One of the biggest frustrations I hear when it comes to photographing flowers, is that flowers are expensive to buy. So if you don´t have the luxury of owning your own beautiful garden full of flowers, then you can simply pick up some cut flowers in the supermarket.
Many grocery shops have good offers and I often like to grab these flower bundles for when I want to do floral photography. The supermarket flowers may look pretty uninspiring, but with a little planning and creative fun, you can actually get several beautiful floral photos from just a cheap bunch of supermarket flowers.
When you pick your flowers, go for a limited color palette to avoid color overload. I like to go for just one or two colors or make sure the colors are within the same color tones.
Ideally, you should plan ahead and buy the flowers 2-3 days before you want to photograph them. The more open the flowers are the more beautiful they look in the final photos.
For the first series of photos, I like to always start with a styled bouquet. I pick a vase that I would like to use and then cut the flowers into the perfect seize measuring the flowers against the vase. Arrange the flowers so that you have a good distribution of the different flowers and colours and try to avoid gaps between flowers.
If you want the flowers to open up more quickly because you are eager to get started, then make sure to put the flowers in warm water for a few hours. Some flowers can be opened gently with your fingers. To do this gently ruffle the petals to open them. This is useful if some of the flowers are not yet opened and you want to photograph them that day.
The flowers should be as close to each other as possible – something that can be a bit of a challenge if you just make a loose bouquet like I normally do. If you tie the flowers together you can better control their placement in the bouquet.
One of my favourite things to do for making cheap supermarket flowers look more extravagant and interesting is adding a bit of wild to the bouquet. It is the easiest way to completely transform it from boring supermarket flowers to something special.
Twigs, green leaves and branches are an effortless and cheap way to add height, volume and drama to a bouquet and create an unfinished, wild look.
When I´m finished styling the bouquet, I photograph it from many different angles and in various settings. I will experiment with placing the flowers in a bright and airy setting and also in a dark and moody scene. It´s all about creating variety and testing several options until you find what you like.
I will also put some effort into styling different scenes. But I try not to overdo it, because I want the flowers to be my main subject. I don´t want any other objects in my frame that will compete for attention.
The props I choose, should compliment the flowers, the settings and the mood I´m going for – the props should never take focus away from the flowers.
I also like to vary how much or how little of the scene I allow into my frame. In some photos I move in close, perhaps with a macro lens. And in other photos I move backwards to get more in my frame – by doing so I can create more negative space in the image. Negative space is good for calming the eyes and draw attention to your subject.
When I´m done with photographing my bouquet I like to move on to doing Flatlays styling. To get variety in my photos I will aim to capture some pictures of the flowers alone, as the only object. As well as some pictures of the flowers together with other objects.
After I´m finished with the Flatlays, I will begin to be more playful with the flowers and I might cut the flower heads off in order to photograph them in new ways. Like in the photo below, where I placed the flower heads on black paper and then photographed them close up. This really creates such an artistic look – it´s an intense story of the structure, texture and curves of the flowers.
Below, to the left, you can see the RAW file of the flower photo. I wanted to create a moody desaturated atmosphere and you can see how it turned out after I edited it. This is of course a technique I teach in my upcoming photography course in March.
If I have had more time I might have done a flower crown or a wreath for the wall with the flower leftovers, or placed the flower heads in a milk bath, or perhaps left them to dry. Dried flowers makes beautiful props for still life photography.
That´s it. I hope you are excited to grab some cheap flowers next time you go to the supermarket. Challenge yourself to see how many different types of photos you can create with those same flowers. You might not be happy with all of the images, but remember not to go for perfection – go for learning. And if you´re lucky you might even get ONE great photo fit for your portfolio!
If the Instagram algorithm freaks you out, I get it. Many creatives are worried about the algorithm, not really sure how it works or why they see a drop in engagement.
So first, let me start by telling you; that if your engagement has dropped, it might not be because you´re doing something wrong, or because people are not that into you, it simply means that Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform, and that competition reduces your reach. That´s a fact we cannot change, so we just got to make the best of it.
When it comes to the Instagram algorithm, everyone seems to have a theory about how it works. I often see Instagrammers posting negatively about the algorithm, making warnings and pleas for engagement. It stresses and confuses their followers, ending up creating falls belief about what Instagram is doing.
So if you´re tired of not knowing where the gossip ends and the truth begins, this post is for you. I decided to do some research of my own and today, I`m diving into some of the most popular myths about the Instagram Algorithm and share what I discovered. Hopefully, it will give you the clarity you need to continue posting on Instagram with a happy + calm mind.
