Top tips for taking great iPhone photos

Keep your photos simple

A busy scene makes it hard to create a beautiful composition so one interesting subject is all you need to take great pictures.

Don’t worry if most of your photo is empty space. In photography, we call this negative space and it’s a great way to make your subject stand out.

Before you take the shot, always check the scene for any distracting elements. Move closer, or change your viewpoint, to remove unwanted objects from your photo.

Consider your angle

Learning how to take a good photo involves thinking outside the box!

Automatically we take a photo from chest height, but it’s amazing what taking a photo from ground level will do for your photo composition.

Consider setting the phone down low, or trying from a bird’s eye view, don’t be afraid to play around with angles.

It’s like looking at the world from a new perspective – literally!

Show depth

This helps draw the viewer’s eye into the scene and is especially important in landscape photography.

Consider the use of leading lines – and by this I mean roads, paths, railway tracks, rivers and fences – or at the beach, use the water’s edge or ripples in the sand.

Allow the line to lead from the foreground into the distance. This draws the viewer through the scene, creating depth.

Capture close-up detail

Get close, like really, really close. Close-up patterns, textures and colours will bring your photos to life – think flowers, leaves, water droplets and other textured subjects.

Keep in mind that your iPhone won’t be able to focus if the lens is too close to your subject though – portrait mode is great for this, but again it worn’t work if too close.

Focus your screen

Leading on from this – always tap the screen to get focus on the object you are taking a photo of.

On an iPhone a yellow box will appear – click and hold and this box will lock into position, keeping focus on the object should your hand move out of position.

Take silhouettes

All you need is an interesting subject. Then shoot towards the light.

Ensure your silhouette appears nice and dark – in the Camera app, tap to set the iPhone focus and then swipe down to darken the exposure.

Silhouette photography works best during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset.

Create visual harmony through alignment

Photographing against an amazing backdrop? Think of the frame, and alignment – do you want your subject to be front and centre? Or off to the side?

Consider the symmetry but also the diagonal alignment – it encourages the viewer’s gaze to flow through the scene.

If everything is on one side of the frame, your photo can look unbalanced.

Consider the rule of thirds

Easiest way to explain this is a sunset over the beach: one third is the sky, another is the sea, the other is the sand. Do you want two thirds sky and one third sea and sand?

iPhones already work to a grid of thirds (in fact you can select this in your camera settings to include the gridlines when you take a photo) so that you can line up your shot to work with this rule.

The rule of thirds states that the important compositional elements or subjects should reside along the lines or at the intersections of the lines.

It makes a much more interesting composition when you follow this simple rule!

Use natural light

It’s the best light you’ll ever find, and where possible, avoid the iPhone flash – it’s not great and your photo is worth more than that…

Use your phone’s shortcuts

Did you know about the iPhone volume down trick to take a selfie? Have you tried portrait mode? HDR mode? Or even pano?

Have a play with the features and go and look at your camera settings to see what else you can discover.

Edit your photos

While I’m not an advocate of editing images for beauty reasons, sometimes there’s a person in your sunset shot that hadn’t seen at the time of taking your photo, and now that six second sunset window is gone, and you’ve missed your chance to take another.

Using a photo editing app you can erase obscure objects out of shot, as well as making tweaks and changes to your images, such as lightning and brighting them.

While there are many out there to download – I highly recommend Snapseed as a personal favourite!

How to outsmart the Instagram algorithm

Not getting as many likes on Instagram as you used to? Don’t worry, you are not alone.

Instagram has recently changed the way in which its algorithms work, which means best practices that have worked in the past, aren’t as affective anymore.

Why? Well, it’s down to money.

This way Instagram hopes you will eventually spend more money to stay with them.

But if you’re a small business using social media for the free marketing aspect, then you may want to know all the ways you can change your game organically, without stretching the wallet.

So to help you out with your Instagram marketing, here’s a few things you can do to get your content seen…

Keep your hashtags relevant

Since Instagram allowed you to follow hashtags, they made them an even bigger deal.

This is because users now have the power to mark your hashtagged content as something they don’t want to see by selecting the “Don’t Show for This Hashtag” option – to mark the content not interesting or not relevant.

Which means having too many of your posts marked in this manner could potentially raise a red flag on your account and negatively affect all of your other content as well.

So keep all your hashtags relevant, and don’t try to trick the algorithms by hashtagging something that is not relevant to your post.

Avoid spammy behaviour and switch up your hashtags

Copying and pasting the exact same list of Instagram hashtags into every single post won’t just impact your engagement, but it can also make you look spammy!

The most important thing to keep in mind when deciding what hashtags to use is that you’re being intentional – using hashtags that your target audience is actually searching for and following!

