Friday 5: 5 Things You Should Know About Instagram

If you’re anything like me, this past Thursday was pretty spectacular. Not only did we get a few seconds of new footage from Star Wars Episode 7, but Instagram updated their app to enable landscape and portrait sized pictures and videos!

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WHAAAAAAT?

That’s right, and it’s long over due. Ever since the beginning of Instagram’s 1×1 reign of terror, photographers and videographers have lamented at their inability to post traditionally sized photos. Well, it took some time, but it’s here at last. Here’s a quote from the Instagram blog:

“…you can now share photos and videos in both portrait and landscape orientation on Instagram. Square format has been and always will be part of who we are. That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to.”

I love what they said there… “The visual story… should always come first.” While the square format has its advantages, more often than not, it is an unnecessary rule that gets in the way of storytelling. So, for todays post, let’s talk about five things to know about Instagram.

1. Shoot Wide & Tall

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Ok, so the first one is fairly obvious. Go out there and take advantage of your cameras native aspect ratio. Shoot landscapes, shoot portraits, throw the pics on your phone, and hit that button in the bottom left corner (pictured above)! Doing that will enable you to post in either a wide or tall aspect ratio. The app is smart enough to know which way it should orientate itself.

2. Never Forget The Squares

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While this Thursdays update was spectacular, let us not forget how unique the Instagram platform is/was prior to the update. Although we’ve moaned and groaned about it, the mandatory square pics have had its advantages. First, it’s made photographers and casual shooters alike more intentional about how they frame their subjects in camera. Because of Instagram, so many people now take the time to think about composition. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment. Secondly, the square factor has been a fun way to differentiate itself from other platforms. There’s something special about a 1×1 aspect ratio that you won’t get with the others. I know I’ll probably post less and less square photos as time goes on, but there will always be a special place in my heart (feed?) for those perfectly framed shots of coffee mugs from above.

3. ExploreDSC05649

Another great feature Instagram has recently rolled out is its updated search engine. It’s easier than ever to find whom, where, or what you’re looking for. Want to see what’s going on in that one Italian cafe near your Alma mater? Search places and see a live feed of posts near that exact location. Do you feel like your feed is a little boring? Explore posts that Instagram thinks you might like, or checkout the myriad of trending tags or places.

4. Combined Photo & Video FiltersDSC05657

Another major change with the update has to do with filters. Before, you had your photo filters, and separate from that, you had your video filters. The video filters were alright, but unlike the photo filters, you didn’t have the option to change the intensity with video. Now, not only are we able to change the intensity of video filters, but the whole line of picture filters are available to us for video use as well. To all the Final Cut Pro and After Effects users out there, you might not care. But for the millions of casual shooters who can’t help but use HEFE or LO-FI on every picture, they are free to rejoice.

5. Share The Love
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I love Instagram. I love it so much that I rarely ever use other social media outlets. They’re just not… Instagrammy enough. Thankfully though, there’s a built in feature that lets you post to other social media outlets through Instagram. For now, that’s good enough for me.

Before the update, Instagram was already awesome. It’s a fantastic tool for photographers. It allows us to interact with other people who share our passion. It’s a great way for people to see your work, and is almost always a positive online atmosphere. Download the new update, share those gorgeous portraits and landscapes you’ve been saving, and let me know what you think about the latest version of Instagram.

Thanks,

Mason ( @thedrumms )

 

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