How many of you struggle with creating a cohesive, branded feed on Instagram? Do the aesthetics hold you back from showing up on Instagram and delivering your content. Do you want to take your own stock photos at home, but don't know how to begin or set up your shot? Audrey Wolf will talk about presets and how you can use them effectively on Instagram. She also drops 3 amazing tips on how to shoot your own stock photos at home with great results.

What Are Instagram Presets? Why You Need Them & How They Can Transform Your Instagram!

How many of you struggle with creating a cohesive, branded feed on Instagram? Do the aesthetics hold you back from showing up on Instagram and delivering your content. Do you want to take your own stock photos at home, but don’t know how to begin or set up your shot?

Audrey Wolf will talk about presets and how you can use them effectively on Instagram. She also drops 3 amazing tips on how to shoot your own stock photos at home with great results.

Learn more about Audrey at http://www.audreywolf.co or http://www.thecontentbar.co

Connect with her on Instagram @audreywolf.co or @thecontentbar

 

How many of you struggle with creating a cohesive, branded feed on Instagram? Do the aesthetics hold you back from showing up on Instagram and delivering your content. Do you want to take your own stock photos at home, but don't know how to begin or set up your shot? Audrey Wolf will talk about presets and how you can use them effectively on Instagram. She also drops 3 amazing tips on how to shoot your own stock photos at home with great results.

 

 

Full transcription available at the bottom of this blog post

Before you go, I’d love to connect with you and give you some gifts to help you grow your online presence!

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Full transcription:

Welcome back to the show. And today we are chatting all about photos, presets, and cohesive statics for Instagram, but I want to welcome my friend Audrey to the show. Welcome to the show, Audrey. Thanks, Alison. I am super excited to be here. Thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

I’m excited to have you here, but Hey, before we dive in, cause I know you’re excited to chat

Speaker 2:

About photos and presets, but first I want you to tell us about your business and your background and all the goods. I’m Audrey Wolf. I’m a professional photographer, a Lightroom expert, and an Instagram strategist. My story actually started way back when, for all your mompreneurs out there. I actually became a stay at home mom in 1990, almost 30 years ago, which just doesn’t even seem possible. After 14 years, my kids were at that age where I was kind of starting to think, what am I going to do when they’re completely grown? They leave home. I didn’t want to be one of those moms that ended up at home twiddling her thumbs, you know, so I started thinking about what I could do that I loved and how I could make that into a business. And I had grown up with my dad constantly, you know, shooting photos or video.

Speaker 2:

And so I just kind of gravitated toward that. And in, uh, 2004, I created my own photography business and became quite successful at weddings and high school seniors. Um, th that was my niche and I was actually on Instagram way before it became cool. I’ve been Instagram since 2012. Yeah. So if you go way back in my feed, some of the images are like, it’s pretty dark, dark, but like dark, as far as the lighting, you know, I I’ve come a long way on Instagram. So, um, and then two years ago I just kinda got burnt out. I was tired of being gone on the weekends and in the evenings, you know, shooting seniors. And so I shut that part of my business completely down. And I started a stock photography membership and it became kind of natural because one of the things I really loved with weddings was shooting the details. And so doing the stock photography just was very natural for me. And I opened up that membership, which has morphed into the content bar and, um, took the presets that I had created and had been using on my own photographs over the years and started selling those presets online.

Speaker 1:

Well, that is a really cool story. And I love how your dad kind of influenced your career path. That’s really cool. You don’t hear a lot of stories where their dad will influence their career. Normally it’s like your mother or another female in your life that kind of paves the path for you. So that’s a really cool story. We’re at a time right now. And I think you might agree with me, Audrey, that there is a mixed message on Instagram saying we need to stay on brand, but don’t obsess over the perfectly curated feed. And I have presented that message. And I think that I might be confusing a lot of entrepreneurs because I believe that there’s a lot of entrepreneurs who still desire stock photos and the use of presets. And I say, if that feels right to you, then do it. So we’re going to dive in today and we’re going to talk about presets. So what are presets and how can we use them effectively?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So presets are basically a set of predetermined edits that have been saved out. And then you can actually take that and apply it to an image with one click. Um, and if you have the right presets, most of the time you can apply it and you’re done. Um, so they are different from filters. So if you’re on Instagram, you know, you see the filters that you can apply. And the difference between the two is that with a preset, you can actually, once you’ve applied it, you can go back and adjust the light room sliders for the exposure or the color and change all of that up. Whereas a filter literally just puts a haze over the top of the photo. So maybe you’re going for a pink look. And so it’s kind of a pink filter. It’s going to everything in that photo to kind of that pink hue, whereas a preset like my friend Brenna, she uses this teal on hers, on her feed. And so I have a preset that literally changes the blues in a photo to that teal color without changing the skin tones or the whites or any of that. So those are the differences and, you know, to use them effectively, you just need to know what works well on your feet and what kind of a look you’re going for.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for telling us the difference between filters and presets. Cause I’m sure we had a lot of listeners thinking that a filter is the same as a preset. So I have another question for you.

