You can make a white background for Instagram in your flatlays and overhead photos in a few simple steps using just your phone camera and free apps available on iPhone and android. Scroll down for instructions and the best free apps to use in 2020.
To make a background white for Instagram, the most important thing to know that your phone camera has automatic settings for exposure. It chooses how light or dark to make your photo. This works well most of the time, but when your photo has a large light or white area, it will try to make it darker i.e. grey (if you want to know why, this article explains it well). So you can blame science for your grey photos – it’s not your fault.
The good news is you can override your phone camera’s auto settings. You do this by touching the screen while taking your photo. A yellow box with a sun on the side should appear. Simply slide your finger along the sun side of the square to increase light in your photo – and no more grey!
Your light source is important in getting clean white backgrounds. Where possible, use natural, indirect light from a window or glass door. This may mean timing your photos for when the sun is out and taking over a piece of floor or kitchen table in a good location. If there is too much light or it is too direct, sheer curtains can work wonders to diffuse and lessen the light. To remove shadows, you can reflect light into the shadows using white cardboard, aluminium foil from the kitchen or a shop-bought reflector. Just move the board or reflector around so that it bounces light from the window into the shadow.
Light will look different colours in our photos depending on its temperature. Photos taken by candlelight for instance, will look yellower than ones taken with a flash. It’s one of the main reasons why you might want to take your photos during the day with natural light from a window or a door – your photos will have ‘white’ whites.
But if you haven’t been able to take your photos in those perfect conditions – and all of us have been there – some apps will help you correct that. Snapseed (free for iPhone and android) is my favourite app to do this in its tune image/warmth adjustments.
The final step in how to make a background white is retouching and sharpening. The Retouch app (TouchRetouch – free for iPhone and android) is perfect to remove any dirt or smudges from your background. The app is called TouchRetouch in the app stores and has a green swirly logo on a black background. It removes smudges or dirty marks on your background in an instant.
You can whiten your background more using Snapseed in a couple of ways. The first is to go to Tools and Tune image (top left). Swipe your finger up the screen and a menu will appear: choose highlights. This is going to edit the brightest part of your photo, which is likely to be your white background. Slide your finger to the right to lighten.
The second way you can lighten your background is also in Snapseed. Go to tools and click on the Selective tool, which looks like a circle with a dot in the centre. This makes adjustments in a selected area for brightness, contrast, saturation and structure. It defaults to brightness, so use the slider at the top of your screen to slide further to the right to brighten your photo.
Once you have one area as white as you want, you can create another area to adjust by clicking on the plus sign at the bottom of the screen or tapping your finger on the original dot (which is probably showing up as a B after your brightness adjustments). A pop-up menu will allow you to copy this adjustment and paste in another area of the screen. Continue adding adjustment areas until your background is just the way you want and click on the tick on the bottom right.
When you’ve finished your adjustments, the last touch is to add a small amount of sharpening in Snapseed. In Tools, select the Details tool, which has a triangle icon. Slide your finger up the screen to see the menu and choose Sharpening. Slide your finger across the screen to the right to sharpen a little. This will give your photo an extra ‘pop’.
So there you have it – how to make a background white for Instagram using only your phone. I hope this makes your Instagram photos easier for you.
Knowing how to put an Instagram post on your Story is one of the ways of getting more visibility – either on your own posts or connecting with other accounts – so it’s an essential skill for any Instagram business account owner.
Sharing an Instagram post on Stories is a super simple three-step process – but did you know that you can add all kinds of design features to your Story so that you’re on brand and attract more attention in the Stories feed? Let’s start with the process and then you can learn the extra design hacks to up-level your Stories in a few clicks.
ADD AN INSTAGRAM POST TO YOUR STORY IN THREE EASY STEPS
1. Find the post you want to share. Click the airplane icon just below the post on the left, next to the comment and like buttons.
2. Select the ‘Add post to your story’ option which will appear.
3. Hit ‘Your stories’ button on the bottom left of the screen. You’re done!
FIVE WAYS TO ADD DESIGN TO YOUR STORY INSIDE INSTAGRAM
1.Change the colour of the background.
To do this, tap on the ‘scribble’ icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen next to the text icon. This will bring up a row of colours across the bottom of the screen (swipe left for two more rows of colour including black, white and greys). Select a colour and hold your finger on a black piece of background for three seconds to make it change colour.
If you want a background colour that is not one of those in the row, place your finger on the colour palette and hold, to have a rainbow palette pop up. Choose an appropriate colour and your text will change.
2. Add text to your Instagram story.
Use the text tool on the top right of the screen and type your text, choosing the colour from the palette just like you did for the background. There are five different fonts and you can resize using the slider on the left hand side or pinch the text in or out with two fingers when you’re finished.
3. Hide hashtags in Instagram Stories
Create your hashtags with the text tool and match the colour to a sample of the background. Boom – they fade into the background! Don’t forget, you can turn them sideways and make them smaller to fit your layout.
