At this point I am probably the last person on the planet to have read this book, but better late than never right? Todays RNR, or read n review, is on the book, Capture Your Style, by Aimee Song. This book, which came out last year, is basically an Insta-guide on how to transform and edit your photos, showcase your life online and snap the beauty in even the most simple places. This book also shows how to build the ultimate platform-whether you are a business, blogger, or just simply someone who wants to share pretty pictures with your family and friends.
Aimee Song is best known for her fashion and interior design blog, Song of Style where she shares with her readers travel guides, beauty tips, outfit inspiration and more. Her social profiles and Instagram are the prime example of what aspiring bloggers want their feed to look like – inspiring travel photos, breakfast that looks too good to eat (avocado toast mostly), photos of her newly renovated home, and so on.
In this book, she shares with us how to edit photos using apps on your phone, how to create your own story and voice on Instagram, how to take food, flat-lay, travel, and product photos, how to build an organic following, and how to turn an Instagram hobby into a successful business.
To begin, there are 5 chapters to this book I will be reviewing.
- The Ins & Outs of Instagram
- Capture Your Style
- Become a Storyteller
- Find & Grow Your Audience
1. The Ins & Outs of Instagram
I feel that this chapter should have been titled, “How to use your camera on your phone”. It covers the very basics of the different features that a phone camera has, which btw thanks to Aimee I learned something new with the grid lines and exposure adjust!
This can easily be practiced on your own if you simply just play around with your camera. In this chapter, she points out that most of her IG pictures are taken with an iPhone and that you don’t need a fancy camera for uping your Insta-game, which I can agree with.
Otherwise, I think this chapter is useful for someone who is just getting on Instagram and has no idea how the hell to maneuver it – she goes over how to create a name, using geotags, who to follow, and what kind of pictures to post.
2. Capture Your Style
Here she mentions how to take photos, using different angles (rule of thirds), vertical vs horizontal photos, and using grid lines for symmetry. I do like that she incorporated photos to show the various types of angles she shoots from and the reason behind why she decided to shoot from that point of view.
She also goes over how to edit photos on your phone, which I personally don’t like doing too much. All of my photos are edited in Lightroom, and switching it up sometimes causes my feed to look “out of theme”, so I tend to stick to LR.
Then there’s the part on outfit selfies. I don’t consider myself a fashion blogger by any means, but when I do have a cute outfit to sport, it’s nice to keep in mind how to take an outfit photo and what kind of background to choose. Also, I like that she suggests to research and look up the location for a vacation or a mini trip to envision what kind of outfits to pack…to have the photos look like it’s something out of a movie.
3. Become a Storyteller
It’s true what they say. A picture is worth a thousand words. Through Instagram you are essentially creating a story and sharing with your audience the highlights of your life, even the simple moments like chilling with your dog, what you had for lunch today, or your niece’s birthday party are worth sharing with the world if said photos are meaningful to you.
According to Song, the art of telling a story always has a beginning, middle, and end. If you are traveling somewhere, start by taking a pre-travel shot of your luggage for example, then post some photos during your vacation, and end with a shot of you going back home or at the airport, etc.
She also shares how to take epic photos of three lifestyle categories: food, travel, & decor which really have to do with lighting, no zoom (on phone), and perspective/angle. In terms of your overall grid, make sure to keep in mind that the first 12 photos of your feed are people’s first impression of you, so make sure it looks good and represents what you’re all about! Instagram is also a great place to search for cool places in the city you live in or are visiting. Use it as a virtual city guide to find out where the happening places are near you by searching hashtags, geotags, etc.
4. Find & Grow Your Audience
We all know that content is king and even if you have amazing content, growing an organic following is hard with all the amazing accounts out there targeting the same audience. With that being said, there’s an obvious temptation to take shortcuts by buying followers and likes. I agree with Aimee in that going this route is just not right and honestly quite deceitful. Not only does it look bad when an account buys followers, but it also hurts you in the end when a brand decides not to work with you because your engagement doesn’t match the “10k” followers you appear to have.
Gaining an organic following can be done by using the right hashtags, engaging on others pics, tagging feature accounts, and posting content people can find only on your account. I’ve had my account for 2 years now and have grown it to almost 2k organically by doing what I mentioned above.
Also, using hashtags that are not overly populated is important to make sure your picture doesn’t get lost in the swarm of photos under that same tag everyday. Geo-tagging your photo correctly is also important so others can easily find your post.
Pretty much every business, no matter how big or small, should have an Instagram account. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have anything physical to sell, it’s still a great tool to increase brand awareness and direct more people to your company and/or drive traffic to your blog and website.
Because you may be targeting a specific group of people, it’s so important to be authentic with your posts and maintain the same voice throughout. If a certain picture doesn’t match your feed, why post just to post? Also remember, quality over quantity!
All in all, I feel that Aimee did a good job in this book of going through the basics of starting and building a feed as well as creating good content. As someone who has learned the ropes of building a following through practicing different strategies in the past couple of years, a lot of the information has been a good reminder. Although, I was expecting there to be more information on growing an audience that I didn’t already know.
If you are new to Instagram or feel like capturing images are not your forte, perhaps this book could give you some good pointers in the right direction. For someone who is already well-advanced in their Insta-game, this book could be a good refresher.
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?
All my love,