Use Instaspacer to Clean Up Your Captions

Clean up your captions with Instaspacer

One of the most annoying things about writing extended captions on Instagram is the absence of line returns between “paragraphs.” You can clean up your captions with Instaspacer.

I’ve been wondering why. Instagram envisions itself as an image-sharing platform, it didn’t consider the needs of a blogger. The mechanics of inserting a clean line return isn’t top of mind for them.

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Great to get out in the cold, sunny 🌞 weather today! I feel like I've been glued to my computer for the past three weeks! 💻 . . Have you ever had a bad dream, only to realize it wasn't a dream? 🌌 I created a slide deck on Kanye West for my digital marketing class. The assignment was to analyze a social media celebrity. I thought I was presenting next week. 🌟 . . I was shocked to see my name listed as one of the presenters lined up for TODAY. 😱 I had not rehearsed my presentation AT ALL. So it ran two minutes over the time limit. ⏱️ Not good. . . The good thing was coming home knowing it was over, so I was able to go for a walk.🚶‍♀️Saw lots of piles of dirty snow, ❄️ and very few flowers. 🌺 The cold has taken a toll on the plants. 😿 . . But it was nice to see the fake flamingoes out in full force. 💗 This one seemed to be making a nest! . . Have you ever been caught unprepared? How did it turn out? I hope it was a better experience than mine! ☺️ . . #Hellebores #lakewashington #flamingo #nest #pinkflamingo shot with #pixel2xl #googlepixel2xl #pixelphoto #pixelphotography #madrona #seattle #flowerstagram #flowersofinstagram #flowersoftheday #returntoschool . .

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I’m seeing more people write longer captions to go with their images. Some give up the fight and write a solid block of prose. Others employ various methods to create a space between thoughts

In the examples above and below you can see:

  • Line return
  • period
  • Line return
  • Period

Typing a period on a fresh line, then hitting a line return and then typing another period and another line return will do the trick. The advantage of this is being able to compose the caption directly in Instagram.

Sometimes Instagram will ignore one of the “line return – period” so doing it twice ensures you will see at least one line of space between paragraphs. The sample that follows shows an enlarged example of the extra periods and line returns.

Instaspacer

I recently came across an application called Instaspacer that is the answer to this problem. There is a caveat. You have to type your caption into the Instaspacer app, then copy and paste into Instagram. It’s pretty easy. After you write your caption, click one button to copy it.

Many of us are already using at least one external app before posting into Instagram, so it’s not that big of a deal. And the benefit is worth the effort.

With Instaspacer, the line returns are retained when they’re copied and pasted into Instagram:

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Today was my first official day off since the quarter ended. It felt great taking my last two finals yesterday! 😊⁣ ⁣ It was great to see a long time friend and celebrate her birthday. 🍰 Each year is a gift. She lives in a houseboat on Lake Union, and much of the day was warm and beautiful. 🌅⁣ ⁣ Houseboat neighborhoods are mostly organized by docks with maybe 20 houseboats on each dock. The houses are completely surrounded by water that is deceptively deep – maybe 20 to 30 feet? (6 to 9 meters). There are spaces between them, often filled with moored boats belonging to the home owners. 🛥️ A large boat passes by on the lake, and the waves lap at the dock. It’s a really special way of living in Seattle. 🌊⁣ ⁣ I was ready for this break. The past three months have been intense, but gratifying. I can’t remember feeling so unsure of myself — so full of doubt — as I have since re-entering school. 🏫⁣ ⁣ For me, the whole point of going back to school was to learn stuff I didn’t know before. So I told myself I wasn’t going to care about my grades — the focus would be on the quality of what I learn. 🔎⁣ ⁣ The only problem with that notion is that it’s my nature to be competitive. So it became apparent that it wasn’t enough to simply learn. I want to get good grades, too! ✒️⁣ ⁣ Nine days until spring quarter starts. 🌱And as for my grades — they’re now in the hands of my professors. 👨‍🏫 I hope I did well!⁣ ⁣ ⁣ Photos: Central District Koi; spring flowers; Lake Union houseboat ramp; Houseboat on Lake Union⁣ ⁣ #pixel2xl #pixelperfect #koi #centraldistrict #seattle #flowers #flowersofinstagram #flowerstagram #cherryblossoms #lakeunion #houseboats #urbanlifestyle

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The clean spaces between paragraphs appear!  Very nice!

So if you decide you want to try your hand at blogging within the framework of Instagram, check out Instaspacer, available on both iPhone and Android. You’ll be happy you did!

