Instagram Photography & Design Tips

We hope you enjoyed last week's post on our favorite editing techniques and apps! Today’s tips are all about how to achieve better, more clear and on-brand instagram photos. You’ll want to keep two things in mind when snapping pictures for your instagram. 1. Styling & 2. Photography. Here are our best tips for each:


- Visual Balance: this can be achieved two ways. The first is formal balance, which would be created by the objects being arranged symmetrically in your image. Informal balance is created when dissimilar objects are are arranged with equal visual weight in your photo space.

visual balance

- Rule of Thirds: our eyes see things in groups of 3’s (or in any odd number grouping) as most aesthetically appealing. Two can seem like too few and 4 can seem cluttered, so sticking with 3 in a vignette (whether this be flowers, books, objects, candlesticks, etc.) is a great rule of thumb. The Rule of Thirds also says that when taking a photo, it’s most visually appealing to have your subject at one of the intersection points in your grid. Imagine this grid as a tic-tac-toe board laying over your image. The first step to a great photo is good composition! You can do a lot in editing apps for lighting and such, but you can never fix your composition.

rule of thirds photography
rule of thirds in photography
rule of thirds


- Wipe Camera Clean: you'll be surprised what a different this makes!

- Use Camera App, Not Instagram Camera: for some reason, the camera on your phone takes WAY clearer and brighter pictures than the camera within the Instagram app. This also makes it really easy to take a bunch of pictures in different angles, focus points, and locations, so that when you're editing, you have a lot of options to choose from.

- Enable Grid: This ensures you're taking a straight picture and also helps you put the Rule of Thirds into practice!

- Vary Your Shots: An interesting Instagram feed is comprised of varied shots. You want a mix of aerial, straight on, vertical, horizontal, images of people, images of things, pulled out shots to tell more of a story, and close up shots to show small details. 



Creative Spotlight: Fleur Chicago with Kelly Marie Thompson

There is little that is more life-filling to us than finding incredibly talented people in our creative industries who are so, SO kind and passionate. You can imagine our excitement when we found the sweet Kelly Marie Thompson, owner and creative director of Fleur Chicago. Fleur is a brick and mortar boutique, in addition be being a full service floral design studio. We'll thrilled to have Kelly teaching our floral arranging session at Bloom Bash Chicago on July 12-13th! Enjoy some insight on business and inspiration from Kelly below:

fleur chicago

When did you start your business?

Fifteen years ago, in 2002, I opened a little storefront in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.

Where does your passion stem from?

Every year it has changed slightly.  Some days it’s the palette of the sun setting, and other days it's from layered petals of peonies and ranunculus.  Nature in general is very powerful to me.  It’s where I find myself meditating, which in turn gives me a chance to re-shift my energy and challenge myself.  In 2017 I decided to really focus on self love – not saying I deserved things, but making challenges to earn things.  Like time to step outside and watch the sunset and let the world be itself and take some kind of inspiration from that.

If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Take some business classes!  The floral world is so beautiful, exciting and fun, but if you don’t know the back end it will become overwhelming.  Every year I take one education course, whether it’s on the business side or design, because there is always something out there you can learn.

Kate Headley Photography

Kate Headley Photography

What is one way you stay inspired outside of your industry/field?

I love cooking.  Researching food and nutrition is so amazing to me, and incredibly satisfying.  Creating a meal for my husband or a small dinner party makes me the happiest person in the world. 

Favorite project AND most challenging project?

Anytime we have to stand on latters and hang anything from the ceiling, butterflies fly around my belly for at least a week prior to installation.  But once you’re done, it’s floating in a room and creating an experience for everyone to enjoy – that’s one of the best feelings in the world. 

Anna Guziak Photography

Anna Guziak Photography

Favorite business tool? 

Communication and community within the industry has been a game changer.  I love knowing that I can call up anyone of my peers when I have a mechanics questions or when I need an extra pair of hands for a set up.  The floral industry is incredibly supportive and I think that is a rare tool in this day and age. 

Best business advice you’ve ever received?

Always step out of your comfort zone to challenge yourself.  I think about that daily.

What are you most looking forward to in 2017 for Fleur?

