Instagram Posts: Doing More With Less

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!

I was able to edit a picture I took at a hotel in the summer to look like the Disneyland Paris castle is outside my window. I also edited in a Christmas tree, Santa Mickey Mouse Plush, a red bow on a light above me, and Christmas presents on the bed
Christmas at Disneyland Paris
– edited with Lightroom, Photoshop, and PicsArt

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 dΓ©cor or general aesthetic that I can still get the same effect of “new” that I know people love to see online.

My birthday post is a safari theme! I am dressed in a giraffe onesie with blue balloons scattered around my feet. I was then able to edit in yellow and black birthday balloons and two large leopard print balloons to display my age - 27! I also edited in green vines behind me to cover my garage door.
27th Birthday post
– edited with Lightroom and PicsArt

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 dΓ©cor and balloons for a one-time picture.

To celebrate the premiere of Onward, I took my Jeep to the top of a hill, used a large stick to act as my wand, and mimicked the Onward movie poster. I edited a unicorn on to the side of my car, two crescent moons in the sky that is filled with beautiful stars, and a magical light at the end of my "wand".
Onward Disney Bound
– edited with Lightroom, Illustrator, and PicsArt

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!

A Cars Land and Radiator Springs inspired edit. I am sitting on newly paved asphalt and in the distance down the road is Radiator Springs as pictured in the Disney PIxar movie, Cars, in golden hour light.
Radiator Springs
– edited with Lightroom and Photoshop
A simple Disney Bound and edit where me and my boyfriend, Cody, are holding a Wall-E Christmas stocking. I am wearing mostly white, and he is wearing a yellow shirt so that we look like Eve and Wall-E. I edited the green leaf from the movie onto my shirt and edited "Wall-E" onto his shirt.
Wall-E Joll-E Christmas
– edited with Lightroom and Photoshop
My favorite Tron Legacy edit! I am wearing a form fitted black two-piece workout set that has white contrast stitching all over it. Behind me I edited in a background from Tron Legacy.
Tron Legacy
– edited with Lightroom and Photoshop
Using the trees around my house to my advantage, I took a picture standing next to one of my trees while wearing a Fall/Halloween inspired outfit. Jack Skellington's face is on my long sleeve. On the tree, I edited the pumpkin door that leads to Halloween Town from the movie Nightmare Before Christmas. Creeping around the tree is Zero the Ghost Dog.
Nightmare Before Christmas
– edited with Lightroom and Photoshop

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