Are you ready? Let’s demystify the 7 biggest myths about the Instagram algorithm!
Myth #1: The Algorithm Is Hiding Your Posts, Showing It To Only A Small Number Of Followers
This myth is one of the biggest concerns I hear from my community, and the good news is; this is simply NOT true! There´s been plenty of gossip about the Instagram algorithm and how it only shows a few percentages of your content to your followers. Some even claim that the algorithm limits posts to showing only 7% or less.
So here´s the truth; Instagram never hide posts from people – if you keep scrolling, you will see them all. I think the real issue is that people don´t keep scrolling for very long, because let´s be real; people are busy. So that means that followers end up interacting with maybe the first 10-30 posts they see. And if they are following hundreds of accounts, it will be difficult to see and interact with ALL posts of everyone they follow.
I was recently teaching a workshop, and one of my dear students took out her phone and showed me her Instagram account. She then pointed out a specific photo in her grid and asked: “Why didn´t you like this photo Christina?” She was wondering why I didn´t like that photo because I normally like her photos. She thought I had seen it and scrolled passed it.
But the thing is when you follow 500+ accounts as I do, there´s no way to see ALL photos every day. My time is limited. I don´t want to live my life on Instagram, and therefore I only have time to interact with a few people every day, and those will always be the first images I see in my feed when I open up Instagram.
And that brings me to the real secret; engagement is key! What shows up first in your feed is determined by what posts and accounts you engage with the most. The only followers missing out on your posts, are the ones that don´t interact with you or that you don´t interact with.
The best thing you can do, to grow engagement is to stick around Instagram after you´ve posted. Personally, I never post to Instagram unless I know I have time to stick around for about an hour after. For me, it´s important not just to dump a photo, but to be present and give back. So right after I´ve posted I will stay on Instagram, liking pictures, commenting and most importantly reply to the comments on my photos.
This will also boost engagement right after you post, which shows Instagram that your post is worthy of reaching more people. Valuable engagement; longer, meaningful comments and conversations back and forth, also signals to Instagram that your content is worth spreading + it builds connections and real relationships. And when you build relationships and interact with the same people often, you will be sure to see what they post first.
Myth #2: Switching To An Instagram Business Account Will Have A Negative Impact On Your Reach
Once again, the answer is NO! Isn´t that just wonderful? I´ve had a business account for a few years and I´ve seen no negative impact on performance – only positive growth. Simply put; Instagram doesn’t give extra feed presence to personal accounts or business accounts, so switching won’t help your reach.
I´m proud of being a business owner. I love my business. To me, it would feel wrong not to be authentic and real about that. And there are so many amazing benefits of an Instagram business profile, like having access to valuable analytics, show your contact info (email and phone), and being able to advertise.
The algorithm will NOT punish you for turning your account into a business profile. So Instead of spending time worrying about that, spend your time creating helpful, inspiring and heartfelt content.
Myth #3: If You Put Hashtags In Comments, Instead Of Caption, You Will Be Shadowbanned
First things first; shadowbanning is not a real thing. Instagram says it doesn’t hide people’s content for posting too many hashtags or taking other actions. There are so many confusions about the do´s and don´ts of hashtags. But this myth is easy to clarify; You can put your hashtags wherever you want.
You can put hashtags in the comment area or in the caption area. There really is no difference in their functionality, so it’s your choice. I personally prefer adding hashtags in captions, leaving a bit of white space between my writings and the hashtags.
Myth #4: The Algorithm Will Punish You If You Post Many Hashtags
Okay, let me clear this one up once and for all. It´s NOT about the number of hashtags, it´s about the quality of hashtags that determines your engagement potential.
I’ve seen so many discussions about this. Some will say that you should use less than 5 hashtags, or that 7 hashtags are the sweet spot for most engagement. It´s just crazy! Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags, so the algorithm is not going to punish you for using all 30 hashtags, okay.
I recommend you use at least 11 hashtags or more for best engagement. But you got to pick the best hashtags for your content if you want to grow. Use hashtags relevant to your followers and perfect audience. To do this you need to spend a bit of time doing some research.
Avoid the popular hashtags, because your post will be quickly buried in the hashtag feed, and instead find the best hashtags for your audience. Use hashtags that are relevant to your niche and helps you connect with people who are looking for exactly what you’re posting.
Also be careful not to use outdated hashtags, that no one is looking at anymore. The best way to stay updated about hashtags is to watch what others in your niche are using. Notice what like-minded friends and influencers are posting on their photos. Check out the related tags Instagram suggests when you tap a tag that’s relevant to your content. This will give you plenty of ideas for new hashtags. A good idea is to write them down so you don´t forget them, and then update your list once in a while.
