Instagram features you may not be using

Instagram is a fantastic tool for taking, editing and sharing photographs, but are you taking full advantage of all the features it offers? Here’s a few options that you may not know about:

  1. The Layout app

OK, technically Layout is a separate app from Instagram, but it was created by the folks at Instagram. Layout allows you to quickly combine multiple photos from your phone into a collage. Choose the images you want, and Layout will automatically give you photo collage suggestions.

Layout Choose Photos for Collage

Scroll through the options and click on any of the images to switch them, rotate, or choose a mirror image option.

Layout Edit Collage

When you have the collage you want, upload it to Instagram, Facebook or a few other options. If you’re sharing it through Instagram, follow the regular steps to edit and post to your feed.

Layout Share Collage

  1. Location tagging

Did you know that you can tag your Instagram images with a location? Instagram uses geotargeting – if your phone’s privacy settings are turned on – to offer location suggestions. When you’re filling out your photo caption on the “Share to” screen, turn the Add to Photo Map function on, and then click on Name This Location.

Instagram Select Add to Photo Map

Choose a location or create a new one.

Instagram Choose Location

The location will appear on the “Share to” screen.

Instagram Share Image with Location Tag

When you share your photo, it will be tagged with the location.

Instagram Click on Location Tag for Photo

Want to see more photos that were taken at that location? Click on the tag. You’ll be able to scroll through images that share the same location tag. This is a great way to find out more about a location, and to show you’re a loyal fan!

Instagram Photos with Location Tag

  1. Managing filters

Instagram recently added some options that will help you organize your filters so that you’re using the ones you like the best. To organize your filters, click and hold to highlight a filter. You can drag it anywhere on the row so that your favorites appear at the front of the list. If there are filters you hate and never use, drop them to the middle of the screen to hide them.

Organize Instagram Filters

Have you used any of these Instagram features? Which one do you like best?

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Instagram features you may not be using

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3 tools you can use to create holiday designs

3 Tools You Can Use to Create Holiday Designs

The holidays are a great time to experiment with your visual content, but if you’re not a designer or have paid the big bucks for software like Photoshop, how do you create seasonal visuals that look designer-made?

Fortunately, there’s a lot of available tools that are free or low-cost to help you create images that will help you stand out in a sea of holiday content. Here are 3 that I recommend:

PicMonkey

This online photo editing site offers lots of holiday goodies in its themes section. Start by selecting the edit mode, then upload your photo. You can also choose design to create an image with a colorful background and text (like a quote, fact, stat or tip), and add some holiday flair.

PicMonkey Get Started

Then select themes by clicking on the snowflake icon on the bottom of the left column.

PicMonkey How to Access Themes

The Winterland theme allows you to add snow, frost, snowflakes, snowmen, and a few additional landscape effects to your images.

PicMonkey Winterland Theme

Click over to SantaLand to insert Santa caps, elf hats, and reindeer antlers to people and pets in your photos. Or add Santa, his buddies, trees, presents, stockings and candy canes.

PicMonkey SantaLand

Some of the effects and overlays are free. However, there are some that you can only access with a PicMonkey Royale account, which costs $33 a year. If PicMonkey is a tool you plan to use on a regular basis, it’s definitely worth the money!

Pro tip: Want to use a snowman, Santa or candy cane in another photo editing tool? Create a new design in PicMonkey and select transparent canvas when choosing your canvas color. Then save the image to your desktop and import it into whatever editing program you want to use.

PicMonkey Create Image With Transparent Background

Canva

Image creation/editing site Canva has some free overlays you can use in your holiday designs. Start a new project by selecting one of their many templates for Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook cover photos and more, and then do a search for Christmas to find some free images. Canva offers tons of photos of Christmas lights, Christmas trees, ornaments and more, but most of these images can be purchased and use for a small fee of $1 each.

I created the image at the top of this blog post in Canva, and used free overlays of the snowman and snow.

Canva Christmas Designs

PicCollage

The free PicCollage app can help you create holiday images on the go by using your smartphone. Access photos from your phone, or connect to your Instagram and use images from your account.

PicCollage Choose Photos

Then choose templates and add holiday-themed backgrounds.

PicCollage Choose Backgrounds

You can also add text, choose a font, and insert holiday stickers. Some stickers are free, and some sticker sets cost $1.99.

PicCollage Add Text Stickers and Background

When you’re done, save the photo to your phone; post to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram; or send it via email.

PicCollage Save Image

How do you add some holiday flair to your content?

These are just 3 tools you can use to dress up your visual content for the holiday season. What are your favorites? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments and I’ll write about them in a future post!