4. Adding stickers to Instagram Stories
You can add stickers from Instagram’s own library via the sticker tool on the top right next to the pen tool. You can add stickers for the location, mention an account, a hashtag or a gif.
Gifs can transform your Stories. Just click on the GIF option to see trending gifs or use the search bar to find appropriate stickers. You can resize by using two fingers to pinch in or out and put behind or in front of the story you are sharing. The one you touch last will be on top.
You can add gifs that are purely decorative, such as stars, hearts or rainbows or those that direct the viewer to take action: arrows, ‘tap here’ or ‘sound on’.
5. Add your own photos or graphics
You can do this by going to your camera roll, choosing a photo and hitting copy. Return to Instagram and that photo will pop up on the bottom left hand side with an option to ‘Add sticker’. Click on that to add to your Story.
In this example, I added a single rectangle of colour and put it behind the text and post, to help both stand out.
That’s your simple and quick guide showing how to put an Instagram post on your Story, along with some design hacks that all can be done inside Instagram itself, without any apps.
Knowing the best day and time to post on Instagram is an easy way of maximising the chance of our followers seeing our posts – which is what we all want!
Instagram’s photo and video platform is the second most engaged social media platform after Facebook with more than one billion monthly active users. More than half of them log in at least once a day and for an average of almost half an hour a day.
With so many people active on the platform, it’s no wonder we want to be seen by new potential clients as well as staying in touch with our existing followers. To do that, we need a personalised schedule of ideal times to post.
HOW TO FIND OUT THE BEST DAY AND TIME TO POST ON INSTAGRAM
Although there are general statistics for Instagram users worldwide for the most popular times and days, you need to find out exactly when YOUR followers are online so you can post when they are. Posting on Instagram when your followers are online is proven to help you reach more followers and get more engagement.
My favourite way of finding out the best time and day to post on Instagram is the Instagram app itself; you’ll need a business account or creator account. I’ve also used a free app called WhenToPost, but prefer not to have an additional app on my phone if it’s not needed.
HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM TO FIND OUT THE BEST TIME TO POST ON INSTAGRAM
In the app, click the top right hand side where there are three horizontal lines. Select Insights (the icon looks like a graph) and choose Audience. Scroll down to the Followers section. It shows you a graph for each day with the followers online shown in three-hour blocks. Choose the most popular times for your posts. You might also chose not to post on some days if your followers are not online much then.
You can go deeper and see which countries your followers are in, checking on their local time zones and how their use of Instagram fits in with their day. For instance, they may be on Instagram before and after work. You may want to test different content in the mornings and evenings.
HOW TO USE WHEN TO POST APP TO FIND OUT THE BEST TIME TO POST A PICTURE ON INSTAGRAM
Download the Whentopost app (blue and green graphic with a clock) and connect your Instagram account. It will show you the three best times to post today, the next best time to post and best times of the week in graphic form. Click on each day to be given the best three times that day for posting. It’s that simple!
WHY DOES IT MATTER WHEN MY FOLLOWERS ARE ONLINE?
It matters that you post when your followers are online because it feeds into Instagram’s algorithm, which decides who sees your content. Factors that influence who sees your content include past engagement with your account, the engagement of others with your content and or ‘new’ content. The more someone has engaged with you with likes, shares, saves, comments and messages, the more likely it is they will see your new content.
You can test posting at the times when your followers are online as well as an hour beforehand, to see if that makes any difference. Some Instagram experts suggest that it can take an hour or two of ‘warm-up’ time for your post to be seen.
HOW CAN I REMEMBER ALL THE BEST DAYS AND TIMES TO POST?
Most people can’t remember the best days and times to post, so make a note of them in your social media scheduler that you can refer to when scheduling your posts. It’s probably worth checking the times monthly to see if any need to be updated.
Once you know the best day and time to post on Instagram, you can schedule out your posts at those times and add in other content such as Instagram Stories for the times in between.
BEST DAY TO POST ON INSTAGRAM
You can run your own tests to find the best day to post on Instagram for your audience. Check your insights to see where your followers are located. Different time zones and countries will have a large effect on the results.
Are you stuck with what to share on Instagram Stories? Yes? It’s not just you who is – so why not help others and your own business at the same time with this British-friendly Instagram Story hack.
INSTAGRAM STORIES ARE DESIGNED TO BE SHARED
Instagram has designed Stories to be shared. We know that because the platform makes it so easy to share another’s content in a few seconds, either with the share button or when we receive a message that we’ve been tagged in a Story and are invited to add it to our Stories.
And because Stories only last for 24 hours in the feed, we’re constantly looking for more content to share. If we’re busy, Stories is the part of our social media posting that we can let slide. Who wants to share video of themselves when they’re in the middle of a project and aren’t even sure what they should be saying?
SHINE A LIGHT ON OTHERS
A great way to handle this is to shine a light on others. There are two big reasons why this is a great strategy: you’re not having to create original content from scratch AND when you mention someone else in a flattering way, they’re likely to share it on their Story.
