Small Business Series: Behind the (Instagram) Curtain

It seems like Instagram has quickly become more than just a doctor's office time killer. I remember back in 2012 when I first downloaded it and my first uploads were grainy bowling alley photos from a friend's birthday party and I think it took me days to get a single like. Ah, simpler times.

Now, Instagram is part of my job. It's essentially our sole source of marketing for WC, and lots of time goes into curating and staging the images that get posted. Which I know sounds silly and tedious but it's actually my favorite thing to do in terms of WC. Our Instagram following has had a direct impact on the business and it's super gratifying to see how Instagram has helped it grow over the past couple of years. Not to mention how much I love getting to connect with customers and other small business owners!

I really love pretty photos and making them happen has become one of my favorite hobbies, but the problem with social media is that it can all look a little too perfect. I always get emails asking how we make our photos look the way they do, does my life really always look so bright and crisp and pink? So I thought it would be fun to show you some before and afters. Some are dramatic, some not so much, but the reality is that a few simple tweaks to completely average photos can make a big difference in how your page looks (no photoshop knowledge required!), which is especially important if your Instagram account is a marketing tool.

I'd say the biggest change I make to any photo is the brightness. No matter how good a raw image is, I typically brighten it up with VSCOCam. I don't always get great light to shoot photos in or sometimes it's just not as white as I want it to look. Sometimes I want to get rid of a wrinkle on my forehead and upping the exposure will fix it all. 
These two are great examples of how just brightening an image can make it much more aesthetically appealing.

Other times I'll add brightness, and some contrast, as well as increase the color saturation to make the image really pop, like this:

Other times, a little cropping goes a long way.

I didn't love the edge of the brown table in this image, but cropping it made it fit into the feed much more easily. This is one of the reasons I take almost all of my Instagram photos with my good camera. It might seem a little over the top, but if you end up wanting to crop an image you won't lose quality and end up with a grainy picture if you're starting with a high quality raw image. iPhones take great photos, don't get me wrong, but once you start to enhance and crop them, they can get grainy really quickly.

Then there are the photos that take a fair bit more work. Since I don't have a professional photographer at my beck and call (though I do know, love, and use professional photographers a lot for the site!), I love a good tripod and remote shutter setup.

This image was obviously brightened and I added some contrast so I wouldn't blend into the wall, but it really started like this:

Pajamas, the spot in my room that gets decent light, and no shame.

Same for this! A little cropping and brightening after taking the image with a remote and voila. 

My favorite app to use is VSCOCam because it's versatile and convenient! I use my trusty bluetooth SD card to shoot the photos to my phone, edit them, and they're ready when I am!

If you have any other questions or a topic you'd like to see me cover in the Small Business Series, please let me know! I plan on tackling why we switched to a ready to ship setup later this month and I know I've had some requests about how we manage finances/taxes/etc and as soon as I figure out a way to talk about it that isn't beyond dull, I'll cover them here! 


  1. It amazing how the brightness and contrast settings can beautify a photo! I don't know what I would do without them anymore!

  2. love this BTS post! Brightening and cropping is all I know how to do! LOL


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips