If you’re a photographer or designer, there’s no way you could have missed Shaina. She the boss lady behind Your Ampersand Studio and has a beautiful, bright Instagram feed.
Shaina takes us behind her feed and talks about her tricks to keep a consistent Instagram theme, how she finds her dream clients through Instagram and her 3 tips to take beautiful still life / interior photos… and if you read until the end… her favorite filters in Preview app.
Hi Shaina! We’re so excited for you to take us behind your feed! First and foremost, can you please introduce yourself and tell everyone what you do?
Hi there, I’m Shaina, the designer, photographer, VA and heart behind Your Ampersand Studio. I’m on a mission to help photographers feel less alone behind their cameras with logos and websites that work for them, and assistant services that leave them with more time to focus on what they do best.
I love your brand name. What does it mean to you?
The Ampersand is a symbol for the word “and,” and the perfect visual representation of a connection. But it goes way beyond that. In its definition, the ampersand means that the two linking pieces become part of each other. That is the heart behind my business – that connection. I want to become an ally for my clients as they journey through building and growing their photography business.
Let’s talk about your Instagram. If you could use only one word to describe your feed, what would it be?
Your feed is so well put together. What’s your secret to keep it so consistent?
The secret to my consistency is my brand colors and voice.
Every image I post has to make sense in relation to what’s around it. My three brand colors are turquoise, bright pink and yellow. Sometimes I interpret those colors literally in my images, and other times there is just a nod to even one of those colors (like an image with gold paperclips for instance – it relates back to the yellow in my colors). I also try to make good use of white space. I want my feed to feel light, bright and inviting and using white space well gives the images room to breath. You’d be surprised how many times people have messaged me or tagged me in images saying: “This reminded me of your brand!” I love that my feed is recognizable like that.
And then for the captions I write I always make sure that my main mission of connection is at the core. I want my followers to feel like they know me and consider me a friend and ally, someone to turn to when they have questions about photography, design or entrepreneurship.
How far in advance do you usually plan your feed? Or do you love to not over-plan?
I’m always on the lookout for images or opportunities to take images that will go well in my feed. That’s one reason I LOVE the Instagram Repost feature in Preview. I usually have 5-12 images loaded in the app and play with what order I want them in as I go. I have the best of intentions to plan my feed more in advance (with captions and hashtags ready to go) but I find myself creating the actual post the day of most times. Let’s just say I prefer not to over-plan. 😉
I know you are a photographer at heart, so you got to give us some of your tips! How do you take beautiful interior photos like these? Can you give us your top 3 tips?
Yes, I would definitely call myself a photographer first, so I’d love to share some tips with you!
- Always use natural light. I can’t stress this enough. That’s the best way to get that creamy light that makes your colors pop.
- Shadows are your friend. Natural shadows create dimension, which help the image have that real “lifestyle” quality to it.
- Shoot a little underexposed. You can always brighten an image, but its hard to pull back those blown-out hightlights. And try to keep a consistent white-balance on your images so even if they weren’t shot at the same time, they look like they go together.
Is Instagram helping you find new clients? And if so, how do you go about finding your dream clients through Instagram? (Or how do you think they find you?).
Absolutely Instagram is helping me find new clients. The past year Instagram has been my main source of new clients. Hashtags play a big part of getting in front of the right eyes, but then it all goes back to creating real, personal connection. I spend time having conversations with those who comment on my images, and I go to potential dreamy client’s feeds and leave heartfelt comments for them too. When they’re ready to do a brand redesign or website, I want my name to come to mind first. And that happens when you’re engaging with them.
What advice would you give to a creative entrepreneur starting on Instagram?
There are 2 small tips that have helped me a lot in my growth on Instagram: 1) always reply to the comments you get, and 2) after every time you post spend 10 minutes engaging on other people’s feeds (preferably your potential clients!).
Be consistent, be friendly, be helpful. That will take you further than anything!
How is Preview app helping you? And what would you say to someone who isn’t using it yet?
I have tried #alltheapps available for planning your Instagram feed, and Preview is my favorite. I love that everything I need is all in one place: editing, organizing, hashtags, scheduling. And the Instagram Repost feature is my favorite. That was the clincher for me: getting high res images to repost that look way better than screenshots or using a repost app.
The way that Preview is helping me the most is that I currently run 5 separate Instagram accounts, including my own. With the multi-account feature I can easily switch between accounts and organize each feed separately and effectively. And the hashtag generator and group feature was a game-changer. No more copy/paste from my notes app and having to go back and forth.
To someone who isn’t using it yet I would say: “Preview App is my go-to for preplanning all the different elements of my Instagram feed, from collecting and visually planning my images and graphics and editing them, to writing my captions and using hashtags effectively. It saves me time, keeps me organized and inspired and makes using Instagram for my own business and my clients a cinch. Its the best solution I’ve found for all things Instagram.”
I love the Colorful II set and use KK4 and KK5 regularly for that pop of bright white that I love so much.
Thank you so much for your awesome tips Shaina! Go follow Shaina on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and visit her website. Also, she has been working on a very cool project (bringing free feminine stock photos directly to your inbox). Make sure you follow this Instagram account to be notified when it’s available.
Please leave a comment below if you loved Shaina’s “Behind the Feed”. What was your favorite tip?