For more information on Instagram captions, check out: Do Captions Make a Difference? 

MORE ABOUT TERRI:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
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Tips to Make Instagram Images Better

Make INstagram Images Better

Shot across from Alki Surf Shop in West Seattle-an image that looked dark and hopeless, saved by cropping, adjustments and a Snapseed filter.

What can you do to salvage an image that is “almost there,” but is in some way deficient? How can you make Instagram images better?

If you’re shooting with a professional camera, likely you are using Lightroom, Photoshop or some other professional software to process your images. When you are editing a raw file, the possibilities to correct an image are extensive.

shooting With an iPhone VS Android

There are great apps on both the Apple and Android platforms. Two that are available on both platforms that I think offer to do many things and are fairly intuitive tools to use are Pixler and Snapseed.

Both offer some of the same basic tools including cropping, rotation, the ability to create collages, auto-balancing of color, focal blur, image filters or effects, the ability to add type or borders, and easy resizing, and many people wouldn’t want to do more than the basics.

And of course Instagram is famous for their original offering of built-in filters/effects, but both Pixlr and Snapseed offer options that are specific to their apps and both help make Instagram images better.

Pixlr

Pixlr (formerly Pixlr Express) is the right photo editor for everyone whether you have never edited a photo or are a pro. This app has all the tools and effects you need and then some. I like the ability to easily dodge and burn in this application because sometimes you want to darken or lighten an area of an image, and it’s fairly easily accomplished here.

You can favorite your “go-to” effects and add stylizations that make your image look like a pencil sketch, pen and ink sketch and more. There is also the ability to focus on one color to create impact.

Pixlr offers in-app purchases available for higher functionality.

Pixlr’s complete list of features:

  • Create photo collages with a variety of choices for layout, background, and spacing.
  • Balance color in one easy click with Auto Fix.
  • Layer multiple photos and blend them together to get a unique look, using Double Exposure.
  • Stylize your image to look like a pencil drawing, an ink sketch, a poster, and more.
  • Make your selfies beautiful with simple tools to remove blemishes and red-eyes or to whiten your teeth.
  • Focus on one color with Color Splash or add impact with Focal Blur.
  • Choose from a pool of effect packs to give your image the look and feel you want.
  • Adjust the mood of the photo with overlays – amplify the tone, cool it down, or add surreal shades.
  • Mask your photo with captions or overlay it with text. Choose from a variety of fonts.
  • Finish off your editing process with the right border – pick a style that suits you.
  • Keep things fresh with our growing catalog of additional effects, overlays, and border packs.
  • Keep track of your favorite effects and overlays with the Favorites button.
  • Resize images quickly and easily after editing.
  • Share your photo directly with friends through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or email.

Snapseed

My favorite editing tool for Instagram is Snapseed, a Google application.

Snapseed’s “Details” tool is like the equivalent of sharpening in Photoshop. It can come in handy when you’d like to see more sharpness in the details of an image. “Curves” is also a professional tool in Photoshop that allows the adjustment highlights and shadows. The Perspective tool is fantastic for architectural images that are not quite perpendicular and enables corrections to look perfect.

The HDR tool is amazing though some users have a tendency to over-process their images with it. It affects the entire image and makes colors and details pop and especially affects shadow and highlight areas. It can turn clouds into a tumultuous sky. HDR can surprise you because you discover things in the image that you didn’t even know were there.

Snapseed offers

  • 29 Tools and Filters
  • Opens JPG and RAW files
  • Save your personal looks and apply them to new photos later
  • Selective filter brush

list of Snapseed tools and effects

  • RAW Develop – open and tweak RAW DNG files; save non-destructively or export as JPG –
  • Tune image – adjust exposure and color automatically or manually with fine, precise control
  • Details – magically bring out surface structures in images.
  • Crop – crop to standard sizes or freely
  • Rotate – rotate by 90°, or straighten a skewed horizon
  • Perspective – fix skewed lines and perfect the geometry of horizons or buildings
On the left, the ceiling of the Grays Harbor Courthouse is not square or symmetrical and had to be rotated. On the right, the perspective was corrected and adjustments were made to brightness, color, etc.
  • White Balance – adjust the colors so that the image looks more natural
  • Brush – selectively retouch exposure, saturation, brightness or warmth
  • Selective – the renown “Control Point” technology: Position up to 8 points on the image and assign enhancements, the algorithm does the rest magically
  • Healing – remove the uninvited neighbor from a group picture
  • Vignette – add soft darkness around the corners like a beautiful, wide-aperture would do
  • Text – add both stylized or plain text
  • Curves – have precise control over the brightness levels in your photos
  • Expand – increase the size of your canvas and fill up the new space algorithmically
  • Lens Blur – add a beautiful Bokeh to images (background softening), ideal for photographic portraits
  • Glamour Glow – add a fine glow to images, great for fashion or portraits
  • Tonal Contrast – boost details selectively in the shadows, mid-tones and highlights
  • HDR Scape – bring a stunning look to your images by creating the effect of multiple exposures

