Last week on our Monthly Marketing Bundle strategy call (in addition to our fabulous group we welcomed nine new talented and resourceful members, woo hoo!!) the subject of Instagram came up. Mariann said, “Brenda, you have such great backgrounds on the pictures you post. How do you do it? Where do you go?”
Once I realized how backgrounds could enhance pictures, my eye just started looking for doorways, rock walls, brick walls, interesting colors, and more. What’s fun is that most of the pictures with the great backgrounds are taken are right here in Sonoma. “The next time we have an MMB retreat, I’ll take you to all my walls,” I told the group.
That got us rolling on more tips about taking pictures and yes, I can see a retreat workshop coming up on that topic.
In the meantime, I have also been paying attention to how people get their fashion point across on Instagram without being in the picture themselves.
Because, really, what is the point of posting on Instagram? If you’re a fashion stylist or image consultant it’s to show your expertise, your point of view, and to attract people to you who would like to be your clients. Potential clients get a visual glimpse into your world. They “get” your credibility. They actually learn what image consultants do! They follow you and get to know you. Can you see the powerful marketing tool Instagram can be? In addition, if you have products to sell, well, we all know a picture is worth a thousand words.
Two simple tips for posting on Instagram
First tip: I’m most always having pictures taken on the run, most often after working with a client. Erin is my assistant when we’re with clients so she’s the one who most often has picture duty once the appointment is over. One thing I’ve learned is to always look for good light. I will take pictures of Erin first (mostly we’re taking photos outdoors) and look for shadows around her eyes. If the light is blasting out the details of her face and outfit and putting her in shadows, it’s not going to work. There’s a certain amount of fiddling you can do with your smartphone to change the brightness but I’d rather start with good light.
In the collage above, the picture of me in the lower righthand corner was taken in front of a painting inside Nordstrom, Corte Madera. I don’t love the shadows on my face from the overhead lighting but I liked the series of pics against this background so I used it anyway. Indoors is often tough. Outside is best.
Second tip: Always ask the person who is taking your picture to take LOTS of them. I am a blinker and I haven’t been able to use shots I love because my eyes were closed. When I ask non-family members to take pictures and they take one picture, I know they aren’t experienced in Instagram! Take lots of pictures and take them from different angles. Get closeups of things you want others to take note of. You may use a few shots on Instagram that are of the same outfit, posting them on different days. More is better.
Styling shots for Instagram
I am so impressed with some of the ways people are posting pictures of fashion without having to be in the pictures themselves. I’ve captured four examples to share with you.
In this first shot on the left, @styledbyjeanne is using hooks on a textured wall to highlight what she wants us to see. In this post she’s sharing about her signature look. It looks to me like she’s using strobe lighting with a bounce umbrella. Russ uses these when he shoots indoors.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a place where you hang clothes you want to illustrate? I’m looking around for wall space in my home right now!
In the photo above right posted by @biselstyle, the green background is perfect to highlight this spring jacket. I love how part of the coat is out of the frame. The fashion accessories are near the outfit but more fun than that is the balance that helps this picture be more vivid and memorable which is up there in the top righthand portion of the picture. That notebook, folder, pencil and lipgloss really anchors the image of the coat and puts it into a real life context. I LOVE that!
Below, the Instagrammer @sunshine_and_waves_forever, is styling an outfit on a flat surface as well. We see the black jeans, the black top with the lace collar, the crinkle scarf, trench coat, shoes and bracelets. What makes this picture zing for me are the tulips. They’re a nice contrast to the clothing pieces. Imagine this image without the tulips – not as eye-catching, right?
In this last picture on the right, @styledbyjeanne is highlighting the colors pink and orange. She’s the same one who posted her go-to outfit on the hooks. How clever was this to stack the pieces of her outfit. It’s clear to me that she has a pair of blue jeans there, a pink T-shirt, brighter pink sweater, an orange necklace and bright orange bag. And those silver shoes! Wow, they really pop, don’t they? Any of us could use this technique, right?
One thing you can do the next time you’re cruising Instagram is to notice other clever ways of taking pictures. When I come across ideas like this I take a screen shot and keep it to inspire me. I can’t wait to practice taking photos using these tips. How about you?