If we didn’t already know how smart and switched on you were, we’d be tempted to start this blog with a massively oversimplified description of social media influencers.
In fact, despite your obvious smartness, we’ll do it anyway and say that social media influencers are people with a gift for making their lives look better than ours.
Their clothes look stylish and daring, while ours look frumpy and tea-stained. Their holidays look glamorous and sun-kissed – ours look blurry and mosquito bitten.
And that’s the key to being a great influencer, being able to present your life in a way that makes it seem so much more thrilling. That’s why the ability to construct an amazing image is probably just as important as having an extraordinary life to take pictures of in the first place.
However with an average of 55 million photos uploaded each day to Instagram, how on earth can an influencer make sure their images are good enough to earn people’s attention, let alone inspire them?
The good news is that if you have a smart phone, a bit of basic technique and some of these unbelievably clever apps, creating great Instagram images doesn’t require specialist photography knowledge or equipment.
Now, we could easily go on all day about apps we love, but we’re pretty sure you’ve got places to be. So, at top speed, here are three of our absolute favourites:
1. VSCO Cam
As well as being a top-end photo-editing app, this is also something of a social network in itself – with a community of users sharing their creations.
A firm favourite amongst fashion bloggers, VSCO may take a little playing with to find the right options for you, but the creative control it offers makes it all worth it.
Google’s own ridiculously powerful photo-editing app belongs in every influencer’s virtual tool kit.
Whizzing through its many, many benefits we think you’ll find it especially useful for fine-tuning your images (to a degree Instagram’s in-built filters doesn’t allow) and trying not to go absolutely mad with the highly addictive healing tool.
3. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
A part of Adobe’s Creative Suite, this app has traditionally been more for creative professionals. But a new development has made it an incredibly powerful piece of kit for influencers.
Without getting too techy, Lightroom has basically added an update that enables raw HDR capture – which fundamentally means your smart phone can now capture the kind of breathtaking tone and detail you’d only expect from a serious camera. (Trust us, this is big.)
These three are just tiny frost crystals on the tip of the iceberg. The challenge now is to go and experiment until you find the combination that suits you.
Actually, the real challenge is not getting so excited about all the possibilities that your feed starts to look like an explosion in a filter factory.
After all, being an influencer is about having a distinct voice, a distinct personality and a distinct style. As a brand (and yes, that’s what you are) your feed, with one or two favourite filters and a consistent photography style, should always look beautifully cohesive when you see it as a whole.
The other temptation is to use all the technology available to drastically distort your life and images beyond any reality. Anyone who has ever got caught in a loop of photo editing with Facetune (favoured by The Kardashians, no less) will know how easy it is to create something that bears no resemblance to who you really are.
Remember, your audience may want your photos to feel creative and striking, but they also want them to feel like a window into a real life, led by a real person.
(Go ahead and filter out the tea stains though. No one needs to see that.)