Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Are You Getting The Most Out of Your Instagram Experience? I Am and Here's How

I will come right out and admit it..I'm in love. It has been awhile since I have felt this excited about something. My new love is Instagram. Even though Instagram has been around for awhile, I just recently started using it. Why did it take so long? I have to admit that I didn't really get why this app was so great. I didn't think the pictures my friends were posting looked any better through the Instagram filters, with the exception of a Facebook friend who is a professional photographer. Then I altered my first picture, and I was hooked. Instagram not only makes images look the way I want them to, but it has added real value to my life. It has given me the ability to take a decent photo of myself for my social media sites, helped me connect better with others on Facebook, and has given me a new hobby on Pinterest that is incredibly satisfying.


I have always been interested in how real life looks compared to pictures. In some situations, pictures capture a moment and make it look more beautiful and pleasurable than it was to experience it first hand. However, there are other times when the picture doesn't capture what you saw and felt when you experienced it. That is always a disappointment. You want to capture that moment in time and relive the experience when you look at that photo. With Instagram, I have the ability to alter a picture to communicate what I want it to. ~~ Instagram gives me the tools to make a moment special and artistic.

Before Instagram
After Instagram

This is a picture of my son the first time when went to the pool this summer. The difference between the pictures is subtle but importantThe first splash of summer is a great moment and you want to capture the excitement. The Instagram picture shows the ripples of the water, light penetrating through the water and bouncing off. It allows the viewer to focus on my son's smile and pleasure in the pool. The first picture, without the Instagram effects, makes your eyes focus on the blue of the water more than my son. When I shared this photo on Facebook, those added Instagram effects communicated that a special moment was captured instead of an every day event in the pool. My Facebook friends didn't just "like" the picture. A lot of friends made very specific comments about the great smile or what a sweet boy he is.


First impressions online mean everything. Instagram gave me the ability to create a decent photo of myself without spending a lot of money and time. Instagram helped me give my hair the color I wanted and subtracted "my age" from my photo with the lighting effects. When I posted this photo as my new profile picture, I had so many comments about great this picture was.

Before Instagram
                                After Instagram

INSTAGRAM MEETS PINTEREST                                                                                         

My friend turned me onto Pinterest awhile ago. I knew it was a great place to exchange ideas about recipes or crafts or whatever you were into, but she helped me connect with Pinterest in a different way. Pinterest allows me to create these boards where I can live out my "fantasies." If the sky was the limit, what would I want my world to look like. To be able to go through and choose images that represented what I would buy or wanted to see was a great outlet for me.
Bulthaup | Showroom | Pawson
Here's an example of what I would love my home interiors to look like (which I will never be able to afford):

Then comes Instagram. Now I have a board that I can pin images I create. I have always wanted to be a photographer about town and take pictures of people or things I think are beautiful and inspire me. Instagram has allowed me to do that because I can add the special filters or lighting that optimizes the photos.

Here's a picture of a sculpture in Milwaukee. It is so amazing to see first hand. When you look at it in person, you stare at two things: the form and the letters. The rest of your surroundings disappear. When you photograph it, it loses that impact. Instagram helped me translate what I saw as I saw it.

Before Instagram                                                          After Instagram


INSTAGRAM MEETS FACEBOOK                                                                                          

For as much as I think social media is so fun and such a great way to connect with others, Facebook has been an obstacle for me. I am a very private person. So when I have a great moment or experience, I want to keep it private. Almost, like if I posted it, it wouldn't mean as much. Instagram has given me a way to connect on Facebook that finally feels right. Instead of posting a slew of pictures to show an event like I used to, I am trying to pick just one selective photo that captures an aspect of a time. Instagram then helps me tweak that picture so it conveys the message I want it to convey. 

On a recent trip to Chicago, we stopped to eat at Pordillos. This place is a classic Chicago eatery that captures days gone by. Here is a picture of my son eating a Chicago dog there. The first picture is pretty basic. After applying the right filter, I am able to make this photo look like he ate there at a time that the restaurant holds onto its look. People who love to eat there really connected with this picture after I posted it.

Before Instagram
After Instagram

IT'S A WIN/WIN SITUATION                                                                                               

There are those people who can take a picture and translate so much thought and emotion in it. It looks so spontaneous and effortless. I have always wanted to capture pictures like that. Well, now I am getting that pleasure from Instagram. Even if others don't see what I see in my pictures, I am getting personal satisfaction from seeing my photos look the way I want them to. It's not about the number of followers on Pinterest, or if others think I am an artist, it's about finding an outlet that allows me to express myself. So if people connect with images, wonderful. If not, I have a hobby I wouldn't otherwise have if Instagram hadn't come along. My world just looks better through Instagram.

IF YOU ARE NEW TO INSTAGRAM: THE BASICS                                                                 

Instagram is a mobile app that lets you take, edit and share photos. There are many options that you can choose to create whatever aesthetic you want including:   

~~ Filters that create a certain look or "mood"
~~ Borders that compliment the filter 

~~ Blur effects 
~~ An auto enhance feature

This post covers a VERY detailed overview of what Instagram is and how to use it. This post will be especially helpful to those of you who have never tried Instagram or who have it, but don’t know how to use it.