Additional Options

  • Drama – add a hint of doomsday to your images (6 styles)
  • Grunge – an edgy look with strong styles and texture overlays
  • Grainy Film – get modern film looks with realistic grain
  • Vintage – the style of color film photo from the 50s, 60s or 70s
  • Retrolux – go retro with light leaks, scratches, film styles
  • Noir – Black and White film looks with realistic grain and the “wash” effect
  • Black & White – classic Black and White look straight out of the darkroom
  • Frames – add frames with adjustable size
  • Double Exposure – blend two photos, choosing from blend modes that are inspired by shooting on film and by digital image processing
  • Face Enhance – add focus to the eyes, add face-specific lighting, or smooth skin
  • Face Pose – correct the pose of portraits based on three-dimensional models
  • Shared directly from the application to your social media channels

Try it, you’ll like it

It’s undeniable that most every image can be improved in some way through an editing app. I’ve tried dozens of them, as well as dozens more of specialty apps because each offers something different, but I always come back to Snapseed. In discussions with other Instagrammers, it seems to be one that is widely used and valued.

Both Pixlr and Snapseed are free (again, some Pixlr extras are available only via in-app purchase), so download both and see which one you prefer. Either way, apps such as Pixlr and Snapseed will help you make  Instagram images better.

I’m curious to know what you think. Which is your favorite?

For more information about photo editing, check out How to Use Filters to Improve Your Photos

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MORE ABOUT TERRI:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
Terri Nakamura on Instagram 
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How to Use Tools to Automate Your Instagram Scheduling

 

Instagram Scheduling

For a long time, it wasn’t possible to use automation for Instagram scheduling.  People could use an application called Buffer that would send reminders that it was TIME to post an Instagram update, but that was as far as it went.

Other applications got into the game. One of the main issues is, it is hard enough to manage content on your phone, so apps like Buffer made it possible to control things from your PC. It was a big game changer as it also allows collaboration by members of a team.

It has been shown a regular posting window can be beneficial in terms of one’s audience on Instagram. You begin to encounter some of the same users in a specific time window. For example, I have a tendency to post pretty late at night (anywhere from 9 PM up until midnight), so that means many of my followers and those with whom I most actively engage are either night owls in the United States (except Hawaii, which is 3 hours earlier!) or those in Asian, Europe or even in the southern hemisphere.

So predictable posting times can work in one’s favor if cultivating a dedicated audience is one of your objectives. Buffer is able to schedule   photo posts as well as video updates including captions and hashtags.

Deck Platforms

There are scheduling and monitoring/engagement “deck” platforms similar to Twitter’s Tweetdeck, with Hootsuite being a long-established and versatile application for scheduling/monitoring; engagement with content; and allows oversight of specific account streams, hashtags and more.

Hootsuite is an expansive tool and allows connection to myriad social accounts if you have a paid subscription. Otherwise, free account users are allowed three connections and basic analytics reporting and message scheduling. Some of the additional social profiles that can be used with Hootsuite include  Facebook profiles/pages/groups, Twitter pages, LinkedIn profiles/groups/companies, YouTube, WordPress and Instagram accounts. It’s also possible to connect to Tumblr, Flickr and others.

A few other  Instagram scheduling apps you might wish to explore include SkedSocial, OnlyPult, BufferGram (soon to relaunch as BUSY.IO) and AutoGrammer.

https://skedsocial.com/

 

 

 

https://onlypult.com/

Again, Buffergram has announced on its website that it will be relaunching as BUSY.IO

http://buffergram.com/

https://www.autogrammer.com/

One or more team members, or accounts?

If you are new to Instagram, or work as a social media assistant to a small business, it is important to note many apps have free versions for a single user.

If you are working with a team with numerous people curating content, it may be worthwhile to investigate Enterprise or Team options. Also, depending on your needs, services such as Buffer and Hootsuite allow scheduling and monitoring across many platforms. Click the links to find out more.

For information on other useful tools, check out How to Monitor Your Instagram.

