Creating Engaging Instagram Posts
When thinking about a topic for eight posts on Instagram I considered continuing my podcast idea on foreign celebrations or to do posts based on travel or quotes. In the end I decided upon quotes. I, as well as many others, love to share and read quotes that we find meaningful or fun from people, books, and or shows. It’s a topic I knew I could easily create eight posts around and enjoy the creating process.
After deciding upon my topic for quotes, it was time to now decided what my eight posts would be. I put together an outline where I listed eight different types of media experiences that I could do focusing around quotes which were: an Adobe Illustrator quote image, GIF quote, meme incorporating a quote, slow motion video of a flip book for a quote, photograph of a hand drawn/cut out quote, time-lapse video of me working on writing a quote, panorama slideshow for a quote, and finally a video of my talking a quote.
After putting together an outline I focused on finding and putting together a list of about ten to twelve possible quotes that I liked/found meaningful I could use. After putting a list together I then thought about which quote would work best for each media type and started to arrange them based on where I thought they would fit best based on the quote length and meaning. The shorter quotes I knew would work best for creating content like GIFs or memes. While longer quotes would work best for content like panorama slideshows or videos. In the end, after sorting and eliminating quotes I came to have a more solid outline.
Next, I thought about a caption that could go along with each quote. I decided I would always either post the whole quote again from the media or, depending on length, the most important part. Sometime, depending on connection, the media doesn’t load so I thought it would be good to post the quote in the caption along with where the quote came from. After which I would then write a short caption about the quote, such as what I liked or got from it, to make the post more meaningful. This way when it came to actually creating the post and uploading it to Instagram wouldn’t have to think about it then. I would already have the media and the caption ready to go. So, in my final outline with my chosen media experiences and quotes I wrote down my captions for reference:
Creating a Panorama Quote
When I worked on creating a quote panorama slideshow. I first waited for a day that was a little more on the overcast side. In the past, I’ve found it easier to get better quality images on days that aren’t as sunny and bright. I then focused and taking multiple panoramas from different types of angles. I knew I would be placing text over the image and that it would be best to try different angles. This way I could have different angles to work with for text placement but also to have enough image real-estate to crop down the panoramas and meet Instagram’s perimeters.
I tried taking shots of the tracks by taking higher shots facing down on the train tracks, shots that were straightforward onlooking the train tracks, and then ground shots that focused more in on the train tracks or almost appearing to look up at them. Many of the shots were difficult to shoot since the tracks were more on a rocky slanted slope and my lack thereof for balance. I would lose my balance frequently and almost fall over while squatting down in the middle of trying to get a lower shot and would have to start over.
After taking different panorama shots, I found and downloaded an app on my phone called: Unsquared. I knew trying to crop the panoramas myself could be doable, but challenging. So I opted to use the Unsquared app which would help do the cropping for me. This app allowed me to upload my panoramas and try cropping each of them to have a seamless background and meet the perimeters for instagram. I was able to try cutting about 5 different panoramas down into between 2 to 5 pieces (or seamless square images). The outputs really varied due to the available image size (for length and height) when cropping the panoramas down. In the end, I ended up with two possible slideshow panoramas (a 4 and 5 piece) to use after multiple attempts of cropping that turned out the best due to image quality and sizing.
Once I finished with cropping I imported both panoramas into Adobe Photoshop where I did some touch ups. I found spots in the images where taking them had gotten a big jagged or off balanced. I used the clone tool to help touch up those areas. After touching up the panoramas I imported them into Adobe Illustrator where I worked on placing the chosen quote over each. In order for viewers to more easily read and see the text I placed a white square behind the text which I had fade out using the gradient tool to help the square look less prominent and be more natural flowing over the image. I also applied an effect called ‘Sponge’ to the panorama images as well to give them more texture and fit the emotion of the quote and the font I chose to use.
Creating a Slow Motion Quote Video
Creating a flip book was exciting and fun to do. I decided to create a flip book that was as simplistic as possible and only do a few frames (or pages) to help keep the video short, simple, and to the point which was the quote itself. I started out by making a rough draft to reference later by making seven boxes (one for writing a small part of the quote and the other five for drawings). Since the quote was about not crying over spilled milk (regrets), I decided I sketched a simple animation of a cup falling over and spilling milk.
