I wanted to try out a new topic for my blog where I share little Instagram hacks I've learned along the years. It's no surprise I'm a huge fan of everything social media, and because of this, I've learned a handful of useful tricks and weird quirks I started doing to save on time.

So follow along, step by step on how I go about posting a photo on Instagram because let's be honest, it's never really that instant.

1. CULLING - I guess a precursor to this would be to mention that I only shoot in iPhone's Camera app and I typically never shoot in square mode just to give myself more room to crop. Also, my grid is always on to help me level and I never shoot HDR. Back to culling! When I finally go through a day's photos to determine which photos I want to eventually edit/post, I use the 'favorite' button at the bottom of each photo so that it goes straight into its own folder. You can absolutely make your own folders and move photos into it, but this option is super quick and easy because of the ♥ button. This is also a huge time saver to find the photo later on instead of scrolling through your entire Camera Roll.

A look at my own Favorites folder right now and all the goodies I have yet to share on Instagram.

2. EDITING - My favorite photo editing app these days is Priime- an SF based company with filters developed by photographers. Aside from the many styles and clean layout, I love the the 'Automatic Style Suggestion' that analyzes your photo to suggest filters it thinks would work best with your photo. Priime also gives you the ability to save over your original photo to reduce space in your Camera Roll. I know the fear of not having an original is scary, but your history is all saved in the app and your can revert back to the original at any point.

Priime is free to start and the only costs are the additional filters you purchase, which I highly recommend buying. I edited this shot with #priime_flock.

3. TWEAKS - I do the bulk of my editing in Priime (about 95%) and I like to use Instagram to edit the rest. The tweaks are usually pretty subtle and the gradual intensity level is just what I need to add a little extra to each photo. The last 5% of editing is usually spent on: brightness, contrast, warmth/cool, and sometimes sharpness. You can skip this step and the next if your photo is good to go.

4. SAVING - Instagram back in the day (I feel like such an old lady saying that) used to save your photo once you got to the caption part, but this isn't so anymore. In order to save an edited photo from Instagram, you have to either share it to your followers or send it as a direct message. I'm usually not ready to share it live, so I always use the direct message option. You can send it to someone who doesn't mind you using them as your own personal Dropbox or do what I do and share it to your dog's account. Yup, you read correctly! I have an account for my dog Tobias and since I know he doesn't mind it, I send my dog ALL of my edited photos. Once you do this, the edited photo saves to your Camera Roll. I then like to  the final image and delete the unedited ones from my Favorites folder.

5. PLANNING - This step and the next are completely optional if you want to pre-plan how your Instagram feed will look like before you post them. My favorite app to do this is Snug and it only costs $0.99. It allows you to load in your Instagram feed and add in photos to see how they look with your overall grid. This is crucial for those looking to create a 'look' for their brand and like to keep things cohesive.

Planoly is a great alternate, but you'll have to pay after your trial. This app does go the extra mile and tracks stats and data for you as well.

6. SCHEDULING - I don't always do this step, but this one is a great time-saver if you know you won't have time to draft something up in a time crunch. Currently there is no actual app to post Instagram posts for you, so you have to get a bit creative. The first step is to get your photo all prepped with the caption, photo tags, geotag location and hashtags like you normally would (and should be doing) with every photo. Instead of hitting that blue button "SHARE AS ____" at the bottom however, carefully swipe up to show your iPhone's Mission Control and turn Airplane Mode ON. If you're on Wifi, make sure this is OFF. Basically, you want to disconnect from the internet for a second and go back to share your photo. You should see a bar pop up on the top of your feed that says "Failed" next to the photo with a circular arrow and X to the right.

You're more than welcome to turn Airplane Mode off, kick your wifi back on and continue doing whatever you need to do. Whenever you're ready to submit your photo, just hit the circular arrow and it'll post with all the goodies you drafted up. You can stack a few on there and plan your week out, but keep it mind it may get kind of cluttered if you overdo it and be careful not to accidentally

Pro-tip: if I have a post I need up at a certain time, I like to set a timer or two on my phone to remind me when to hit submit.

I usually like to go back and as a second comment add in the appropriate hashtags (that's a whole new topic for next time). Remember to be engaging! Take the time to not just like, but comment and follow actual people and companies. Hard work will pay off and you'll see results! I'd love to know if you guys found this helpful at all, and please share to friends you think might benefit from a few Instagram tips.