The Ins-and-Outs of Instagram


In this day and age, there are so many ways to connect with friends, family, community and even just the world around us. All of which we can do through news channels, Facebook, Twitter and newsletters from various news outlets, and also through one of the newest trends, Instagram. Although the majority of Instagrammers are aged between 15-29 years old, it is used daily by around 77.6 million users around the world.


So, what exactly is Instagram?

Instagram, also referred to as IG or Insta, is a social media platform primarily used for photo and video sharing created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in October 2010. Part of it is owned by Facebook. It is mostly used on touchscreen phones, seeing as its first version was meant solely for iOS devices and a second version was launched in April 2012, allowing Android users to have it as well. An online web version was released in November 2012, although some features that were available on the phone application did lack in this version. Apps for Windows 10 Mobile and Windows 10 were released in April 2016 and October 2016.

How to create an account

Although you can create your own account on both desktop and mobile versions, it is recommended to use the mobile version as there are more features available and a lot more that you will be able to do. Here below is a step by step instructions to creating your own account for mobile version and desktop version.

Mobile Version

  1. Head over to the App Store (for iPhone) or Google Play Store (for Androids) and download the Instagram app
  2. When it has finished downloading, tap the icon to open and start the application
  3. Tap the button saying Create new account (on iPhone) Sign up with email or phone number (Android)
  4. Enter either your phone number or email (a verification code will be sent to whichever contact line you choose) and tap the Next button
  5. You can also tap Log in with Facebook to sign up using your Facebook account
  6. If you used your phone number or email address, you will now be asked to create a username and set your account’s password, and then fill out the information that will be featured on your profile (such as profile picture and a short biography). After this, tap Done and you’re set!
  7. If you used Facebook to create your account, you will be asked to log into your Facebook account if you are currently logged out from the device you are using.

Desktop Version

  1. Open your preferred browser app and launch the Instagram website
  2. You will be asked to enter your email address or you can click Log in with Facebook
  3. If you choose email, create a username and set your password and click Sign up
  4. A confirmation email will be sent to you to make sure it is you who created the account
  5. If you choose Facebook, you will be asked to log into your account if you are not logged into it from the device you are using

On either version, if you used email to sign up, make sure it is an address that you have access to. If you are ever logged or locked out of your account and you’ve forgotten your password, your email will help you log back in.

Features

The app includes many features including posting, in app photo editing and video editing, private messaging between users, privacy vs public accounts, etc. It is all usually organized based on your preferred following, tags, location information and preferences. Additionally, depending on what type of account you have, certain other features are available to help you manage your page better.

  • Editing
    • When preparing to post your photos or videos, there is a part where you select what you are posting and another where you can edit.
    • For photos, you can apply basic edits such as exposure, contrast, highlights, shadow tint and you can also add various filters.
    • For photos, you can also add filters. Additionally, you are able to trim the video and cut certain parts, and then set a cover image for when it is featured on your account.
  • Posting
    • Your portrait photos can have a crop size up to 4:5, anything that goes over will be automatically cropped.
    • Landscape photos can go up to 9:16.
    • When posting videos, the crop ratios are the same as photos.
    • You can also post both as a square with the crop ratio (1:1).
    • Videos can be posted with the limit of 60 seconds in length.
  • Privacy & Security
    • When creating your account and managing the settings, you can apply a feature that will allow you to have a private account. This means that only people you choose can view your account.
    • Public accounts allow for anyone to see your account and what you post.
    • If you wish to keep your page public, but there is only a few people who you don’t want seeing your profile, you can block their accounts in your settings from seeing your account or by going to their account and blocking them.
  • Direct Messages (or Private Messages)
    • This feature is rather new and was released only in the past few years through a new update.
    • You can privately chat with any user (those who follow you, those who don’t, etc.) and send them posts.
    • If someone who doesn’t follow you and you don’t follow tries to send you a message, it will be stored in Chat requests, where you can choose if you wish to accept their message or decline it.
  • Business Accounts
    • This feature is also new and is used by public figures, companies and businesses.
    • In order to set your account your profile, you have to go to your settings and connect your Facebook page to your account.
    • After a week of setting up a business account, you will be able to monitor and check your insights. These include being able to see what kind of audience your followers are, promoting your posts to reach a wider audience, knowing the best times to post so you can receive the most engagement and many others.
  • Location Services
    • Many social media platforms allow you to search up locations and tag them in your posts, which then will get featured whenever that location is searched up and viewed.
    • When you post, Instagram allows you to tag the location so that you can show your followers where the picture was taken or where you are.
    • These posts tagged with a location are also featured on the locations page, which can allow for more exposure and attention if the other accounts see it.

Once you’ve set up your account and gotten used to the basic features, Instagram starts to monitor your activity in terms of the types of accounts you follow and the posts you like and share. Then, posts and accounts of a similar genre will be recommended to you and will show up on your explore page and timeline.


