Instagram & algorithms

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This morning brought the news that like Facebook and Twitter before them, Instagram are going to start organising user’s home feeds using algorithms instead of their current chronological display. Naturally, there’s a lot of concern and confusion, so below are some initial thoughts, and answers to some of the questions I’m hearing asked. What does this actually mean? Instagram will be rearranging the order that posts from accounts you follow appear in your newsfeed, based on your regular…

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Instagram tips: Creative selfies


Selfies are a funny phenomenon, aren’t they? Since the advent of Myspace and forward-facing cameras they’ve developed this terrible reputation for vanity, duck-face-pouts and self indulgence. But for many of us, the truth is that being on-camera is an awkward and uncomfortable experience, and self portraits are a powerful tool against that. BUT WHY DO YOU NEED PICTURES OF YOURSELF ANYWAY?, I hear the Daily Mail readers of the world cry, and my answer is…

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instagram tips: learning from my mistakes III

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Another retrospective look at how I would do things differently, with the benefit of a little hindsight… Funnily enough, people often cite these as my most helpful posts – and Lord knows I don’t need much encouragement to criticise myself! Previous instalments here and here. A photo posted by Sara (@me_and_orla) on Jun 29, 2015 at 1:07pm PDT What’s wrong with it: It’s over-processed & overdone. The scene is entirely artificial – between you and…

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Instagram: why growing your following is the wrong aim


It’s probably the most requested thing; 90% of my mentoring clients come to me with an aim to grow their following, and it’s easy to see why: followers are the ultimate capital in this strange cyber world we inhabit, the secret to unlocking your online dreams and making awesome, and often surprising stuff happen. Who doesn’t want that? You’ll get no judgement from me! My New Year’s resolution two years ago was to reach 1000…

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instagram tips: get it white


If you’re a DSLR user, you’ll already know all about white balance – but for the uninitiated, here’s a quick definition: White balance (WB) is the process of removing unrealistic color casts, so that objects which appear white in person are rendered white in your photo. Proper camera white balance has to take into account the “color temperature” of a light source, which refers to the relative warmth or coolness of white light. – source…

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writer’s block

Some days I can write and some days I jrst cnt. The same goes for photography; sometimes I know it will work on the first shot, and sometimes I’m afraid to even try. I creep up to my desk like a half-lit firework, never sure if I’m more afraid of a damply disappointing pouf or the whole thing blowing up in my face. Lately I’ve been lamenting, to myself and to anyone else who’ll listen, how…

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Photo archive: graffiti of love

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For a few years, I was on the hunt for love graffiti. Not ‘graffiti art’, not the obvious stuff to photograph – just the hastily scrawled, hormone-driven declarations of emotion that wind up on phone boxes, toilet walls & in the shadows of bridges & doorways. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I relate. I don’t really get the ‘tagging’ thing or the urge to deface stuff with scally scrawlings, but the idea of feeling…

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Instagram tips: taking photos in public

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Do you feel confident taking photographs in public? It’s something a lot of people struggle with – made especially tricky if, like me, you’re an introvert who tends to photograph the things that other people overlook. If you let the thoughts in, they can become a major barrier to taking the images you want – are people looking? what will they think of me?  The answer is, of course, very little – they’ll be too busy being…

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Lost & Found | a photoset


A scattered collection of iPhone photographs that have been sitting in my library, with nowhere to go. All they really have in common is their own incongruousness, and maybe their brightness in colour. They feel like bits of dream that escaped while we slept – nonsensical, out of place, but oddly familiar all the same. For all I enjoy the staging and styling of photoshoots, I have to admit: the ones that I find in…

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protecting christmas morning + a NEXT giveaway


I have come to a reluctant acceptance that it is impossible to plan a quiet Christmas Day . No matter how much I swear to be steadfast & stubborn, defending our wish to stay home alone December 25th, our plans inevitably tangle up like forgotten fairy lights. So many other people’s hopes and plans are wrapped up in our own, and when push comes to shove I always cave and find a way to compromise. That’s what Christmas is about,…

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