Designing Instagram Posts
Being an Content Creator for a Week
I took on the role of Instagram content creator for the past couple of weeks. It was strange to suddenly post on Instagram as I have never posted a single thing on there, me being a Facebook era person. Being completely new to the Instagram game, here is what I learned!
First, I outlined 8 different kinds of instagram posts under the theme “What Chelsea does in the Fall.” I made sure that each type of post would be different, taking advantage of the different kinds of posts you can make on instagram. Here was what I outlined at the beginning:
Post 1: Gif of a Jack-o-lantern welcoming everyone to spooky season.
Post 2: Video of me lighting a fall scented candle, asking “what are your favorite fall smells?” in the post description
Post 3: Collage of photos with the steps to making apple cider
Post 4: Slideshow splitting up a Panorama I took of fall scenery
Post 5: Slideshow of my Halloween costume
Post 6: Time-lapse of making halloween origami for decorations
Post 7: Slideshow showcasing different kinds of fall leaves
Post 8: Video of the local farmer’s market
I had my plan in place, and all I had to do was go out and make this content — but as with any project, I did have to give flexibility to these posts, and I ended up having to pivot from some of these. I also did these out of order, so expect that as I outline what I did from the first post to the eighth. I’ll explain my posts and my processes of each, so you can see where my plan has changed, and create a final list of all my post with their links below.
POST 1: Fall Candle
Already, my posts as I planned did not go in order, but I expected it. I did this because that was the easiest one to do at the time. I put together the scene using a couple pumpkins we got at the farmer’s market, some leaves from outside, and a table cloth I picked up at the store the other day. I set up the scene on my dinner table, intentionally not having any lights on.
I set up my Nikon D3300 on a thick book to get the correct height and took a short 40 second video. I kept my first take as it was good enough for what I was wanting to post, and really liked the dimming affect in the video, which I originally did not plan on. It makes sense because my camera is currently set to auto exposure.
I trimmed the video using Adobe Premiere, and threw it up on Instagram. Posting to Instagram for the first was interesting, especially with a video. Because the video was under a minute, I actually had to upload it with my phone, so I exported the video to the MP4 format, and threw it up with a caption.
POST 2: Jack-o-lantern GIF
I made the GIF next. This one deserves an article on its own since I had an interesting time creating this. What I thought would be a fast project did not turn out as such.
I used Illustrator to make the different frames in the form of layers, and built the GIF layer by layer, using the layers before as a template for the next layer I was working on. I made the layers before semi-transparent so working on the layer I was working was easier.
Working on the frames themselves was the easy part, but outputting them to work with photoshop was another matter entirely. I thought I could save the file as a photoshop file, and the layers would translate over, but that was not the case. It split up each asset not grouped into their own sublayers, which now makes sense because that’s was Illustrator does. I’m sure there is a way to format the Illustrator file to make what I thought would work actually work, but I instead saved each layer individually as a PNG so I can put them in as complete frames.
From there, I used photoshop to make the GIF. I’ll explain my experiences with GIF creation in another article, but I was able to save the GIF, bring it into Premiere so I could export it correctly to MP4. I actually made it GIF-like in Premiere by copying the video, and making it repeat up to 30 seconds long.
From there, I exported it, put it on my phone again, then put it on Instagram.
POST 3: Origami Demonstration and Time-Lapse
This was my biggest content I would make out of the 8 Instagram posts, and I was right in assuming that from the beginning. I fell out of scope a bit with this project as this video should be a singular project in its own right, and again, deserving of its own separate article.
I went on pinterest to look up some simple origami I could timelapse, and found a good one. I practiced it a couple times to get it memorized. I then went to the store to get some paper, and found some nice shades of orange cardstock.
I then arranged our living room to be a studio, using a ball tripod, and my trusty Nikon D3300 to take video. I last minute decided that this was not just going to be a timelapse, but an instructional video as well where I would demonstrate how to fold the pumpkins, and then I would go into a timelapse folding 40 pumpkins. So I did just that! I set up one of my lamps for fill in light, and used parchment paper to diffuse it, and got to work.
I underestimated the time it would take just to get the videoing done, and I found I had used up all my time to work on things for the day. I knew that a considerable amount of video editing, voice over, and music needed to be done the next day.
I edited all the video in premiere before I got to doing the voice over. I sped up the times that were supposed to be the time-lapse, and looked up some recommended speeds, but just went with my own. After I had the video stitched together the way I wanted, I went into our bedroom to record audio, like I did for the podcast I created.
I threw together a script, and recorded using the audio recorder in Premiere, and the Blue Snowball microphone that my husband let me borrow again. Recording over the video helped with audio editing and made things go a bit faster. I threw in some music I found on in the list of YouTube creator music, and made sure I saved the credits for posting on Instagram.