Although these are rather basic, Instagram is a rather simple social media platform and can be used by anyone. The features and its uses are common between all major platforms, and the more complicated so they can be figured out as time passes and more experience is gained.


Just like this info blog post, check out our post regarding Everything You Need to Know About Twitter.


Don’t forget to add and follow us on Instagram @AgentsDigital. Happy Instagramming!


videography

Videography – A Beginner’s Basics


I bought my first and only camera the summer before I started high school, in July 2016. Since then, I have taken every opportunity I am given to expand my knowledge on photography, learning different techniques and coming up with various ideas. Although a seriously expensive hobby, being able to capture moments and tiny parts of life into a single shot is what I find so incredible. Expressing my creativity through complex shots, preparing ideas for photoshoots or just taking simple photos of what I see around me is one of my favorite things ever.

In the past year, I wanted to start capturing longer moments and putting them together into mini movies. Videography takes a huge amount of patience, and seeing as how I didn’t have much, I didn’t start indulging in that interest until a few months ago. The process of shooting, sorting through and organizing footage, trimming video lengths, finding the right editing tools and then trying to attain a certain idea that you have in mind seemed like a useless waste of time. On top of all that, many people (including myself) find that they don’t have steady hands, which leads to shaky footage.

One of my best friends has a big interest in videography and through him, I started playing around with different editing softwares and techniques. Not having a steady hand is common amongst many successful videographers but there are tricks that you can do to work with it. Additionally, through different editing software, you can make things appear clearer or add effects to work with the trembling (if it isn’t that significant). For those of us on a strict budget, there are many DIY hacks and small things you can try on your own, and if you can, there is certain equipment meant to keep your camera and your hand steady while filming.

EQUIPMENT

Let’s start with the equipment first. If you have a strict budget, try to match it reasonably with some of the options listed below, as the prices range quite drastically:

  1. The Glidecam HD:
    • Starts at $529 USD
    • Glidecam Industries is one of the top hand-held camera stabilizing lines
    • Lightweight and easy to use
    • Good for cameras between two to six lbs
    • Smooth shots whether you’re running, going up stairs or even walking, all despite shaky hands
    • For more info and purchasing: Glidecam HD
  2. The SteadyTracker:
    • Two types; SteadyTracker Xtreme ($299 USD) and SteadyTracker Ultralite ($199 USD)
    • The Xtreme can hold cameras up to around 7 lbs and is steady for running and/or high action shots
    • The Ultralite weighs around 3 lbs and can handle cameras up to 5 lbs
    • For more info and purchasing: The SteadyTracker
  3. The Aviator Travel Jib:
    • Weighs less than 4 lbs, supports a camera up to 6.5 lbs
    • Fast and easy to set up and extends to around 6ft (24 inches)
    • For more info and purchasing: Aviator Camera Gear

DIY Stabilizer

For someone like me who has a strict budget, these options would be great if I could actually afford them. Luckily, there are a few other tricks and hacks we can use to stabilize our camera without spending an arm and a leg.

  1. Find something to rest your camera on. A table, chair or even a pile of books. This trick is more useful for one angle shots, seeing as you can put your camera down and start filming.
  2. Use your camera strap. There are two ways of using this technique. Either you could wrap the strap tightly around your wrist to provide extra support and stability. Another idea is to have the strap around your neck, and while holding your camera, extend your arms in front of you to the furthest the strap goes.
  3. Keep your camera close to you. The closer your camera is to you, the more control you have over it, meaning the easier it is to take a steady shot. Try tucking your elbows close to your side and hold the camera in front of your chest to stabilize the shot.

These ideas are usually what I personally tend to lean more towards, but investing a little money would never hurt anyone. Now that you have your perfect shot, its time to get to editing.

EDITING SOFTWARE AND PROGRAMS

There are many different computer and mobile software programs that you can use to effectively to edit your video. Just like camera equipment, some require purchasing while others are more easily accessible.

  1. iMovie:
    • Works only on Macbooks and Apple products
    • Easily add simple transitions, music and titles in very few steps
    • Quick and smooth
    • No purchase necessary
  2. Adobe Premiere Elements:
    • For Windows, Macbooks and Androids
    • Costs $99.99 USD
    • Easy to use and a variety of video editing features
    • By selecting a certain theme, you can simply make a collage including your photos and videos
  3. Corel VideoStudio:
    • Similar to iMovie
    • Can be used on Macbooks and Androids
    • No purchase necessary
    • Quick and efficient to get both simple and complex editing done\

Videography and photography is no simple hobby, nor is it a cheap one. As seen before, “cheap” is very broad term in this industry. There are many more little hacks that you can try out in order to avoid spending a lot of money. But despite all the roadblocks, capturing memories and moments is something that you can treasure forever, so why not work to improve how the memories come out?


For some amazing shots to watch my journey and love for photography and videography, visit my Instagram page or VSCO page.