And avoid gimmicky hashtags, and ones that have been used over 1M times – while they might get you a few extra likes, they aren’t going to help you grow a highly engaged, targeted following.

Instead, try looking for niche community hashtags that are specifically relevant to the content you post – and don’t forget to use your branded hashtag whenever it makes sense!

Use third-party tools to find the right hashtags for your business

There are many (paid and free) third party tools that offer help with your hashtags – these platforms can also help with scheduling and other ways to format your posts.

Here’s a few examples of third party tools that you can look to:

  • Hashtagify
  • Hashtag Expert for IG
  • All Hashtags
  • Seekmetrics
  • AutoHash
  • Webstagram
  • Display Purposes
  • Sked Social

Use the right amount of hashtags

The age old debate about how many is exactly the right amount… essentially, the jury is still out!

Some people recommend using the maximum number of hashtags allowed by Instagram, which is thirty, others would say use five key hashtags to punctuate your post – quantity not quality.

Personally? I think it’s a game of trial and error until you find the sweet spot.

The most important thing is that they are relevant.

Follow hashtags on Instagram

Following a hashtag works just like following a user’s profile.

When you find a hashtag you’d like to follow you simply open the hashtag page and tap on the follow button.

For brands and businesses, this opens up a great opportunity to regularly appear in a follower’s feed.

You can also use this new feature to keep a close eye on competitors and even discover potential partners by choosing to follow industry-specific hashtags.

Add hashtags into your Instagram stories

Adding hashtags to your story is a great way to give your content an added chance to be discovered by new audiences. When people search for a hashtag on Instagram, if it’s popular enough, they’ll be able to view active, real-time stories on that hashtag’s page — including your own.

And if they like what they see, they might even tap follow on your profile!

Add hashtags into your bio

Including your branded hashtag in your Instagram bio is a fantastic way to drive engagement on your posts!

Including your branded hashtag in your bio is also a great way to get your followers in the habit of posting with it.

Be more active

Instagram wants to see that people are using its platform, and will (sadly) favour those that are using it more.

This means you need to get to grips with not only posting in your feed but also Instagram stories and Instagram lives and TV.

Keep your publishing to stories consistent – not only do they make you more visible in the home feed (appearing at the top of the page) but they are also a way to create engagement with your followers.

More engagement = more active = Instagram likes you.

Play around with your content

Use Instagram’s third party apps like Hyperlapse, Boomerang and even just plain old video content to show that you are using all their platforms, and posting a variety of content to keep your audience interested.

Post regularly

One post a day is a good way to get seen – with the change in algorithms, only 10% of your audience is actually seeing your posts in their feed.

Therefore posting regularly and consistently gives people more options and chances to see your posts – meaning more options for engagement, and puts you more in Instagram’s favour.

Post at the right time of day

Instagram will favour a post that gets a lot of likes once it is first posted – therefore if your post is a hit from the word go, it has more of a chance of getting bigger – and being seen by more people.

For this reason your really need to think about when you are posting – pick the times of day when people are most active on social media to give your post more of a chance to be seen.

Keep up with your community management

If someone comments on your post, Instagram likes it if you reply to it straight away.

Facebook is building a community – so it wants to see that all its platforms act that way, and remember they want to see you are ACTIVE.

Turning notifications for your app ON will alert you when someone has commented and allow you to reply as soon as you can.

The quicker you respond, the more instagram will like you, the more your post gets favoured by its algorithms… and the more it will get seen.

You get the point, right?

How to give someone access to your Facebook business page

There’s no limit to the number of people who can have a role on a Page – if you are looking to give another member of your team access, but don’t know how to do it – take a look at this step by step guide to find out how…

How to give someone access to your Facebook business page:

If you’re an admin:

  • Click Settings at the top of your Page
  • Click Page Roles in the left column
  • Type a name or email in the box and select the person from the list that appears
  • Click Editor to select a role from the dropdown menu
  • Click Add and enter your password to confirm

Keep in mind that if you’re not friends with the person you’re adding, they’ll have to accept your invite before they can start helping you manage your Page.

How to remove someone from your Facebook business page:

If you’re admin:

  • Click Settings at the top of your Page.
  • Click Page Roles in the left column.
  • Click Edit next to the person you want to remove, and then click Remove.
  • Click Confirm. You may need to enter your password.

You can always remove yourself from a Page, but if you’re the Page’s only admin, you’ll need to add another admin first.

How to change someone’s role on your Facebook business page:

If you’re an admin:

  • Click Settings at the top of your Page.
  • Click Page Roles in the left column.
  • Click Edit next to the name of the person whose role you want to change and then select a new role from the dropdown menu.
  • Click Save. You may need to enter your password to confirm.

