Have you ever looked at someone’s Instagram post and thought to yourself “I wonder how much money they spent to make this post?” I find myself thinking this a lot lately as I see so many people have new merchandise, insane decorations, brand new shopping bags, or go to these crazy beautiful locations on a vacation. I follow a number of people who always seem to have that newest thing or that best location on their page and I wonder what they are working on outside of Instagram to make it happen.
Then there’s lil ol’ me.
I don’t really have the newest things, I tend to be an outfit repeater, I don’t go on many vacations, and I feel as if I might be doing my page a disservice because I can’t offer those cool experiences and things to my followers. It just so happens that I can’t pay for all of that to bring my posts to the next level! I have so many things in my life that I want to do like buy a house and have a nice wedding, so if that means I can’t spend $40 to make one single photoshoot look really cool for that one day, then it’s because my priorities lie elsewhere!
For example, during the Christmas season, I would have loved to buy all the cute seasonal merch and get a nice tree to decorate, but damn, trees cost a grip! Seasonal merch costs a grip! And I am just not the type of person to want to spend that money on things that won’t be relevant anymore after a month has gone by. Which is why I am finding that it is so much cheaper for me to just edit my posts to look like I had all of those really nice things! Take my Disneyland Paris inspired post for example. This was a picture I took back in summer at a hotel in San Diego where there was literally nothing else to the picture except me looking out a window with my book. But I was inspired by someone else’s post to turn into a Christmas wonderland. This edit got me more eyes to my page than any of my other Christmas posts that year!
There is no doubt in my mind that there is an attractive element to “new”, and I can’t blame my followers for seeking that out in other creator’s content. So I wanted to get savvy with how I offer that with my posts. How can I make it seem like I have these things without actually have them?
Well the biggest tool in my belt – a subscription to Adobe.
Um… didn’t you JUST say that you can’t pay for things to make a nice post??
Yes. I can’t pay for things for ONE single post. That’s literally the biggest waste of money for any content creating that I do. Can you imagine the bill behind spending $20-40 for every possible post to put props, merchandise, or decorations in it? Even some awesome and trending Disney merch can get to be upwards of $75 per item! (I’m looking at you, Spirit Jerseys…) Instead I pay for one subscription to Adobe to get ALL of their apps for a total of $53 a month to give my posts that extra razzle dazzle that my followers and I crave! I use Lightroom to edit the photos to the lighting and color that I want; I use Photoshop to add in cool things to my photos that I either don’t own or just to give my photos a fun edit; I use Illustrator to make any graphics that I want to put on to my pictures; and lastly I use Premiere Pro to make amazing videos that my followers love! I’m sure this goes without saying that I can’t just edit myself a new Spirit Jersey, but these apps do me enough good for background décor or general aesthetic that I can still get the same effect of “new” that I know people love to see online.
For me posting around 15 posts a month, even if I just use one of those apps on every picture (which is guaranteed to happen because every picture I take goes through Lightroom at least), that means each post really only costs me around $3.50. But obviously if I use multiple apps for one picture, like I did for any one of my Tron Disney Bounds where I use both Lightroom and Photoshop, then that costs goes down.
This is not to say that I put “edited” things in my pictures every single time, but for a post like my birthday post where I want a lot of decorations, then yea it calls for some editing magic! And I sure as heck am not about to spend $30 on décor and balloons for a one-time picture.
Now if you are just starting out then let me give you an even bigger tip – you don’t even need a subscription to get started on adding some flare to your photos! You might even be shocked to learn that my birthday picture was edited in Lightroom for the lighting and color, but then after that I used a free app called PicsArt to add everything else in. No subscription required! And one of the first pictures I ever tried to edit into something insanely fun was my Onward Disney Bound where I used Lightroom, Illustrator to add the moons and unicorn, and lastly PicsArt to add the sky effect and the glow on the end of my wizard’s wand!
Since I have started making fun edits, even if it’s just to add a small accent of sparkle to my posts, I have seen an increase in my engagement and post-likes! I even love showing my followers a behind the scenes look for my before-and-afters of my work because it allows them to see just how crazy some of the things I create are! It also allows them to see just how easy it is for anyone to expand their imaginative powers and use these creative tools to make a post go from “Oh cool post” to “Oh wow did you see what Donna posted today?! INSANE!”
If you want to take your post game to the next level, I definitely suggest making sure that you have the proper tools to edit your photos. Instagram’s algorithm rewards hard work by showcasing your posts to more people, and further more, the more time your followers spend on your posts specifically, the more engagement you will see!
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