We have some exciting opportunities for growth this year.  I have some big dreams that are being presented.  I have to be cryptic for now, because I’m superstitious, and I have a lot of hard work ahead.  But I’m so excited to roll up my sleeves and see where this takes us.

Jaclyn Simpson Photography

Jaclyn Simpson Photography

THREE favorite things right now:

My team is basically my world.  Every day I look at them and am over the moon and thrilled to have such dedication in the name of our brand.  We’re all there – growing together and supporting one another.  They are true talent and joy.

Also, watercolors.  I’m slowing getting back into painting and it is re-teaching me patience.  It’s another wonderful way to meditate. 

And finally my little bit of daily indulgence, Sparrow True Essential Oil.  I use it every evening & it is aromatic and so soothing! 

Thanks for sharing with us today, Kelly!

Get more details and registration information for Bloom Bash Chicago HERE


Instagram Editing Tips & Apps

Instagram is by far the most popular form of social media, and we have to say we are pretty obsessed! With such popularity, there are a multitude of photo and editing apps designed specifically to make your photos look extra great. We have found we use just a handful of apps and stick to a pretty basic editing process.

We always recommend taking photos in bright, well-lit spaces when possible. This makes getting like-worthy photos that much easier and any filters or editing techniques you apply will look clean and beautiful. We also absolutely suggest you always take photos with your phone camera and not from within an app. A few of our favorite apps are Afterlight, VSCO, Filmborn and A Color Story. Here is the skinny on each:

Afterlight: Think of this as photoshop on your phone. You can adjust exposure, brightness, clarity, contrast, temperature and more. We love this app for photos that need a little help in reaching their full, shareable potential!

Here's an example of a photo edited with Afterlight. BEFORE:
You can see it's taken in the shade, on a bright sunny day, so the lighting is ideal. To make it really pop, though, we did a few things in Afterlight!

AFTER: increased the brightness, contrast, clarity, and sharpness. Then just barely increased the saturation to really bring out the colors. No filter added.

VSCO: We love VSCO because of the clean photo filters they offer. We recommend HB1, HB2, A6, & C1, 2 and 3. Always adjust the opacity on any filter you add and remember that true-to-life color always stands the test of time.

Here's an example of a photo edited with VSCO. BEFORE:

before editing

AFTER: Adjusted the brightness, contrast, sharpness and applied filter A6 at level 4 opacity. Finally, we adjusted the temperature to a bit more of a blue hue, because the picture had inherently yellow tones due to the flower color.

VSCO after

Filmborn: Launched in the last few months, Filmborn allows you to edit photos to look as close to film as possible. With filters like Fuji 400 and Portra 800, we are smitten. Add some grain to make your images look like they were just sent back to you from your lab! If you shoot film, you'll catch on very quickly to this app.

Here's an example of a photo edited with Filmborn. BEFORE:
Yes, this is the same photo as the one we showed you above, edited with Afterlight. We thought a comparison would be fun between the different apps!

AFTER: Fugi 400 "filter", increase contrast and sharpen.

For a direct comparison: 





A Color Story: This app is all about color, as the name suggests! If color is important to your brand, this is a great app to edit with. A Color Story has all the editing tools for adjusting brightness, contrast and sharpness, as well as MANY fun filters (our favorites are the pack created by Glitter Guide called Flashes of Delight) and lots of flares, bokehs, and other effects. This app is probably the most "overwhelming" of all, because there are a lot of options.

Here's an example of a photo edited with A Color Story. BEFORE:


AFTER: Upped the brightness, contrast, sharpness, and added the Flashes of Delight filter called Cassidy.

after edited

We also want to show you how cropping your image more closely can create more interesting and vibrant pictures. Removing some negative space and cropping it closer, draws you further into the petals of the flowers:

cropped picture

Other apps we like: Snapseed for red eye correction, Slow Shutter Cam for taking long exposures with your phone or Facetune to remove acne or blemishes. We also love 8mm Vintage Camera for adding scratches and light leaks for videos!

Our Editing Tips:
We almost always increase our brightness and contrast when edited in any app. We also like to slightly bump the clarity and sharpness. If our photo is too yellow or too blue, we also adjust the temperature for the perfect color. Doing these things reduces the need for photo filters and achieves a bright and airy style. Happy editing!

Let us know YOUR favorite editing apps in the comments!