As a social media manager, I spend a lot of time making things look pretty. There is no way around it and thankfully it's something that the creative side of me truly enjoys.
If the words that I compose and the images that I share are not appealing to my target audience, I will have little to no success in the growth and visibility of my brand. For this reason, I make it a priority to optimize my photos and graphics prior to sharing them on the world wide web and I encourage you to do the same.
Through my research of a number of blogs, articles, and posts, I have discovered which photo editing apps people believe are the best. However, through my own trial and error, I have found a solid five applications that I rely on and use most frequently for both myself and my clients. Today, I will be sharing these tools with you.
My Top 5 Photo Editing Applications
1. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC
Adobe Lightroom is definitely one of my favorite photo editing apps all time! It has an array of features and options for tweaking, and perfecting your images. One thing to keep in mind is that it isn't free. There is also a learning curve, so be prepared to play around with it for a while before you feel like a pro. However, if you are serious about your photography and want to take your images to the next level, it is definitely worth the investment.
VSCO app is another great resource for enhancing and editing images. There is a free version and a paid one, but I honestly think that the free one does the job. Like Adobe Lightroom, there are a lot of editing options, which makes it just as complicated to understand. Even so, once you figure it out, your photos will go from zero to hero almost instantly!
Pixlr is a free app that I discovered fairly recently and have been using ever since. Its much simpler than the previous two recommendations and offers fewer editing options. This is great because you have less options to consider therefore it's not as confusing—but that also means that you are more limited creatively with how unique your photo can be. I have actually been using Pixlr this month for my Instagram feed, because there's a simplified look that I wanted it to have and I have been very satisfied with my results!
You know those photos that you see on IG with the blurry backgrounds that look super cool? That is probably the work of InShOt app. I like this one because it's simple to use, but the features stand up to the competition. This free tool allows you to add text and stickers to your photos and change your background. There are also crop and frame features as well.
This one is a little different from the previous apps because it is not a tool that can be used to adjust or enhance the look of your photo. Phonto is an application that was created with the specific purpose of allowing you to add text to your images. There is a wide array of various font types to choose from and you can adjust the color and size of the text to your satisfaction.
Also—to be fair—the other apps mentioned above can be used to add text to photos too, but Phonto works just as well and is much easier to maneuver since that's what it was made for. This comes in handy when you need to quickly add a watermark or description of some sort to your picture. Also, free.
There are hundreds of amazing tools out there that you can use for photo editing—so many, in fact, that finding one that suits you and your brand can become overwhelming. The five apps that I have included in this post offer ease and variety and that's what I love most about them.
Do you use any editing tools for your photos? If so, I am always doing research to stay up to date on products and would love to know what they are!
Whether you are a service or product based business, it is extremely important that the representation of your brand is clear. If this is not the case, you are missing out opportunities for growth, loyalty, and profits.
What is a Brand?
This is a question that is tricky to answer because a brand is not just something that can be explained in one sentence. It's your logo. It's your website, color scheme, and letterhead. It's what people think about when they visualize or hear the name of your product or service. It's what makes you different from your competition. The goal of a brand is to leave a lasting impression in the minds of customers.
How Can I Develop a Solid Brand?
There are several steps that go into developing a brand that is an accurate representation of you and your business. You may not get it right on the first try and that's okay! Even multi million dollar organizations go through periods of restructuring their brands.
To get started on building your brand you will need to first do some heavy research. What is your overall business strategy? Who is your competition and what is their branding looking like? Who is the audience that you are trying to appeal to? What is the message that you are trying to send? What is the voice of your brand? Is it playful? Serious?
Once you have solid answers to all of these questions, you can begin working on the visual aspects of your brand such as the name, tagline, logo, website, mission statement, etc.
After you have created a brand that you are proud of, the next step is to make sure it is visible. Your website should be unique and captivating with the ability to draw people in. Your social media and blog posts should have compelling copy that accurately paint a clear picture of what your brand represents. Finally, your brand images should be clear and appealing to the audience you are targeting.
If you follow all of these steps, you are well on your way to having a brand positioned for success.
To be successful in your business, you will need to set concrete goals. I'm not talking about those random ideas floating around in your head that you've never shared or taken to paper. I'm talking about specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, timed, goals.
Write Your Goals Down
Here's a fun fact: You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals when you write them down. This is because it forces you to be really specific and think about exactly what it is you are trying to achieve. It also helps you to remember the goal when you are able to see it in front of you daily as opposed to it being a fleeting idea that pops into your head occasionally.
I used to be guilty of setting goals in my mind, but then I wouldn't follow through. I think that subconsciously, not being able to see them made it hurt less if I gave up. Writing them down has made them more real, in a sense, and has helped me tremendously. The saying, "out of sight, out of mind" truly applies when it comes to this situation. When you don't see the goal in front of you, it's hard to see yourself achieving it.
I urge you to grab a pen and paper—the old fashioned way—today, and write down your goals—no matter how big or small you think they might be. You can write them however you want, whether cursive, print, bubble letters, as long as your writing utensil is meeting with your piece of paper. When you are done, put it somewhere that you visit often in your home and would have a clear view of it. I keep one copy in my bedroom and one in my planner, because I always have that with me.
I guarantee you that after a few days or weeks, you will be so much closer to reaching the goals you've written down than you would have been otherwise. Don't believe me? Just try it for yourself.
Kacy-Ann Valembrun is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media manager for hire. She is a newlywed, woman of faith with expert knowledge, personal experience, and particular interest in digital marketing, personal development, and women empowerment. If you are interested in having her produce engaging content for your business, you can learn more here. When Kacy's not writing, you can find her exploring her new neighborhood in the midwest, reading while sipping on a cup of oolong tea, or enjoying some fresh air at a nearby park.