Instagram Your Life

Some Easy Step By Step Instructions on How To Make Your iPhone Photos Fabulous

 

About a year ago, I came across an iPhone app that has changed the way I see the world around me completely. It’s called Instagram, and free, and it is awesome.    Instagram says of itself:

 

It is a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures.  Snap a photo with your iPhone, choose a filter to transform the look and feel, send to Facebook, Twitter or Flickr- It’s all as easy as pie. It’s photo sharing, reinvented.”

 

I am an avid user of social media, and I have never liked any of the photo sharing options available through any of those services. When I saw a few friends posting super creative photos from their lives, I thought I’d give Instagram a try.

 

There are currently 16 photo filters you can choose from on Instagram, and a few other tweaking options for making your photos creative, funky & fun.The possibilities you can come up with using these filters and options are endless. To make even more brilliant and fun photos, there are several iPhone photo editing apps I use to spruce up my photos, then load them to Instagram.

 

Our kids have iPod touches with cameras, so they can get in on the fun as well.  The other day we went to Silver Beach in St. Joseph, Michigan. We got some extraordinary pictures of the sand, ice and snow by the lake.  At one point, I saw a really neat ice formation and decided to take a few steps closer to the lake.  The waves were so beautiful and the ice and snow were so brilliant. My foot and knee went in the icy cold water at one point due to deceptively solid sand-ice. But did I get the picture? Yes!

 

While I was warming up in the van, Belle, our youngest daughter fell for the old “sandy ice” and her fuzzy pink boot went in the frozen water. The older girls had to rescue her boot while Rob returned her to the van with his glove on her bare foot.

 

We laughed and laughed, and had a great time together. We all got some fabulous pictures. Then we got some ice cream…because we weren’t cold enough already. While eating our ice cream, we shared the awesome photos we all captured and were amazed at each persons unique perspective of the same event.

 

Sometimes venturing out and doing something like this is all it takes to remember why we really love to be together, and what makes us family.

 

iPhoneography is an easy hobby to excel at, even our 8 year old has a private account on Instagram where she can share her photos with her sisters and a few close family friends.

 

Friends have asked me, “How do you get your photos to look so awesome?” I’m almost embarrassed to share, because it is really very simple.  I’ll let you in on my secrets here in ten easy steps:

 

  1. Get an iPod Touch, or iPhone, or iPad with a camera. (Word on the street is that Instagram will be available for android devices soon)
  2. Take some pictures. Keep it simple. Photograph your favorite things wherever you or whatever you’re doing.  You don’t need a fancy backdrop or perfect                   photography skills.  Just start taking pics.
  3. Download Instagram from the iTunes store with your device.  It’s FREE!
  4. Create an Instagram account.  This just means choosing a user name and password.  They ask you for your email address, but that is all the private information you will need to give. You can create a profile linking to your personal website and a few personal details, or just make up a completely fake name and identity if you want to remain anonymous.  Lots of people do.
  5. Click the camera icon that says“Share”.  Take a photo from the Instagram app, or load a photo from your device’s library.
  6. Add a filter or load the photo as-is.  After you load your photo you can add a caption such as “Most amazing beach day ever”. In the comments section, you can also add a #hashtag that puts your photo into a category.  For example, when I loaded these frozen beach pictures to Instagram, I used the hashtags #frozen #ice #beach #lakemichigan and #michmag (the #michmag hashtag is the special tag Family Magazine has created for you fabulous readers as you load photos you’d like to share with other readers!)
  7. Find some other followers! Instagram is more fun when you are viewing other’s pics, giving and receiving great comments from other users.  In the “Profile” section, there is an option to “Find Friends”. Click on this and all of your friends from Facebook, Twitter, or your email accounts that also use Instagram will automatically pop up.  Is that awesome or what?
  8. If you want to engage with others on Instagram, leave thoughtful comments for the people’s photos you like the best. I have been amazed at the positive, hopeful, kind, and encouraging words others have left for me. I am truly a better photographer because of these friends.
  9. Experiment with other iTunes apps for photography.  Once you get the hang of Instagram, do a search for other photography apps that allow you to edit your photos before you post them to Instagram. There are countless photography apps that help you crop, edit, correct, add filters, effects, etc.  My favorites right now are Snapspeed, Luminance, Pixlromatic, and Camera+.
  10. Have fun! Instagram just might change the way you see your world.

 

I no longer view my world as an endless landscape of corn fields with blue skies. I get excited when I see a fallen down barn. I plan my day ahead of time so I know where the shadows will fall the best at which time of day for a really cool photograph. My kids make fun of me when I pull to the side of the road to snap a pic of a field of freshly fallen snow, but when I Iook in the back seat of our mini van, there they are, snapping away at the same scenery with their iPod touches.

Instagram is such a fun and creative way to share the world around you with others. Have fun and I’ll see you there! My user name is MichelleWegner.  I can’t wait to see what you create with the world around you. Go ahead and Instagram your life!

This article appeared in the March 2012 edition of The Family Magazine of Michiana.

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