Feature Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

MORE ABOUT TERRI:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
Terri Nakamura on Instagram 
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How to Monitor Your Instagram Account

After Terri started her Instagram account, she didn’t monitor it for 4 or 5 years. She wondered how to monitor her Instagram followers? On Twitter it’s very obvious as the platform has built that dynamic and awareness into their interface. But at the time, Instagram didn’t make it very apparent.

Years after Terri started her account,she was likely still following all the same people. So she began to wonder about the satisfaction of a one-way street, or “following without reciprocity?”

In cases where people are famous, or they are creators of extremely unique content it’s not reasonable to expect a follow back, especially if you yourself aren’t famous or extremely unique. A mundane account that posts pictures of lunch, cats (or dogs), or family gatherings probably won’t appeal to someone with a large presence. (Except maybe if you’re related to them!)

Are People Following You Back?

So last year Terri began to research what tools are available. There is an overwhelming volume of apps out there!

Since she shoots almost all of her photos with a Google Pixel 2XL and spends most of her time on the Android Platform, she began by looking for apps on the Google Play Store.

Her personal phone is an iPhone, and she still uses it because it’s usually faster for catching a “moment.” (She uses her iPhone for the store account.

In her research, she found a blog post that lists “unfollow” apps on both platforms. She hasn’t tried all of them, but she was surprised by what she found.

Often, people don’t pay close attention to people that start to follow them. If you are in the process of building your account, remember you need to give others time to follow you back. Two weeks seems like a reasonable amount of time.

It’s hard to get a decent screenshot of searching on the Apple App Store, so below are a few screenshots of the apps mentioned by esocmedia.com.

Personally, this seems like a lot of work! If that’s your take too, don’t worry about it. Follower/Unfollower tools are mostly useful if you care about having followers who see your content. Those who view your content are most likely to engage with it, and engagement is a big part of enjoying the platform!

Do you use Instagram for business or for personal Enjoyment? What are your thoughts about it?  Please share below in the comments section. Thank you for checking this out!

For more tips, check out How to Build Your Instagram Following.

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How to Build your Instagram Following

How to Grow Your Instagram Following

Suggested

After you create a new account, you might wonder how to build your Instagram following?

Instagram will provide you with a list of people you might want to consider following. In your settings, under “Follow People,” it could take you to “Discover People” and several tabs which could include “Suggested”  “Facebook Friends” or “Contacts.” Suggested people often are people who are new to Instagram. They might not have many followers yet, so maybe you’ll be among the first to discover their photos.

You can follow those you know

Maybe you’ll be more comfortable adding people you know, in which case you might choose to add from “Facebook Friends,” or “Contacts.”

If you choose to follow the accounts of friends, then find you aren’t interested because you already see their content on other platforms, you can quietly “unsee” their content by “muting” them. They won’t know.

Search “landscape”

You can search for hashtags

Hashtags are great for attracting people to the topics you are sharing, or for you to find. If you go to “search” and type in a word or two that reflects what you are interested in, you’ll be able to find accounts to follow. In many cases, a percentage of people will follow you back.  For example, if you are interested in landscape photography, search for #landscape. You’ll be presented with popular images associated with that hashtag. You can take a look and see if there are any interesting accounts to follow.

You can also look at the people who are liking or commenting on the content of those you follow. If you were to follow them, there is a possibility they’ll also be interested in your content.

quickly build An Instagram following

Another strategy I’ve noticed new accounts employing is to follow as many people as possible. The reason I don’t recommend this is, in discussing with various users on the platform, new accounts with apparent imbalances between “followers” and “following” are frequently perceived as spam accounts. For example, if you have 50 followers but you have followed 1,500 people, many will look askance and avoid you, or even report you as spam. Spam accounts are frequently blocked. If enough people regard you as a spammer, you could find yourself locked out of your account.

Don’t buy fake followers

The final, and worst strategy is to buy followers to make your account look more successful than it is. Lots of famous people, under the misconception that the more fans and followers they have make them seem cooler. But platforms like Twitter and Instagram, periodically go through and clear out fake followers. This means accounts that inflate their popularity through artificial follower numbers benefit in only a temporary way, and have to reinvest money to maintain the illusion.

There are also tools and apps that users can deploy to automatically follow people, and apps that will unfollow people if they don’t follow back.

Bottom line – start slowly and have fun!

A best practice is to let your account grow naturally through organic following and engagement.  And importantly, it needs to be fun. If you enjoy it, you’ll stick with it. And if you stick with it, you’ll succeed!

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For more tips, check out How to Monitor Your Instagram Account.