Myth #5: You Must Be Active On Instagram Stories To Get Seen
Someone recently told me that the new big thing in order to grow on Instagram is to like a lot of Instagram stories. So instead of just swiping through Instagram stories when you see them, you give out a heart emoji on each and every story. I do NOT believe this to be effective at all. Nor does it help that you are incredibly active on Instagram stories posting 20+ snaps of random stuff and daily life.
Stories are a fantastic way to engage with your audience on Instagram, but how little or how much you are on Instagram stories seems to have little effect on the algorithm. So don´t stress about it. Instagram doesn’t favour users who use Stories, Live, or other special features of the app.
Again it´s the quality of what you post that matters. My best advice to you is to put some thought into what you post. See Stories, as a separate platform from your normal Instagram feed and create a posting strategy that is unique to your stories.
And btw, just giving a like on a story doesn’t do much for engagement. It´s like saying “Hi” to someone on the street. It sure is a friendly gesture, but it´s not what is leading to friendship or networking. If you really want to connect with someone, write them a kind message either in the comments or in a direct message. People will be much more likely to remember you for how you made them feel, and then visit your account, to leave a comment or follow back.
Myth #6: Don´t Edit Your Caption After Posting, It Will Slow Down Engagement
You should always do your best to proofread before you post something on Instagram. That being said, you will not be punished for going in after posting to add a comma or changing a word you´ve misspelt. I do it all the time, and I´ve never experienced it to stop the flow of engagement.
If you worry about this, feel free to wait a few hours until the engagement on that post has slowed down before you go in and edit the caption. But in reality, it should not make any difference.
Myth #7: Instagram Doesn´t Recognize Emojis Only Words
Another rumour is about the length of Instagram comments, and how they affect your engagement with a follower. According to the rumour, Instagram doesn´t recognize emojis only words. And a similar rumour is that the comments need to be longer than 3 words to “count” towards improving your engagement. Again this is not true!
There is no proof that words are weighted heavier than emojis when it comes to writing comments. You can engage just fine with just a few emojis or a quick comment without it hurting your visibility on Instagram.
That being said, you should limit your emoji comments to the days you´re really busy because heartfelt comments on posts are extremely valuable. The more effort you put into commenting, supporting, helping and showing interest, the better engagement with your community. And it´s in building a community that you will truly be able to grow your Instagram following.
So, instead of stressing about the algorithm, spend your time doing the things that have been proven to grow your Instagram following: creating high-quality content, posting regularly to Instagram, share inspiring Stories, and building a real community on Instagram. And to build a community you have to be active yourself – there´s just no way around it.
The less active you are the fewer people will see your posts. The more active you are and the better your content is, the more people will see what you are posting.
Also, if you want to see more content from a specific account you follow, make sure you’re regularly engaging with them or simply turn on notifications for that account. When you´re liking content on someone’s account consistently, you will see more of their content in your feed because the algorithm starts to see some form of a relationship between you and that account.
My last tip to you is to remember WHY you started on Instagram in the first place. Instead of focusing on the numbers, the likes and the comments, focus on having FUN, being creative, sharing what you´re excited about and be determined to entertain, inspire, help, educate or add beauty to the world.
As long as you touch just ONE person out there in the world, you did a good job. Why? Because that person has friends and research shows that people like to talk about what they see on Instagram and they like to show accounts to their friends. The growth might be slow, but it doesn´t matter much if you make an impact on those that actually follow you already – no matter how small that number is.
Do you sometimes feel stuck, frustrated or like things aren’t moving forward the way you want them to? If so, you’re not alone. Feeling like this is super normal. The question is how do you deal with it. Because, how you deal with feeling stuck, insecure or overwhelmed will determine your ability to feel confident and connected with yourself.
You can take yourself down with your negative thinking faster than any enemy can. Your inner critic can kill your energy and drive like nothing else. And when that happens, it becomes impossible to think clearly and it´s going to be hard to find rational solutions to your problems. Plus the courage and determination you need to move forward stay away. Your negative thinking patterns seduce you into doubting your own potential and tricks you into playing it safe. Rather than supporting you, your inner critic tells you that nobody cares, that you are not good enough and that it´s best if you keep your head down. I´m here to remind you that you are NOT your negative thoughts, they are just a tiny part of who you are. And you must not let this tiny part of you control ALL of you. You deserve better! You deserve to treat yourself with love and respect! So decide to take back your power and set a new tone for how YOU talk to YOU. Don´t allow any inner bullying. It stops TODAY. Listen to the MiniBoost Episode and set your thinking straight immediately.