Then finally, after messing with the export to actually export a good file size in MP4, I threw it up on instagram on my computer (since it was a long enough video to do so). Whew! Now on to the next one.
POST 4: Panorama Slideshow
This post was a bit easier. I had equipment from a class I’m taking at Utah Valley University to take 360 panoramas, and I took this shot at Canyon Glen park in Provo Canyon. I was with my husband, and I was getting a bunch of photos and couple 360 panoramas for a book I’ll be creating about Photography in Fall.
I got the shots using a Nikon D7100 with a 8mm fisheye lense, a ninja arm with leveler, and a ball head tripod. I borrowed the D7100 from my mom due to its capacity to take auto-bracketed photos to be used to make HDR photos. I used the 18-shot HDR method of creating a 360 panorama, taking four batches of three photos all around and two batches of photos straight down. I compressed the six batches of three photos each in Photomax to create 6 photos with excellent exposure, then went into photoshop with the 2 downshots to edit out the tripod.
I stitched the panorama together using PTgui and exported the complete panorama as you see above as a TIF. Later, I exported the TIF to my phone, and used an app called unsqrd to split the panorama into squares so I can throw up the panorama as a slideshow on Instagram. It’s not seamless on instagram, but it got the idea across.
POST 5: Redbarn Adventure Collages
This is where my plan had to pivot, and all my posts after this one had something similar happen as well. I was unable to get to the farmer’s market like I planned, so I decided to do something else.
I went with my husband to the Rowley’s Red Barn in Santaquin, and thought it would be fun to document our trip there. We went on the wagon ride, waked through the pumpkin patch, and a couple of corn mazes.
I snapped a few shots just using my phone’s camera, and a video. I had an iPhone 12, so the camera isn’t bad. It’s mostly limited by the fact that it can’t have a big sensor like my Nikon does.
This was mainly an experiment, but after we got back, I threw the pictures into two collages using a phone app called pic collage, and decided to see if it would allow to put a video in. And it did! The output of the first collage was mp4 because I had a video in there. That was exciting! I came up with my own kind of post, and I liked that. I threw both the collage with the video and a collage with just pictures on Instagram as a slideshow and called that good.
POST 6: Augmented Reality Fall Scene
Again, I had another pivot to the post I made not out of inconvenience, but because I didn’t think a slideshow of leaves was interesting enough, and I didn’t want to do another slideshow, so I did something entirely different, though related.
I recently got into Augmented reality, and used Adobe Aero on my iPhone for this project. As cool as this video was, it just took me about 5 minutes of me sitting in my car to set it all up. I was messing with their built in assets, such as the fall trees, leaves, and pre-animated creatures.
Soon, I had the scene you see here in this photo. I candidly took a video of this scene on my dashboard, and immediately uploaded it to Instagram. This was the quickest out of all of the instagram posts I did.
POST 7: Pumpkin Carving with My Husband
I pivoted from making Apple Cider, even though I had all the ingredients to make it. Unfortunately, my husband and I got sick, and cooking projects at that time were out of the question.
Luckily, we planned on carving pumpkins! I didn’t think about taking pictures of us carving pumpkins until we got started. It turned out really fun. I again used my iPhone for the pictures, and took a more candid approach to my photos.
I was happy with how our pumpkins turned out, and I got some really good photos of them all lit up as well.
I uploaded a selection of them to Instagram in a slideshow. I thought that this as a slideshow would be fine since I was planning on doing that anyway for the apple cider I was going to make.
POST 8: Halloween Costume
This post didn’t have as big as a pivot as the earlier one’s, but I decided to do a past and present kind of post. I am into homemade costumes for halloween, and I thought I ought to show that off.
The image on the left was taken with a home computer camera when I was about 15, and I took the picture on the right with my iPhone just yesterday. This was to showcase how much I have improved my homemade costuming, from paper elf ears to a felt, cardboard, and foam dragon mask.
I used pic collage again to make the 2 image collage and threw it up on Instagram as my last Instagram post I’ll probably do in a while.
Final Thoughts and Takeaways
This was a bigger project than I feel it needed to be, but I really wanted to see how it was to be a content creator, and it is a lot of work! I changed the way I was doing things as I was posting, and creating content. The first few posts were fairly complicated, but for instagram, they definitely don’t have to be. I don’t see myself being a full-time content creator in the future, but it was nice to give it a try! And it was nice to try out becoming my own personal studio.
Chelsea Stamm is a student in the Digital Media program at Utah Valley University, Orem Utah, studying Web Design and Development. The following article relates to the Instagram Project in the DGM 2260 Course and is representative of the skills learned.