More About Terri:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
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How to Use Filters to Create Effects on Instagram

Use filters to improve your photos

It’s possible for an average person to look like a professional photographer through using Instagram’s built-in filters and additional applications. It can feel like a magical experience to see your photos come to life through adjustments and filters.

In addition to Instagram’s built-in filters, there are hundreds of apps and filters available to explore. I’ve downloaded dozens of them taking up two screens worth of icons on my iPhone, but at the end of the day, I use only a few. Some apps are available only on iPhones and others are only on Androids, but there are many that work for both.

Snapseed, VSCO, Lightroom, Prisma, Afterlight

Sample apps for Android and iOS:

Here are some of the effects you can achieve:

Snapseed
VSCO
Lightroom
Prisma
Afterlight

Instagram has caused me to view the world in a completely new way because all around us there are interesting things.  I’m a firm believer that almost every average-quality photo, even of the most mundane subjects, can be processed into something pretty nice on Instagram and make you look like a professional photographer even if you only use Instagram’s built-in filters.

From simple to complex edits

Because Instagram has the ability to correct lighting, you can take under- or over-exposed photos and often still make them work.

It’s possible to save a lot of dark photos with Instagram’s brightness adjustment, but it’s helpful if you have some highlight and shadow detail in the first place. If you shoot during the day with available light, you’ll probably be fine. At night you might find your images become grainy. I’m not crazy about the way photos look with a flash, so I usually try to shoot with available light, even at dusk. But the application is so forgiving, that even if you don’t start out with a reasonable shot, you can often adjust it to work.

There are specialty apps that will create “mirror” images, convert your photos into paintings, add bokeh effects, snowflakes and stars, and any effects that are impossible to even imagine. Take a look through the Play Store or App Store by searching “Instagram.” You’ll see what I mean.

Additional apps to bring different things to the party:

I really don’t think there is a right or wrong way to shoot photos for Instagram. Some of the weirdest pictures can become wonderful. Just enjoy the surprises you discover once you’re processing your photos, then share them for others to enjoy!

Do you have a favorite filter or favorite auxiliary application to use with Instagram? I would love to hear what they are!

Find more information on editing in Correcting Your Instagram Images.

More About Terri:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
More by Terri Nakamura

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Shoot In Focus With Your Smartphone

Anchor arms against the body for stabilization

Instagram is a fantastic outlet to express your creativity. But in addition, it has the potential to be used for marketing. Maybe you have an Etsy store or an online business? Instagram creates opportunities to show potential customers what you do, as well as simply giving you the chance to connect and communicate with interested people. But you’ll want to shoot in focus to make the most of Instagram!

Having spent decades of my life standing next to pro photographers as I directed photo shoots, it’s a fun to be the actual shooter. Through trial and error, I discovered ways to shoot better photos. My primary tips: Shoot pictures that are in focus and think about framing.

Available and low-light

Your photos will look best if they are in focus, and shot in available light. What is available light? This means: don’t use the flash. It’s 2019, and more smartphone cameras have improved their low-light capabilities and many compensate for low light. In fact, Google Pixel 3 has a very cool feature called Night Sight, and it’s really quite amazing.

Door jamb used to straighten camera

Low light can create challenges for focusing, so if you’re in a very low-light situation, a tripod will help as it stabilizes the camera. It’s easy to throw an image OUT of focus on Instagram, and you can “sharpen” a photo’s details, but you can’t really make a blurry photo sharp.

How to focus

On most camera phones, tap the area of the screen you want to be sharp. The camera focus circle or box will appear, and the lens will adjust. Simply anchoring your phone against a solid, plumb surface, like a table or wall or door jamb will go a long way to make sure your shots will be in focus AND perpendicular to your horizon line. If your shots are hand-held, the key is to be as still as you can. By anchoring your biceps against your body (like a support brace) and holding your breath when you shoot, it improves the chances of a sharp picture.

A sub-category of shooting sharp, (in-focus) photos, is shooting straight. For example, when you shoot a lake, and the horizon line is leaning a bit, it can look odd. The same goes for buildings. So if you find your shot is skewed, don’t worry. Instagram has an option to correct the rotation. OR you can purposely tilt your camera, which can result is an interesting photo.

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For more tips, check out How to Make Your Instagram Images Better.

More About Terri:

Her store on Alki Beach: Alki Surf Shop
Terri Nakamura Design
Terri Nakamura on Twitter
Alki Surf Shop on Twitter
The Horsfall House on AirBNB
More by Terri Nakamura

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