, but set it to a lower setting so that it isn’t too obvious!
If you all would like to see a more in-depth post on How I Edit My Instagram Photos, let me know in the comments!
@cal_fritcher asks: How do you work to increase engagement on your Instagram?
The main way I work to increase my engagement, especially on newer photos, is to spend 30-45 minutes right after I post my Instagram for the day commenting on people’s posts in my feed, replying to comments on my previous photos and them in turn commenting on their photos, etc. This gives them an incentive to go check out your page since you are popping up in their notifications feed. Also, it spreads the love to fellow bloggers and Instagrammers as well, which is so important! Even on days when I don’t post I do this, which ends up being a lot of work, but hey, hard work pays off 😉
@summer_sun_blogs asks: How do you get so many followers and how do you come up with photo ideas/inspo?
The main way I get followers is just by engaging on other people’s photos. Especially if you are leaving genuine and heartfelt comments, this can interest the person whose post you commented on to want to check out your page. Also, it gets your name out there and many times I’ll scroll through comment sections to find new people to follow, and who is to say other people aren’t doing the same?? This is the way I believe I have gained most of my followers!
To come up with photo ideas and inspo, I’ll scroll through Pinterest, look up outfit photos in places I want to shoot at, and I save people’s Instagram photos that I’m in love with to take inspiration from for future shoots. The main place I get ideas is through other bloggers and also by looking for local spots to shoot at while driving around my town. As long as you aren’t directly copying photos from other people, inspiration and new ideas are everywhere!
@hottowncoolgirl asks: What are your biggest general photo tips? What are your biggest fashion photography tips?
Focus on lighting when it comes to photos! This is said a lot, but lighting can make or break your photograph. When photographing other people/things, keep snapping and trying out different angles. Most people do not get their best shot on their first try, it takes about 25-50 shots to get a great one. But whether or not you’re taking photos of nature or humans, lighting should still be a main focus.
My biggest fashion photography tips are to pick a location/background that is interesting, but not more interesting than the outfit. Obviously, the outfit is the main focus, and that should always be the first thing the viewer’s eyes are drawn to. Tell your photographer (or do this yourself if you’re the photographer) to keep snapping during the in between moments or while you two are talking because that’s how wonderful candids are made. If you’re going for a more editorial fashion photo, play around with angles, go for the unusual, and the weirder the poses the more likely it is to create a bomb photo!
Also, my answer to Taiya’s question earlier in this post discusses posing a bit more.
@_.capturedmoments._ asks: How to grow your following? What to do with inactive followers?
I’ve mostly answered the how to grow your following question in a few of my previous answers and my Instagram 101: Getting Engagement post, but there are a few more things I could add! Use the 3, 2, 1 rule (which I explain in the Getting Engagement post), be original and always motivational, while posting high quality photos.
When it comes to inactive followers, I know a few Instagrammers who simply remove them from their following, which totally works to clear them out, but I also think before going that extreme you should go engage on their photos and they might start engaging with yours. Also, check out their feeds and see what they’re posting about. Of course, only create content that you enjoy making, but if there is any way you could post a photo or two that relates to what they enjoy, that could help as well!
I’ve answered the majority of the questions I received from you guys, but don’t hesitate to ask more! My DMs, email, and comment section are always open to anything you all might have to ask. I hope you learned something more about Instagram and taking photos through these q’s and that you can apply them to your own ways of doing things. Thanks so much for reading, friendzzz!