Also, when you share the content of others you admire or believe in – or pull out the idea, message or creation of the other, you’re sharing your values. You’re helping your followers see what is important to you, as well as sharing what may be a new insight or person to follow. It’s a subtle way of getting to know you and your business that is British friendly; you’re not talking about yourself – you’re bigging up someone else.
THREE IDEAS FOR FINDING CONTENT TO SHARE
1. Share the post of someone you follow. This is super easy with the share button (the pointy paper aeroplane looking icon below a post). When you see a post in your feed that you want to share, hit that button. Let others know what you value about this post – does it inspire you, give you insight or make you feel all warm inside? Where possible, keep it on a topic that your followers would know you for. 2. Share from a hashtag feed in your niche. Spend a few minutes looking through the hashtag for a post that catches your eye and don’t forget the Stories at the top you can share as well.
3. Record a video. Hit record while you look through a magazine or newspaper article, scroll through an Instagram feed on your laptop or a place/business/website you like. Talk over the top and you’re done. If you’re worried about how you sound, you can record a few times. Remember this content will disappear in 24 hours unless you save it to your Story highlights.
I hope that gives you a useful took in your Instagram Story arsenal either for planned content or for last-minute ‘eek – what do I post?’ days.
If you want to learn how to create a social media schedule so you can be consistent on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, here are the five easy steps you need to take. If you want any further reasons for creating a social media schedule, that’s explained in the last blog post about why you need one.
1. CHOOSE YOUR PLATFORMS
You have limited time, so choose the platforms that are giving you the most return on your time and resources. Review these every quarter, to make sure that they’re still working for you and to check if you need to change anything about your posting schedule or content.
If you want to leave a platform, you can explain in your profile and/or a pinned post that all your latest news is now on Instagram or Facebook or wherever you are active.
If you’re just starting out and have no idea which platforms to choose, have a word with a couple of your clients and see what platforms they’re on. Also bear in mind that photographers deal in the visual, so you may be better off with visual-centric platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, rather than podcasts and Twitter.
2. CHOOSE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTING SCHEDULE
Choose your social media posting schedule based on what you want from it. Someone wanting to build a Facebook page to 1000 fans inside a few months might post two or three times a day; someone who just wants their Facebook page to look up to date for visitors might post once a week.
Start out with the minimum viable posting schedule for each platform if you haven’t been able to post consistently until now. Better to start out slowly and make sure it’s sustainable for you than to crash and burn. You can always increase your posting schedule later.
Your schedule is also reliant on you creating content. As a photographer, you’re ahead of most in having a selection of professional photos to choose from. But if you’re including video in your scheduling, you still need to create and edit that. Make sure that you have enough time in your schedule to curate and create social media content including captions and hashtag research.
If you don’t have enough time to create all the content and/or schedule it, you could hire a social media manager to do some or all of it for you. They may also be able to provide a strategy for you.
3. WHAT TO POST – YOUR CONTENT
Well, photos, obviously. And video if at all possible. Facebook and Instagram stories are perfect for vertical video that you’ve shot yourself and looks a little messy. The buzzword is ‘relatable’ – the kind of video anyone could shoot – the antithesis of corporate or polished.
Think about your audience and what would be useful to them – that’s what is most likely to get most engagement. You can vary the format too: for Facebook, this can mean Lives, memes, gifs and questions.
Think of this as a bit of a science experiment: try lots of things, look at what is most engaging for your audience and do more of that.
4. CHOOSE YOUR SCHEDULER
A scheduler can make or break your social media posting. Sure, you still have to engage with your audience, but schedulers mean your content goes out when it should.
For Facebook, I recommend its own native scheduler. It keeps Facebook happy, by which I mean you are staying on Facebook which it likes, and is easy to use. You can find it on your page’s publishing tools just below published posts.
For Instagram, Planoly and Later both have paid and free schedulers, which cover up to 30 posts a month. If you have an Instagram business account connected to Facebook, both services will post single images automatically for you. For many people, that’s enough. HootSuite will also do the job, just not as visually.
For Instagram Stories, it’s a bit trickier. Although you can plan your Stories in Planoly, Later and a number of other schedulers, you need to post Stories at least partially manually. So when scheduling, you want to think about when you’re available to post.
5. KNOW WHEN TO POST
The best times to post your social media content are when the highest number of your followers are online. You can check this on Instagram in your insights / audience, assuming you have a business account. On Facebook, it’s a similar story. Go to your page insights / posts / when your fans are online. Pinterest (no, technically not a social media platform, but useful to include here as it helps amplify our marketing messages) does not have a ‘good’ time of day to post, but it does like daily posting of new content.
So that’s how to create a social media schedule for your business or blog. When you set it up, it can help you be consistent and totally on top of your schedule through batching and your scheduler.
JUST ONE MORE THING …
If you’re a visual thinker or want to have a bird’s eye view of all your platforms, you can use a spreadsheet such as Google sheets or my new favourite AirTable. The basic version is free and more than enough for a social media scheduler, although I upgraded, for some of the extra capabilities including watching my posts change colour when I’ve created and scheduled them. There are even social media templates you can find in the Universe section.