After coming up with a rough sketch I worked on a final version where I was more precise by using a rule to make equal sized boxes for the cards to using a ruler to measure angles and placement of the cup so the cup would be more accurate in position for each flip book page and the angle of falling. After I finished sketching everything I added color to bring it more to life and then cut everything out. I made sure to leave extra space on the left of the flip book cards I could have a better grip on the cards and not have my fingers cover anything. I also made each of the pages a slightly different length to make it easier to flip through each page not not have to worry about pages sticking together when flipping though the book.
The slow motion video was one of the most challenging to try and record. I used my iPhone to record me holding the flip book and going through each page. I made roughly 12 to 15 different recordings on my phone. I had to have my phone and the flip book positioned and angled in a way that when recording the text and images would not be blurry and when the video was imported into Instagram it wouldn’t be awkwardly cropped or positioned. My greatest struggle however was having my phone positioned so I wouldn’t bump into it, my hands and the flip book would stay in the frame, and having a consistent flow as I flipped through each page.
I was glad I had decided early on to make the flip book more of rectangular size because of the Instagram’s perimeters. I wanted to have enough space above and below the flip book that if cropped the flip book itself would remain untouched and remain centered when uploaded. Having done this helped a great deal during each of the recordings to at least keep the flip book in the frame, especially for the slow motion video I ended up using for my Instagram post. Before uploading, I also took out the part of the slow motion video at the beginning and end where I’m setting up and turning off the camera so the video only shows the flip book and going through the pages and then starts over.
Creating a Time-lapse Quote Video
The time-lapse video was a similar process as the slow motion video. However, the camera positioning was a greater challenge to get an angle that showed the page I was writing on and my process. I didn’t have a professional stand I could put my phone on, so I had to create my own makeshift stand out of a short skinny box and use some smaller heavy objects to hold and angle my phone. I did several practice videos just practicing the writing style for the quote I had chosen to focus on. It took at least three different short practice videos before I was able to get a good position and angle for my phone that didn’t cause my phone to collapse sometime while recording.
However, with my final video upload, you can only see part of the page. As mentioned, that’s because it was the best angle I could get after multiple practice recordings. It was the lowest angle I could get to show my page, my process, and not have my phone fall over during the recording. Recordings on your iPhone aren’t a square, however, after I finished different practice recording I would go into settings to adjust the video sizing. I used the crop SQUARE tool to fit to Instagrams perimeters. Doing this let me know if the position and angle I had would work to show my page and process.
After finding the best location and angle for my phone, I did the recording for the video I would actually post. Since I had the position and angle figured out that I could use I was able to easily go into settings and crop the video down into a square to fit in my page and process and focus on cropping out the unneeded background. After which, I took out the beginning and ending of the video where I’m setting up and turning off the camera so the video solely focuses on the writing process.
After editing this video, I downloaded it onto my laptop where in Adobe Premiere I was able to add a song I was able to use for free with credit. I have watched many tutorials like this, mainly dealing with calligraphy or drawing, where they do a time-lapse and have it paired with music to be more engaging than just a longer video with no audio. The song I added to my time-lapse I felt helped to add more engagement and make it more enjoyable to watch than if I had uploaded it with no audio.
In conclusion, people are now able to more easily share their ideas through digital publishing. However, I’ve learned though the process of creating eight different Instagram media post types the challenge in creating worthwhile and engaging content. It took me more time and effort to create meaningful and worthwhile content for Instagram. Especially when working with videos, It was more challenging to get the right setup, angles, and have shots in focus. It was not a one and done kinda of setting. Every post took at least three to five different shots or recordings before getting something worth posting.
Creating engaging Instagram posts is more than just posting a nice photo or video along with a very plain or straightforward caption. Anyone can do that and it takes very little thought or effort to do. Although it may get likes and a few comments, it’s not truly engaging content. In essence, creating engaging posts takes more thought, time, and effort to create good quality posts. Creating engaging content is about being more thoughtful in capturing media by trying to incorporate different media experiences (photography, videos, panoramas, etc.) and trying to get the best shot with the best angle you can. On top of that, it’s about telling meaningful stories that go along with your media experiences. The captions you write should expand upon the media experience and help with engaging viewers even more.
Check out my Instagram posts here: @maggiesfavoritequotes