Speaker 2:

Do presets work on every photo? No, and I know that’s probably not the answer that these mompreneurs want to hear because they want it to be as simple as possible, but you have to remember every photograph is different from the lighting to the time of day, it was taken to the coloring and the photo to who’s in the photo or what’s in the foot. All of that goes in and works together to create the image you’re looking for. And no two photographs are identical. Now you may have some that like at a wedding, if I was shooting the bride and groom, you know, outside by the venue and I shot 10 photos, they’re all going to have a similar look, but it’s going to be different when I take them out by the trees. So short. And the short answer is no, they’re not going to work.

Speaker 2:

You just have to figure out what works best for your images and know that if you go to buy a set of presets, don’t be disappointed when you apply it to one of your images. And you’re like that doesn’t work. That’s, that’s silly. What am I doing? Because again, they’re not going to work on every single one and there are some photos. It doesn’t matter what presets you put on it. It’s not going to be a pretty photo. Maybe it’s like super, super dark or totally blown out. There’s really no fixing a photo like that. But if you really love that photo and you really want to post that photo, put it on your stories, you know, use those to go on your stories because it’s a little bit messier than what your feed is going to be.

Speaker 1:

That’s a really good idea. And then going back to presets, would you suggest that if someone is just really set on a certain preset, they should apply it to their photo and go ahead and adjust the settings to their liking. They don’t necessarily have to keep it at that preset. Correct?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Um, and that’s the joy of using a preset is that you can make those adjustments. A lot of the presets that you buy out there are going to be geared toward a certain look. I actually created my presets differently. Um, because I had had that issue when I first started my business, I thought I’m going to get a set of presets because it’ll make it easier. And I bought these presets and I was extremely disappointed because they just gave my images and look, that was not what I was seeing with my eye. And I didn’t want like that. So when I designed my own presets, they are more of your basic preset to enhance the photo to its natural look. But then if you’ve got an image that is a darker one, I have in that same collection, a preset that it’s the same settings, but it adjust the lighting one that makes it brighter, darker, warmer, cooler, so that you don’t need to use the sliders nearly as much if at all, there’s going to be one within that collection. That’s going to make the adjustment that you need. But, but if you want to adjust like, um, a lot of people want to keep that contrast and keep the blacks really prominent in their photos. So you can adjust that to wherever you want. That makes it cohesive with the look you’re coming up with on your grid or in your website. Now

Speaker 1:

Our audience might be thinking, I want to take my own photos. Do they need a professional camera?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely not. If you go to my Instagram, a lot of the photos on there, I have taken with my iPhone. Now I have an iPhone eight. I don’t have the newest and greatest phone. Um, but if you have one of the newer one within the last, you know, two, three, four years, the cameras on them are really pretty amazing. And um, if I’m shooting Christmas photos, myself, like with my family, I mean, I have, I had two cameras that are professional and I don’t get those out. I use my phone. So you can use your phone for the majority of what you’re shooting. If not all, you just have to be aware of where you’re shooting at.

Speaker 1:

Do you have any tips for someone who’s listening? And they say, okay, I’m going to use my camera phone. Do you always have a certain setting that you shoot

Speaker 2:

Portrait mode? Okay. Nine times out of 10, I use portrait mode. And again, it depends on the look you’re wanting. So in most of my pictures, I love when you focus in on something and everything in the background kind of gets that nice, soft blur. You’re going to get that with the portrait mode on your phone. Um, but it is going to bring your subject closer. Um, so you, you may have to step back a little bit. If you’re wanting to shoot outside and get a beautiful scenery photo, you don’t want portrait mode. You want go with the, just the regular setting so that it, you know, gets the details of everything in that scene that you’re trying to capture.

Speaker 3:

How would our listeners shoot their own stock photos at home with great results?

Speaker 2:

So it’s actually pretty simple, three main things I would suggest. And the number one is lighting. You want to make sure that your lighting is good. Most of the time for me all the time, I use natural light. Again, some people prefer to use, you know, like a ring light or something, but for at home, if you’re not a professional and you’re just using what you’ve got, turn every light in the house off all of your ambient lights, because they’re going to give that ugly yellow hue to your photos that you don’t want and then move whatever it is you’re shooting, whether it’s a setup of a flat lay or a selfie, move it as close to a window as you can get. Or like I do mine in front of my front door. I open it and I’ve got a storm door. Some people will actually move it to their front porch that’s covered.