Note: If you’re a new admin, keep in mind that you may need to wait seven days before you can remove or demote another admin.

How to recover or reset your Instagram password

Can’t remember your Instagram password? You may want to try and recover it, or maybe even reset it.

Not sure how – here’s a step by step guide on how to do it…

Recover your Instagram password via desktop

  • Click on “forget password” below the login field
  • Enter the username, email or your phone number linked to your Instagram account. And then click on ‘reset password’
  • Then you will receive an Instagram email that includes a link to reset your Instagram password. Click on the link in your email
  • Enter your new password (a strong one), confirm it and click on “reset password” for the last time
  • Now you will log in and be redirected to your Instagram account.

How to change the Instagram password on an Android or iPhone device

• Open Instagram and touch your profile picture in the lower right corner

• Touch the three line icon in the upper right corner, and then choose Privacy and security

• Towards the bottom, touch Password

• Enter your current password, then your new password twice, touch Save when finished

Reset your password via Instagram desktop…

• Visit the official Instagram website: http://www.instagram.com

• Press the login button.

• Click on the button ‘Forgot your login information’

• Provide your username or Instagram email you used to sign up for Instagram

• Then click on the ‘Send’ option

• Check your email and click on the Instagram reset link

• Then enter the new password one more time, re-confirm your password

• Now click on the reset button

• Your Instagram account is now ready for use

Every day I’m hustlin’…

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The side hustle: What exactly is it?

Urban dictionary defines it as “freelance or piecework in nature, providing a supplemental income. Most people run a side hustle which eventually comes their full time job.”

Largely (but not always) the side hustle can often be found in the creative spheres – musicians, artists, writers, maybe even chefs, gardeners, brewers – but these days with so many of us desperate to escape the rat race, and longing for a more flexible way of working – the side hustle comes in all shapes and sizes.

As a former side hustler, now turned full time self employed ‘female boss’, here’s my top tips on what to consider before you turn to hustling…

Do what you love

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The most obvious thing to say of course, but in order to stick with your side hustle and make it your full time profession, you have to really love what you do – you’re going to be with it, nurturing it and caring for it day in and day out, so make sure it’s something you really do adore.

Be flexible

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A good side hustle needs to fit in with your schedule. Helping people out with their digital marketing was a perfect fit for my hour and half commute to and from work every day – you work five days a week, adding a side hustle on top of that means even less hours your partner or family will get to spend with you, not to mention having some well needed time to yourself. Allow your hustle to fit around the schedule you already have.

Consider how much time you have

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I’ve already said that I used to use my commute to side hustle, on busy days I’d probably add my lunch break on top of that too – but know your limits. The second you start sacrificing your morning run or yoga practice, or drinks with friends ask yourself – is this really necessary? Your side hustle may be your dream – but you need to allow yourself time to breathe and space to relax also.

Be ready to adapt

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When I first started side hustling I thought people would fall at my feet for my help, but turns out that most people don’t have money to spare. Depending on what your side hustle is, you may need to adapt your fee or even work for free on some occasions to get the work. Trust me though – this isn’t a bad thing. Show willing, show them you want to invest your time in their company, and eventually the rewards will follow – think of the bigger picture.

Talk to people

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It might come as a shock for those of you who know me to read this, but I am really, really shy. I hate talking to people I don’t know, I hate putting myself out there, I hate handing out business cards and I hate ‘plugging’ myself. My advice on that if you feel the same? Get over it. If you don’t get in there someone else will – be nice, be friendly, make friends, contacts, acquaintances and you never know, you might get a new client out of it.

Stick with it

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If you believe in what you do then stick with it. Yes it is going to be hard, yes there will be times when you are working 12, 15 or even 17 hour days, yes you may not see a weekend for a year, and yes you may drive your partner and your family up the wall – but if you believe in it, like really believe in it, your side hustle will be the career you dreamed it would be. Play the long game with your patience, and stick with it, it’s worth it in the end – believe me!

How to be mindful with social media

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As a yoga teacher and a digital marketer I am in constant conflict over social media.

When social media hit, I fell in love with it – suddenly there was a platform that turned the whole world into a podium, a platform – millions of people connecting, chatting, sharing content, voicing their opinions, making a stand, a difference, a change… it was so easy to speak to friends who had moved half way across the world – I could see what all my mates were up to at the drop of a hat, birthday parties became suddenly SO easy to organise – and my job as a journalist had just become very, VERY exciting.

