The Power of Video

Posting videos is a powerful way to get exposure to your page.

As I scour through the content shown to me in the Discovery page on my Instagram account, I see various things:

  • A small section of live videos
  • Instagram Stories of people I don’t follow but might like
  • Videos I might be interested in
  • Photos and Videos based on photos/videos I’ve liked, people I follow, photos/videos I’ve saved, accounts I interact with, videos I’ve watched, etc.
  • Videos of celebrities, locations I’m in or have recently been to, trending topics and lots of other weird / cool things that Instagram wants to show me

When I analyze the top 30 posts (This does not include the huge squares of featured videos. But I probably should count those as 4 posts because that’s how large those squares are… see photo) approximately 35-45% of the posts are video.

I strongly, STRONGLY believe this number will go up as more content creators (you, me, your parents, your neighbors, your annoying colleagues) post more videos. What’s the reason for my opinion? It’s simple:  The major social/digital media networks (Facebook/Instagram, YouTube, SnapChat) are fighting for our time. They want all of it. They want to keep us in their platforms for as long as possible. Why do they want us to stay there? The longer we stay on their platforms, the more ads they can show us. The more ads they show us, the more money they make from their advertisers… more people, on the app longer, equals more money for them.

Some may argue that photos get you more engagement than videos. This can be true. However, do you see more photos go viral or videos that blow up the internet? My point exactly. Videos have the draw to be reposted by other accounts. Large accounts. Large accounts that by reposting and tagging you, draw people to your page and increase the amount of impressions, reach and followers your page gets. The engagement these photos get are only taking into consideration the likes the photos vs. videos get. You also need to look at comments, view count (video only) and the amount of times the post was saved. (Posts are saved by clicking the button on the right that looks like a ribbon. It’s only possible for the account that posted to content to see the number of times a post was saved by others).

Over the next two blogs, I will be sharing more things you need to be doing in order to get your content looking amazing and getting people over to your page. It’s easier than you think, but still incredibly difficult to gain followers. Each day that goes by, more and more content (about 100 million posts a day) go up on Instagram alone. The longer you wait to start posting, the harder it will be to grow.

Avoiding Fights With Your Significant Other

It can be super overwhelming trying to learn how to take better pictures. Many times, when
taking photos of my wife for her Instagram, she would tell me she didn’t like the way my photos
turned out. I didn’t mind her saying that because I understood that I was a beginner and
needed to practice. What was frustrating was when I’d ask her, “What can I do to make this
picture better?” she wouldn’t know what to tell me. She only knew that it wasn’t what she
wanted. She was annoyed, I was disappointed. If you’re like me, this is the type of thing that
will bother you for a long, long time. I was determined to figure out how to take pictures she’d
like.

The first thing I started working on was the angles. Meaning, was I looking down too far or was I
too low and looking up? I discovered that generally speaking, when taking a photo of a person,
you want the camera lens to be eye level with them. This gives the picture the most natural and
organic look. They don’t look tiny nor do they look huge – they look as close to normal as
possible. Sometimes it looks cool shooting at different angles, but not usually.
Once I figured out how to get the angles right, I realized there were more things I needed to fix.
This went on for months and years until finally, I can safely say, my wife approves of the photos
I take of her, 95% of the time.

The next thing I fixed was making sure the background looked good. This requires the
photographer to know their surroundings and what is behind the subject. The subject doesn’t
know if it looks like a street sign is coming out of their head. They don’t know if there is a
pedestrian walking across the street behind them, photobombing the shot. You have to tell
them that and make the adjustment for the photo. Look for patterns like architecture or in
nature. Look for things that can frame your subject such as trees, buildings or clouds and the
ground. Try not to have lines going through their head or body so it looks like they’re being split
in half. Use negative space to your advantage. Negative space is the blank space or space that
doesn’t have patterns in it. Negative space is a helpful way to get people looking at an image to
focus on something specific.

After I got the background aspect down, I next focused on editing. This, honestly, is the hardest
part of photography. I think 9/10 people can take similar pictures if told what to do. But the
editing is something that is much more intricate because there are so many things you can edit.
Editing takes a lot of practice. Trying out different filters, making sure you shoot the photo dark
enough so you can brighten it up, etc. I recommend using Lightroom or VSCO for the phone. I
prefer using Lightroom on my computer over everything else. It’s around $10 a month and well
worth it. The thing you need to focus on the most when it comes to editing is adjusting the
following things:

  • Exposure
  • Contrast
  • Temperature
  • Saturation

There are many other settings to play with, most of which are important. These are the most
critical when editing a photo, however. Get familiar with these. Change them a lot, then a little.
Walk away from a photo after you’ve edited it then come back to it after you’ve looked at other
things. Be consistent with your editing. Consistency is one of the key things your social media
channels need in order to grow. Editing your photos consistently will help you grow.

Now that you’ve got these basics down, get out there and go practice shooting and editing! You
need to practice in order to improve, as you know, so let’s get to it!

Oh and here are two tripods I own that you should buy too. Essential for live video streaming,
self timed photos, and more.

50” phone tripod under $20
75” durable tripod for DSLR or mirrorless camera under $80

Shooting Quality Photo & Video on Your Phone

When it comes to editing photos and videos, you don’t always need an expensive DSLR camera, Final Cut Pro and Adobe Lightroom. Granted those things are great and I use all three of them for different things, but I also use free or less expensive options to create content and you can too.

Below you will find links to four videos I shot and edited on my iPhone! It takes anywhere from 5-30 minutes to shoot and edit these, depending on how many takes, cuts and the complexity of the video you’re making. Take a look at the videos! You might even laugh a little. Hilton Hospitality | When Your Friend Needs a Little Extra Motivation | Date Night Decision MakingThe Sad Reality of Closet Space

Using iMovie is a free software that comes on apple devices which you can use to edits videos. iMovie has tons of great features and is very user friendly! For the first few years I made videos, iMovie was the only thing I used. When I wanted to start editing color and exposure of the clips, that’s when I switched to Final Cut Pro. iMovie is good for basic videos.

Here is a screenshot from inside iMovie. As you can see, it doesn’t have a whole lot going on! You simply touch the plus (+) symbol to add a video or music and then it’s all there ready for you to edit!

Once you’ve trimmed the clips and added your music, you export the video to your camera roll and you’re ready to go. That’s it!

My #1 favorite photo editing app for the phone is VSCO (pronounced “visco”).  Its filters keep the color and tones very crisp and while you do have to buy some of the filter packs, they are inexpensive. Below is a screenshot of several photos I have posted to Instagram, edited in VSCO.

Here is a photo I took on my phone AND edited in VSCO! Notice the background is blurred and I am sharp? This was shot about an hour before sunset in Portrait Mode on my iPhone 7 plus. The portrait mode feature does a wonderful job as you can see and is a fantastic alternative to a DSLR with a lens that has a low aperture (the feature that blurs out the background in a photo).

There you have it folks. Simple, easy things you can do to make great content without having to buy a fancy camera and lens. If I can do this, YOU can do this!