Hello and welcome to the final lesson of the week. Today I'm going to talk to you about the importance of planning your photography and Instagram stream to really help you build a beautiful gallery and grow your following. 

Last year I really realised how valuable it is to plan your photography for social media. It is brilliant for lots of reasons but my favourite one of all is that it stops social media from taking over my life and causing me stress! 

At the beginning of each week I plan what images I need to get my through a week. This means that if I don’t shoot anything else that week (and I nearly always do) I can definitely get to the of the week having posted consistent, relevant images on Instagram. 

As you may know I have four young children (they are almost 3,5,7 and 9) and I juggle a lot! So, as well as planning on a Monday I also plan on a Thursday or Friday to make sure I can get to the following Monday or Tuesday. 

Planning not only helps me create great images that are connected to what I am doing that week or what I want to promote but it also helps me to work with the light. This is especially helpful in the Winter when daylight hours are pretty limited. 

You may decide that to start with you want to challenge yourself to post one lovely image on Instagram a day. So, you will know that I on a Monday you will need to create 7 images. It might not work for you to shoot these on a Monday but there will be some point in the week that will work for you. 

Once you know how many images you need, you can then think about the images. Do you want to promote anything? Is there a hashtag competition you want to join in? Have you made anything you want to share with people? Have you written a blog post you want people to read? Make notes when you think of things. And have a look at what other people are sharing too to give you some ideas. 

Remember that when you share an image you can also change the link in your bio to take people directly to where you want them to go. I change mine at least 3 times a week and sometimes every day. I might want people to read a blog post or join a particular course. I don’t want them to get side-tracked with anything else on my site, I want them to go directly to whatever it is I am talking about. 

Planning also helps you to gather any props you might need too. I love thinking about images I want to create while I’m out for a run or waiting for the bus! A make notes or draw a little sketch and I can then return to this when I’m making my lists of images. 

Planning really will help you to start to build a gallery that looks good. A galley where images flow from one to another and doesn’t look thrown together. 

But remember to also give yourself to be spontaneous with your photography for social media too. My Instagram gallery regularly features images that have just been taken. But I am very strict about what I include on my Instagram gallery. 

The image has to go with the image before, it has to be taken in natural light and the colours have to be right. Yes, this might sound like I am a bit mad but paying attention to these things has really helped me to grow my following. 

If I have images that don’t fit with my Instagram gallery then I think about where else I can share the image. Perhaps on Twitter or my Facebook Page. Or, if all else fails I just send it to my Dad! 

I personally like to share different images in different places and try my best not to cross post my images. However, I do post my morning flower image on Instagram and Twitter. And I use IFTTT to share my Instagram images automatically to a Pinterest board. 

On Facebook I share some of the same images I share on Instagram but at different times of day, so that people aren’t seeing the same image everywhere when they look at their phones. That gets rather dull doesn’t it? So, I also share images that I don’t share on Instagram. I really enjoy that because it gives me a platform to share different things. And on Facebook I schedule images once a week, so I don’t have to think about it too much. I do add extra images when I have the time but knowing that 1-2 images are just set to be published by Facebook is brilliant. 

The Facebook algorithm prefers you do to everything inside of Facebook itself, so the scheduling app really helps with this. But for other social media you can use Buffer, Hootsuite and Latergramme to help you to manage your social media. 

This is a great resource all about image sizes for different social media platforms. And Pablo helps you to create different size images. 

If you want to learn about which of your images have been most popular or when your audience is online you can use Iconosquare. But be careful not to look at this too often as all the stats can be stressful rather than helpful. 

Above all….enjoy! Be real, be authentic and build a gallery that makes you happy.

I really hope that you have been inspired this week. Please keep sharing your images with #makelightbeautify and asking plenty of questions in the Facebook Group. I will be there to answer them for another week. 

Happy Weekend! xo