Speaker 2:

So it gives them a little bit of shade from the actual direct sunlight. So lighting is the main key to is, you know, with your props and your setup use what you have. You don’t have to go out and spend money to make a great shot. You would be shocked at what you can find around your house from a plant to, you know, if you’re a food blogger going your kitchen and, you know, I shot wooden spoons, grabbed your wooden spoons, or, you know, so use what you have in your home without having to go out and spend money. Um, but the one thing I would definitely invest in are white foam core boards. They’re like four bucks at hobby lobby, Michaels, but use those for your flat lays. And as your, your backdrops, if you don’t have any other, um, backdrops to use, although you can also use fabric furniture, wood flooring, the cement outside, you know, it’s kind of wide open on what you can actually use for your backdrop.

Speaker 2:

But most of the time, if I’m doing a flat light, I’ll put a white foam board down next to the front door. And then with your second one, you want to stand that up facing the door. So that as that light is coming in, it’s going to bounce off of that whiteboard and reflect it back into your photo, giving it a little bit more brightness, and it’s going to eliminate some of those harsher shadows. And one thing that I have learned from experience is you don’t want to edit your photo to the point where those shadows are gone, because then it just gives you a flat image and you want more of a three D image that looks realistic. Um, so yeah, the foam boards on the props, you know, are the number two. And then the thing I would tell people is shoot from every angle.

Speaker 2:

Don’t, you know, you, you kind of get in your head, Oh, I want a flat lay of my desk. And so you get your desk all set up and you get up there and you shoot from above to get your flat light, and then you think, okay, I’m done. Okay. So you’ve taken the time to set all of that up. So while you’re there, get back down off your stool and shoot it from straight on or from both side angles, slightly above. And what that’s going to do is first of all, it’s going to give you more than one image to post on your feed because it’s done from different angles. And it’s also gonna, you know, give you that block of images then that you can put away and have for future use. And then the other thing that I have found shooting professionally is that a lot of times I would get like a senior set up for a pose and I take that shot that I’m going for.

Speaker 2:

And then I would walk around them, shoot from all different angles, zoom in and out, you know, like hone in on their face or if you’re on your desktop, maybe hone in on your coffee. And if you’re in that portrait mode, it’s going to keep your coffee cup and focus and blur everything behind it nicely. But what I would then find is I would get home, put those images on my, on my computer and the one shot that I was going for turns out that that’s not the one that’s the best. I really like it from this other angle. It’s gorgeous. So keep, keep an open mind and shoot from all angles, get close, get far away, and you’ll have a wider selection to choose from when you’re doing your own stock photos.

Speaker 1:

I really like those tips. And I think my favorite is number three, because in the beginning, when I did stock photography, I did just that I would do the flat lay, take one or two from above, and that would be it. And then I decided to start doing what you said, take it from different angles in your right. You get so many different pictures. You can back up a little bit. You can get closer to a certain object that you have on that flat lay. And it’s really cool to do different angles. And I think too, what you find is you find your style when you do that, when you’re willing to open up your mind and do different angles, that’s when you find your look or your style that you’re going for. So on the topic of stock for stock photos, here’s the big question. How do we incorporate stock photography into our Instagram feed to stay on brand and to maintain that?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think, you know, going back to what you said earlier, this is my opinion, and there are all kinds of opinions out there, but I think there’s a misconception going around right now that it doesn’t matter what your feed looks like. I think it does. I think your feed is your storefront, you know, which, um, I’ve heard, you know, Susie Zimmerman has said over and over, it is your storefront. And you know, if you had a brick and mortar shop and your windows were dirty and your sign out front was torn or like busted up from a storm, maybe would you leave it like that? Or would you go out clean your windows, put up a new sign because when people drive past and they look at your store, that’s going to determine whether do I stop there and go in or not. And it’s the same thing with your feed when people are scrolling, visually those images that are coming across their feed, that’s going to be, what’s going to determine whether they stop and pause and decide whether or not they’re going to click your profile name and go over and see what the rest of, you know, your images look like and what you’ve got to offer.

Speaker 2:

So, you know, back to your question from that, um, I think if you know your brand and you’ve already selected brand colors and font, then you’re way ahead of the game. And you know, that’s really gonna help you when you’re selecting your photos. You want to make sure you choose ones that are cohesive with that, to put it in simpler terms. You want to make sure. So for instance, on my feed, I have a very light and airy look. And so I would not go and shoot a selfie of myself on a dark blue wall and put that on my feed because it’s going to bring that darker, look into my grid that, that I don’t want, and it would look out of place. Um, so I’m going to find a brick wall outside or my white kitchen and shoot on that. Um, so you want to make sure that you stay cohesive visually with the colors you’re shooting. You know, if your brand colors are pink and blue, then you don’t want to put a bright purple planner on your desktop and shoot it for your feed because that purple is going to stand out from everything else you’ve got going within your aesthetic.

