Photo Tools That Improved My Instagram and Blog | Health, Love & Fire

Photo Tools That Improved My Instagram and Blog

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

One of the things I've found most important to growing and building my blog is photography. Now you don't have to be a professional photographer by any means, but having clear consistent photos has really helped me grow my following. A few months ago I really started trying to focus on different aspects of how to better and grow my blog, so I want to begin sharing and compiling the resources I've found helpful along the way.

Since photos are so important to your blog and your social media following, that's the area I decided to focus on first. Instagram is my favorite social media channel, so it only made sense to start really paying attention and trying to build that avenue first. About six months ago, I started to pay more attention to the quality of images I was posting, the hashtags I was using, and the overall look and feel of the posts and photos I was sharing and it has completely changed my Instagram and blog. I went from averaging around 35 likes per image, to getting an average of 90-100 likes per post. I have nearly doubled my followers, and continue to watch it grow every day. So what do I use or do to see that growth? Here's the four factors that have contributed to my photo growth.

1. Photos
I take most of my photos on my iPhone 6s or my Cannon 60D camera. Both produce a great quality photo. I love that I already carry my iPhone with me everywhere so it's right at my fingertips when I have a photo worthy moment, but definitely can't replace the quality of the images I'm able to get with my DSLR camera. Many of my followers find me either through Instagram or Pinterest, both of which rely heavily on images, so having good quality photos has been key to gaining more followers and page views.

One of the things I find most helpful when it comes to photos is to have some ready to post, especially on my Instagram. I work full-time so getting out to take photos during the week can be tough. That's why, I try to take lots of photos on the weekend to have ready to post throughout the week so I can still remain consistent. You used to find me posting just any and every photo I took, but I've started being really selective of the images I share on my Instagram. I want my feed to be the best photos I have and for them to share a story throughout my feed. Since changing what I share, I not only have seen an increase in my following, but an increase in likes and in comments too!

  • Sarah at Venus Trapped In Mars has done some awesome research on Hashtags that will increase your likes.

2. Editing 

Instagram is the app I use the most when it comes to posting and uploading my photos to different social media accounts, but I usually edit the photos before I post them there using different apps and programs. I have used both Lightroom and Photoshop in the past, but my go-to for photo editing on my iPhone is  VSCO. There are some great tutorials on Youtube to get ideas to better your photo editing. One of my favorites is from Katherine Elizabeth.

  • Ashley @ The Grits Blog just released some great fall themed stock photos.
3. Creating Images For Your Blog
Having photos such as the one below is the best way to attract traffic to my blog from Pinterest or explain to my readers in their blogger or bloglovin feed what my post is about that day. I make all of those images like the ones on this post on Canva. That website has tons of options for free designs and even more if you're willing to pay a bit. A monthly subscription to Canva costs $12.95, or if you purchase an entire year it goes down to $9.95 a month. If you're someone who uses Canva for all of your blog post images this is a pretty good deal, although I've been able to create all of my images without purchasing a subscription, so I would try it out before purchasing.
  • Helene is one of my go-to's for all things blogging, and photography is no different! I love the  free stock photos she shared and find everything she shares blogging gold! 

4. Backdrops & Staging
If you've spent much time on Instagram or looking around other blogs, you may have noticed some themes and backgrounds that show up more often than not. Whether it's the infamous white run or white Carrara marble countertops, not all of us have those things permanently in our homes. A few months ago I started picking up fun backdrops or photo add ons to include in my staged images for Instagram when I came across them. I picked up a small white rug for around $12 at Marshall's and I have a few small white tiles that I got at Home Depot. I love both of these options because they are easy to store, convenient to move around to the best lighting and they were inexpensive. If you don't want to go out and buy a bunch of photo props, just do some looking around your home. I've used coffee mugs, wooden crates or candles that I already had around the house to create a perfect final look. 

  • You can find suggestions for photo ideas and backdrops to use for blog photos from IvoryMix and Charita at PinkPot has some awesome suggestions to help you style your photos. 
One of the best ways to track your growth and what you continue to learn and change is to write down some statistics to continually check in on. I started keeping track of my followers on several different platforms and have loved watching the different techniques I implement change the number of followers and amount of interaction I get on my different social media channels. I started by just writing down the number of followers I currently had on each platform along with the date. Then each month I would do the same thing and compare how my numbers had changed. There is so much to learn about blogging and so many different aspects to social media that it can feel completely overwhelming, but making small changes can really make a difference.

What have you done to improve your blog or Instagram photos and how have you seen growth from those changes? 


  1. Well said my friend! I started a few weeks ago following the same rules - being careful of image quality and hashtags. I also have tried to establish a pattern on my page. By doing these things my follower count hasn't increased but my like count has more than tripled and so has engagement. One thing I've noticed over the past couple of days is how much my count and engagement has dropped and other grammers are experiencing similar things as well. I wonder if Instagram changed their algorithm??? And thank you for the shout out girl :)

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  3. I agree! Once I learned how to take great photos my IG improved so much. Something as simple as a backdrop can make such a difference!

  4. I love the idea of using a rug for a backdrop! I recently ordered a roll of marble contact paper, attached it to a piece of cardboard, and use that as my "marble" counter!

  5. Thank you so much for these tips! I'm always looking for new resources and ways to improve my photography. It's so funny how we can use sooo many different things as a stylish backdrop!

  6. Backdrops make a HUGE difference in blog/instagram photos. Great tips!

    Alix |

  7. I'm personally partial to pic monkey but will have to check out canva. Also want to learn photoshop it's so versatile!

  8. Backdrops are so important! These are great tips!

  9. I love Canva! It is my go to!

  10. Great tips! Love finding different items to use as backdrops for photos! Going to have to remember to stock up photos instead of trying something each day to post.

  11. Such great tips! Good photography is SO important to the success of your blog and instagram.

    La Belle Sirene

  12. I'm bookmarking this post for future reference, but I'm so happy you shared these tips! I am looking to boost my blog viewership and Instagram page growth.

    xo, Elizabeth |