A career in digital media was only natural, but the more I delved into it, the more aware I became of the negative effects of instant gratification, of poor posture from constant scrolling, damaged retinas from screen gazing, and also what it really meant to have the whole world as a podium with every Tom, Dick and Harry were voicing their opinions, opinions that often weren’t all that…

So that’s when I turned to yoga, to give myself some space from the digital world, but in doing so – I learned new skills to help me navigate this connected world that I had become a part of.

Yoga helped me step back, find balance, and approach social media in a more mindful way.

So if you’re struggling, here’s a few thoughts from me on how to be more mindful with your social media…

1. Don’t use social media every day

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You don’t need to post something every day – particularly the Instagrammers out there – why not give people a glimpse into your life once a week, and spend the rest of your time, living your it? If you are sharing nearly every moment of every day, how are you ever truly living in the moment and being mindful?

2. Don’t engage with social media first thing.

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When waking up, while it may feel natural to reach for your phone first, don’t. Roll over and hug and kiss the person next to you. Open the window and check out the weather. Do some stretching. Make a cup of tea or meditate. Give yourself time to connect with yourself before connecting to social media.

3. Go to bed with a book in hand instead of your phone.

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This allows you time for yourself, escapism too, but also helps you stay present in the moment – and maybe even help you fall asleep quicker too.

4. Don’t bring your phone with you when you have special plans.

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If you have to take photos take a camera that is not connected to your phone or at the very least put your phone on flight mode so you won’t get any notifications. And if you do take photographs, please let it be of people and not your food?

5. Disconnect every week.

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Every Thursday I teach yoga, and 3pm on a Thursday is my golden hour. I turn my phone off, listen to music and lay on my yoga mat and relax. Sometimes it’s for 40 minutes, sometimes I am lucky enough to get an hour, but it’s never anything less than 20 minutes. It’s important to have this time away from your phone, and everyone else trying to connect with you. So try and reserve space once or twice (or even much more) times a week if you can. And as a yoga teacher – I can honestly say yoga retreats are the greatest for this – five days without your phone is the ultimate heaven.

Try it.

Social media isn’t going anywhere, at least anytime soon, so just give yourself the time to switch off for a bit – you’ll thank yourself for it later!

Are Instagram ads confusing you?

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They’re similar to Facebook, and yet they are confusing many marketers – Instagram ads.

Marketing on Instagram enables you to diversify across all platforms and avoid the over-saturated land that is Facebook. But how is it different? What’s the potential and What objectives are available? Read on my friends, read on…

Instagram campaign objectives

For Instagram Feed Ads, the supported campaign objectives are: Brand Awareness, Reach, Traffic, Video Views, App Installs, Lead Generation, Engagement, Messages, Conversions, Catalog Sales, and Store Traffic.

For Instagram Stories, the campaign objectives available are: Brand Awareness, Reach, Traffic, Video Views, App Installs, Lead Generation, and Conversions.

A great way to start attracting followers is with an Awareness ad, then you can move on to Lead Generation and Conversion.

Instagram has a great explainer of what all the ads do here.

Instagram ad placements

Although limited, they are powerful, the Instagram ad placement allows you to have your ads appear on people’s Instagram feed or in their stories – and these are run from Facebook.

You can find more on that here.

Feed ads

The Instagram Feed enables marketers to show content to their target audiences in between organic posts of users they follow, and can seemingly appear as native content.

This is why they can be highly effective in driving new users into your funnel and encouraging them to engage, click through, or convert through a re-marketing campaign later on.

What are the feed ad specs?

According to Facebook, the technical specs for the Feed Ads are as follows:

  • File Type: jpg or png
  • File Size Max: 30MB
  • Video Layout: Square or Vertical
  • Video Max Size: 4 GB
  • Video Duration Max: 60 seconds
  • Hashtag Max: 30
  • Carousel Cards Max: 10

Instagram Stories Ads

These are less intrusive appearing at the top of your feed, and are therefore highly effective in driving clicks to your designated landing page. 

What are the Stories ad specs?

According to Facebook, the design and technical specs of Instagram Stories Ads are as follows:

  • Layout: Vertical
  • Photo Stories Visible: 5 seconds
  • Image ratios: 9:16 and 16:9 to 4:5
  • Image Size: 1080×1920 however, key elements will appear within a 1080×1420 space.
  • Carousel Cards Max: 10
  • Carousel Video Duration: 15 seconds
  • Prompted Carousel Video Duration: 60 seconds 
  • Video Duration Max: 120 seconds

Using Your Existing Organic Instagram Posts as Ads

Seen success with your organic Instagram posts? Then boost them!

The post will appear in the newsfeed of your target audience without seeming too out of place or disruptive and it’s the simplest way to spread awareness on Instagram.