Speaker 1:

I like that advice at my, I have a follow up question because we might have a lot of listeners who don’t have a well established brand yet, but they want to start putting their content out there on Instagram. Would you advise them to go ahead and start putting content out there and still work on their brand? Like my advice is don’t stop,

Speaker 2:

Stop delivering content. Cause you’re

Speaker 1:

Stuck on the feed. Okay.

Speaker 2:

Totally agree with that. Yeah. You know, it’s never going to be perfect. You just got to put it out there messy and, and start the key is to start. And, um, so if you’re, if you really don’t where you’re going with all of this, maybe start neutral, you know, choose stock images. There all kinds of places where you can get free stock images. You know, you don’t have to spend money. Um, Unsplash is a great place. The content bar shameless plug here, um, we do provide images. They’re not images that are going to work for every brand, but we have some that are very neutral. You know, a desktop that I’d shot that is just basically a white background with keyboard, a coffee cup, you know, a pen you can choose those simpler images to post for now until you come up with the brand that you were going for.

Speaker 2:

And you know, one of the easiest way to ways to do that is I would recommend you go to Pinterest, create a board and name it, your mood board, and then literally just start pinning things that catch your eye to that board. And my daughter had me do this a few years ago cause she’s a creative director. And when I first started it, I thought I had to be very specific and Oh, what am I looking for? And she’s like, mom, don’t, she’s a mom. Just go in there and see what catches your eye and put it on that board. Then you go to the board and you’re going to start to kind of see a consistent look of what it is that you’re pinning that you love. And then from there, you know, that’s going to maybe help you hone down what colors you want your brand to be and where you want that to go.

Speaker 1:

Love that advice, Audrey. And that is exactly what I did about two years ago because I wasn’t sure the look I was looking for. And I did the same thing. I created a Pinterest board. I started pinning all of these photos that popped out at me. And that is where my brand colors came from because I was seeing the same shades over and over and over. And that’s how my brand colors came about. So I want to shift back a little bit to presets. Do you recommend any resources when it comes to presets?

Speaker 2:

So basically if you go to Google and you search presets, you’re going to get a bazillion options. It is absolutely true what they say, you get what you pay for. So there are presets out there that are, you know, $5 or less and more than likely it’s not going to be a preset that you’re going to be happy with in the long run. It’s most of the time, those are like one preset done for you. It’s on. And again, it’s more like a filter and it’s going to change kind of, it’s going to give you a moody or look going different directions, if that makes sense. Um, so do your research, you know, find a website with presets that when you look at the images that they are showing us samples, you love what it’s giving you. You look at that and you’re like, Oh, I like that.

Speaker 2:

Look, and then be sure and read up on it. What comes with it again? Like with my presets, I have a set of usually nine to 11. So like my light and airy presets has are 11 in that. And they vary from the basic light and airy preset that you would apply to one that gives you one the same preset with more light, one with less light one that cools it up, warms it up. You know, I have all of those settings within those 11 presets to give you a multitude of options when you’re editing your photos. Because again, when you’re at, when you’re shooting, you may turn your back. And one image is a little bit darker than the other. So you’re going to have a variety of images. So you’re going to need a variety of presets to apply to them.

Speaker 1:

That makes perfect sense. So we want presets that offer variations and options, not just one standard preset and that’s it,

Speaker 2:

Right? Unless you are on the more professional side and you’re very proficient with Lightroom and you know, okay, I’m going to put this with one preset on and then go make adjustments. Um, what I am finding with people on Instagram these days, people want easy quick. And if you’re editing from your phone, that’s one thing I love is the light mobile priests or app is free on your phone. You don’t have to have a subscription and it’s just, it’s on the go editing. So literally I take pictures with my phone. I turn around open light room, pull it in, pop the preset on there, export it. And then, you know, a matter of a minute or less, I have edited that photo export it and it’s ready to post even myself as a professional photographer, if I can avoid making all of the other adjustments on my phone. I’m good with that. And so, so yeah, you know, it just, again, depends on how much work you want to put into it. And how much knowledge do you have with the Lightroom app,

Speaker 1:

Audrey, I can’t thank you enough for all of this amazing information, all the tips on photos and preset. So where can we find you on social media?

Speaker 2:

So on Instagram, I am Audrey wolf.co and um, the content bar is at the content bar. And, um, my website is Audrey wolf.co, really simple. And the content Mar is the content mar.co it’s kind of all, it’s that.co. You got to remember that.co it’s not,

Speaker 1:

I will make sure that all of your information in the show notes and thank you so much for being on the show today. Thank you so much for having me. This has been great.

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