10 Makers to Follow on Instagram

10 Makers to Follow on InstagramI absolutely love Instagram. It’s by far my favorite social media tool, both to use as a brand and a consumer. So today I’m rounding up the makers/shop owners who make my feed that much more enjoyable! If you’re looking for those revealing behind the scene shots, awesome handmade products, and the occasional cat/dog snap, you should follow these ten accounts asap:

10 Makers to Follow on Instagram1. Quill and Fox

10 Makers to Follow on Instagram2. Betsy & Iya Continue reading…

3 Awesome Photo Editing Apps

3 Awesome Photo Editing AppsLast month I spilled the beans on how to grow your brand on Instagram, so now I think it’s only fair that I share my top three photo editing apps! Unless it’s a photo from one of my projects, I take all of my Instagram photos with my iPhone camera. It’s taken me a while to develop my style (I don’t really care for the preset Instagram filters), but now that I have it, it only takes me about 1-2 minutes max to edit a photo. If you don’t have these already, here are the apps I recommend you download immediately!

3 Awesome Photo Editing AppsVSCO is by far my all time favorite photo editing app. It did take some getting used to at first, but now  using it is easy. There are tons of great presets, and you can buy more packs (starting at about 99 cents). Additionally, and probably why I love it so much, you can adjust the exposure, contrast, saturation and more. It really gives you the most control of all the editing apps I’ve used. Available for Android and iPhone.

3 Awesome Photo Editing AppsI use Afterlight to add special elements to my photos. While they do have preset filters, they also have have fun features like light leaks and polaroid frames. I’ll also use this app to crop my photos if I want a custom size (not square or 4×5). Available for Android and iPhone.

3 Awesome Photo Editing AppsAnd for those moments when my photo doesn’t fit into the standard square frame (see here), I use Whitagram. You can choose from a variety of colors to set as the background, but I find that white is the least distracting and blends into the feed nicely. Available for Android and iPhone.

I hope this were helpful! Most of these do take some time getting used to, but oh the difference you will see in your photos. If you have any additional apps you think I should check out, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

How to Print Fabric with Inkodye

Time: 1.5 hours
Materials: natural fabric (cotton, silk, linen, etc), Inkodye, Inkowash, photo negative

Learn how to print your own fabric with sunlight + inkodye!I’ve always wanted to learn how to print my own fabric, but never had the time or space to invest in it (aside from using rubber and potato stamps that is). Thankfully though, Lumi Inkodye exist! With a few steps and even fewer materials, I was able to transform one of my photographs into custom wall art.

Learn how to print your own fabric with sunlight + inkodye!Start by working indoors in a shady space so that the ink doesn’t develop before you have a chance to lay your negative over it.

Learn how to print your own fabric with sunlight + inkodye!Shake your inkodye packet then snap open to spread on your fabric. Each packet should cover a 12×12″ area, so use more than one if you want the surrounding area to be dyed too (I used two for this project).

Once you’re done applying the dye, position your photo negative and pin in place. If you don’t know where to get an enlarged copy of a photo negative, you can order one through the Lumi App! I used one of the photos I took for my Instagram Sunday Flower Series (see the original photograph here).

Take your fabric outside and lay in the sun for about 15-20 minutes. The dye will darken significantly from the initial application. When done developing, take inside, remove negative and toss in the wash. You’ll want to use Inkowash and run through a hot/cold cycle twice in order to remove any unexposed Inkodye molecules from your fabric. Once done and dried, your design will be permanent!

Learn how to print your own fabric with sunlight + inkodye!To display, I decided to turn mine into a banner! Here’s how:

Cut fabric into desired shape, leaving extra room at the top. Fold fabric over dowel rod and seal in place with  fusible bonding web. It’s easiest to fold the fabric over the rod (position it in the way it would hang) then remove the rod to iron. Knot a strip of twine or leather cord on either side of your print, then hang on a nail.

Learn how to print your own fabric with sunlight + inkodye!

Learn how to print your own fabric with sunlight + inkodye!

How to Grow your Brand on Instagram

How to Grow your Brand on InstagramAfter receiving one of the kindest shout outs ever in Lisa and Sarah‘s Alt Summit presentation, I thought it’d be fun to share some of my own personal tips with you about how to grow your brand on Instagram!

Since rebranding my blog back in March, I’ve seen a 167% increase in Instagram followers (holy crap, right?!). It’s by far one of my favorite social media platforms because it gives me the freedom to be creative all while allowing me to be personable and connect with others. If you aren’t on it already, or perhaps you’re not that active, I urge you to give it a try! Here are five easy things you can do to grow your brand:

1. Hashtags. I’m not saying you should tag your image with 100 different adjectives, but rather find the hashtag that members of your community use and get involved. If you go to an event, check the specified hashtag and interact with others. Are you a blogger? See what tags other bloggers are using on a regular basis. Don’t just tag your photos with it and be done; take the time to check out what others are posting and engage (comment/like/follow, etc).  Which leads me to my next tip..

2. Be Active. As with all communities, the more you put in, the more you will get back. If you don’t like or engage with others, there’s really no incentive for them to interact with your photos. This also means be active in your posting. I may not hit it all the time, but I at least have a goal to post an image once a day. Since moving to this approach, I’ve noticed an increase in engagement all around.

3. Find the Right Time. Think about your ideal reader/customer and when they are most likely to be on their phones. If you take a really great picture at 2am, that doesn’t mean you have to post it then. Of course this is personal preference (perhaps you like to live in the moment), but I tend to stagger out my images to ensure as many people see them as possible.

4. Use the Explore Section. Now, you might be saying to yourself, whaaat? This feature used to really stink in my opinion, but Instagram has made a few changes recently that I really like. It’s now so much easier to find images you’ll like because the photos are based on likes from other people you already follow. Interacting with new people, especially those you wouldn’t have otherwise known about, is always a great way to grow.

5. Take the Time to Edit & Write a Caption. Of course you’re going to capture that beautiful sunset and hashtag it #nofilter every now and then, but for the most part, your iPhone images will need a little editing. VSCO CAM is hands down my favorite photo editing app as it allows me to adjust basic things like exposure and contrast without it appearing too filtered/edited. I tend to edit my photos the same way each time, which really help build a constancy in how my images appear (great for brand recognition). Captions are a great way to connect with your followers. If you take a picture of paint, don’t just title it “Paint”. Maybe talk about the project you’re working on, or prompt a question about their favorite color or type of paint. Get creative and get people talking!

So that’s it! If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment below. It took me almost a year before I took a photo I was really proud of, so if you’re new to it, don’t worry, you will improve! And if you don’t believe me, just head on over to my profile and scroll down a bit :)