I’ve been asked about the variation in quality of the images I post on Instagram and other social media platforms. I thought I’d wrote a post explaining my workflow for shooting photographs and posting them to Instagram, other social media platforms and this blog. It’s mainly how I go from DSLR to Instagram.
Why do I post images of food on Instagram?
I’m an oversharer. I’m a show off at heart. Since taking to social media in 2010 I’ve enjoyed how social media platform devisers have exploited the psychology of my desire to share. What I like to share is not so much my opinion on everything but images of food and my feelings about food. For me, food is a safe topic to discuss. Life’s too short to share my feelings about the deep and meaningful philosophical questions in life. I don’t need the angst. Hats off to all the tweeps who go hard on politics and social commentary.
One of my favourite social media platforms is Instagram (IG). Even with its warts, viz., square only aspect ratio, the potential for advertisements now that it’s owned by Facebook and the portrait only orientation on my iPad; it is the photograph sharing platform I like best. Unless something drastic happens, I’ll always be an iOS fan and the integration of IG in my iPhone and iPad suits me just fine. I like IG because it’s pretty immediate and I can cross share to my Facebook Page, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter. I was disappointed when IG and Twitter had a spat a few years ago so that now Twitter only displays a IG URL rather than an image. I’ve been able to fix that by using an IFTTT recipe that creates a pic.twitter.com image in the tweet.
When I originally started using IG and Twitter, I was happy with the quality of my iPhone camera. That changed when I dusted off my DSLR and point and shoot cameras. The advent of wireless technology has made it easier to move images from any camera to my iPhone or iPad for immediate social media sharing. There are iPhoneography and Androidography purists who believe that platforms like IG should be smart device only. I can see their point but I choose to exploit the tools I have at my disposal.
I have a few workflow scenarios that I’d like to describe for sharing photographs on IG and then onto other platforms.
Home cooked food images
These are the ones that I hope you can tell are better quality images. At home I use my Nikon D5300 DSLR and usually a Tamron 90 mm MACRO (effective focal length 135 mm on an APS crop sensor DSLR). I could wirelessly transmit images using the built in wi-fi of the D5300 to my iPhone but another revelation for me has been post processing. I have Adobe Lightroom and it is a lot of fun to use. I now shoot in RAW even with my point and shoot camera. These files are too large for quick wireless transfers using economical technology. At home it’s easier to insert an SD card into my MacBook and the images automatically transfer to a specific folder. The filename is automatically changed to the image capture YYYY-MM-DD HH.MM.SS plus a sequential number. Lightroom when open captures all the images and imports them. I can then add some metadata like the types of food I cooked plus a title and description which will automatically load when I use the image in a blog post. If I choose to, Lightroom will also allow me to easily add GPS coordinates based on a GPX file I can collect from my iPhone if I’m out on a walk. Lightroom also allows you to manually add GPS coordinates using a map. It’s so simple. Lightroom also lets me adjust the image by altering exposure, contrast, clarity, shadows, and a heap of other variables. In Lightroom I can automatically crop the image to a 1:1 square aspect ratio for IG and add a watermark. From Lightroom I can export to a folder that is connected to DropBox which means in a minute or two the image can be acquired on my iPhone or iPad and is ready for sharing.
Out at a restaurant or cafe
In restaurants or cafes I’ll bring along my Canon PowerShot G16. I got this camera because it has a wide aperture and shoots RAW. It also has wi-fi connectivity and extracts GPS data from my iPhone into the image metadata. The G16 also views and exports in 1:1 square aspect ratio which makes composition easier for IG use.
One thing I’ve learnt when eating somewhere with others is the antisocial aspects of social media. When I’m transferring an image then doing a minor edit and then posting it, it can take a few minutes and I drop out of the social network that has been formed at the table. So if I can just get one image out (along with a foursquare check-in) and ninja tweet I’m usually happy knowing that in a day or two the photographs are likely to form a restaurant review blog post anyway.
There are a few ways to move the images from the camera to the device. Because I sometimes carry my iPad I can use the SD card reader for the iPad. This is quick and easy and it demonstrates for me that in an ideal world I’d have an iPad mini because it would be more portable and it would be a nearly perfect solution. The iPad mini is about the size of a large Samsung android telephone so it’s not a big stretch (except the cost of course).
When I don’t have my iPad, with a wi-fi enabled camera, the proprietary software and apps work fine. An alternative that doesn’t require an in-camera wi-fi capability are SD cards with embedded wi-fi like Eye-Fi® and Transcend®. These work well for transferring small JPGs that will just be used for IG and social media sharing. Large fine quality JPGs and RAW files take too long to transfer (IMHO). I have a 32 GB Transcend® card and it works fine. If you want wireless transfers to work about an order of magnitude better then you can pay about $20 for an app like ShutterSnitch from the iOS app store and it makes the whole process of transferring images work like a dream.
Travelling with my DSLR
While I haven’t done a lot of travelling with my DSLR my experience with ShutterSnitch and the Transcend SD card is such that I’d probably set my camera to capture both RAW and JPG (small file size). At a suitable break in activity I’d select one good JPG image to share and pull it from the camera to send to my iPhone for IG use. Later I can use the RAW images and post a blog post after a little post processing. I’m thinking agricultural shows, theme parks and museums and other cultural events for this sort of sharing. Like in a restaurant, I just want to get one or two images out knowing I’ll be blogging later.
I know this post hasn’t been a really detailed description and what I hope to do with future posts is include a little more information on some of the workflow process.
If you have any questions or suggestions on how I can improve what I do please write in the comment box below. Thanks 🙂