To wrap up this conversation, today's topic is adding text.
Right off the bat, I have to say that I am generally against flooding Instagram images with words. The whole point of the Instagramming experience, as I see it, is to let the photos do the talking. Taking photos of book pages, creating graphic designs that feature quotations, or layering big blocks of text over the top of photographs are all well and good, but in my mind, those kinds of shots don't make an interesting Instagram.
On the other hand, there are times when a few carefully chosen and well-placed words can add interest and meaning to a photo. The guiding line, once again, comes down to this:
Get your story straight.
If a bit of text will help your photo convey the story you are trying to tell, then go for it.
But if the words are an unnecessary detail, or worse yet, a distraction from the main point of your story, then by all means, do without.
My favorite way to incorporate text is to capture words, labels and signs as a part of the original image. I find it to be the most natural and subtly impactful way to invite words into my story.
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I use Phonto for my text-editing needs and it gets the job done. Definitely recommend it.
I'm very hesitant to add text to a photo that seems to be working well on its own. If the image has a strong sense of story, I don't want to mess that up, or be heavy-handed by stamping it with a label. I prefer to let my viewers sort out the story themselves.
Yet I've been surprised and delighted to find that a simple layer of text can save an otherwise unsuccessful image. Here are a few attempts at labeling that have worked out well.
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There is a third element of adding words to an Instagram image, albeit an indirect and often overlooked strategy. By posting a caption in the comments under the photo, and by selecting relevant hash tags, the story of the image can be refined and enhanced. Examples:
In my normal life, I am not what you would call a morning person. Ha. But when I'm on a road trip, I'm all about rising with the sun and getting on the road bright and early. Surprisingly, I'm quite energetic about it..almost giddy. This photo was taken one morning just after I leaped on to the interstate, surrounded by beauty and fascinated by the early morning light. Hoping to capture my enthusiasm as well as the specific time and place of this scene, I captioned my photo, "Good morning, Sacramento." Think Robin Williams.
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By now you surely know that I have a passion for Instagrams, and put a lot of thought and effort into the photos that I create. That is true, but I don't consider myself a photographer in the least. While I love the artistry of composing and crafting beautiful images, in my heart, I am a storyteller, and Instagrams make a perfect medium for the telling the little stories of my life.