Today on the Self Taught Artist podcast I share three apps I cannot live without! These have helped me so much as an artist to share my work and do a better job of marketing my work. If you want to share your work on social media or sell your work online, you have to get good photos of your work. It’s a necessity. If you want to build up an audience for your artwork – how else will you get people’s interest if you don’t have good photos? As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to take good photos of my work, how to edit them, and how to share on social media to achieve my goals for my art.
These three apps on my phone get used all the time to help me share my artwork with the world. Listen today and I’ll tell you all about them and how I use them.
3 APPS – LINKS TO APPLE AND ANDROID APP STORES:
Hello, welcome back to the Self Taught Artist Podcast. I’m Lauren, Kristine, your host. I’m back after two busy busy weeks, I just haven’t had enough time to paint or podcast or really do a lot of the things I have wanted to do. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any progress happening behind the scenes. Last week, I sold a big 18×20 painting. Well, big for me, at least. So I got that completed, and I shipped it out to Pennsylvania, I was really excited because this meant I got to add a new state to my map. For new listeners just tuning in, I have a map in my studio. And every time I sell a piece of art to a new state, I color in that state. So my goal is to one day have all the states colored in and eventually be shipping International too! Now I really just have my fingers crossed that this painting is delivered safely. You all know how tough it is shipping art these days. I think it is truly my least favorite part of selling my art. Shipping is just a real pain. Let’s get into today’s episode though.
Today, I want to share three apps that I cannot live without. These have helped me so much as an artist to share my work, and to do a better job marketing my work as well. If you want to share your work on social media, or sell your artwork online, well, you have to get good photos of your work. That’s a prerequisite. It’s absolutely a necessity. If you want to build up an audience for your artwork, how else are you going to pique people’s interest if you don’t have good, bright, vivid photos. As a result, I have spent a ton of time figuring out how to take good photos of my art, how to edit them, and how to share them on social media to achieve my goals for my artwork.
Without further ado, the first app that I use is called Touch Retouch. This app is really helpful to fix that one little thing that’s messing up your photo. The app uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to smart remove objects from photos. So you can fix those little annoyances and keep the focus on your art instead of things like busy backgrounds. For example, I live in the city. When I go outside to take photos of my art in natural light, sometimes I just can’t avoid getting signs of the city in the photo. Sometimes there’s a parked car in the parking lot in the background. Or I’ll get the line of the parking lot in the shot. Like I’ll try and do it just on plain concrete. But that painted line just is running down the middle of the photo. Or perhaps a power line is in the background of the frame. Those little things, while they are little, they just annoy me a lot. And I think it’s because I’m an artist. I want these photos of my art to look really good and when I share art on social media, or on my website, I really want my art to speak for itself and want my paintings to be the real focal point, not the power line in the background. This Touch Retouch app is brilliant for fixing these little issues and simplifying backgrounds. I just love it and the perfectionist in me loves it even more.
Now this is a paid app so I did pay a few dollars for it. On my Apple App Store it is listed as $1.99 and I think it’s definitely worth $2. It’s just worth paying for it because it’s so good at what it does and it solved a lot of headaches for me and just I no longer have That issue where I’m looking at a photo and saying “This would be great, but oh no! There was a piece of dust that fell on my painting.” Well, now I can fix it. I’ll also use touch retouch on personal photos to remove little blemishes from my face occasionally. So that’s a bonus use for this app.
Touch Retouch has a really easy interface, and I find it to be so much easier than Photoshop. Photoshop for me is like getting into a Boeing 737 jet plane, there are so many options and tools and buttons, I find it pretty overwhelming. And I’m definitely no pro at Photoshop. So it just takes me a while and Googling tutorials and a lot of effort to fix up my art and photos in Photoshop. On the other hand, Touch Retouch is nothing like that at all. It’s really easy and intuitive. And I think there are only four tools to use in the app total. That doesn’t sound like a lot. But it is really good at those four tools. And it makes it really user friendly and easy to learn. They have really advanced AI that powers the app, and it makes their smart erase feature really, really good with very limited effort from me the user.
Again, I use this on my Apple iPhone, but I checked and it is available in the Android Play Store for $2 as well under the same name, Touch Retouch, and do note that is all one word. There’s no space in between those words, Touch Retouch.
The second app I want to highlight is called Instfit.When I make art, sometimes it comes out in funny sizes, I will make a 12 by 24 canvas, for example, or an 11 by 15. And those pieces of art do not neatly fit into the little squares on Instagram. Yes, now that you can put
ratio photos on Instagram that gives you a little more flexibility, as it no longer has to be a perfect square. But just getting these weird sizes of art to fit on my phone screen in general, is a challenge. And Instfit is what I use as my perfect solution for this. It allows me to resize my art to fit onto an Instagram square or eight by 10 frame. I get to choose what color the background is. Usually I choose white to keep things elegant and simple on my feed. Again, I want all eyes to be on my art, not on any busy backgrounds. However, I do like some of the inst fit background options that take colors from your photo and blur them on the sides of the canvas, so it’s not distracting from your image.
This is another example of a really simple app that has only one job to do. But it does its one job really well. I use Instfit because it’s free. But there are a lot of other options out there that do the same thing. Insfit is ad supported on the free tier. So anytime I want to export an image, I just watch a five second ad. I don’t use this app every day, so it doesn’t bother me. But if you want you can upgrade to the paid option if you’re a frequent user and the ads bother you.
My pro tip is to edit your photo before you put it into Instfit. Get your photo edited exactly as you want it. And then make the background your very last step. This simplifies the process, and that way you’re not exporting a ton of photos one after the other after you adjust little things in the photo like white balance or exposure. Making the background the last thing you do is the most efficient way to do it.
Now Instfit it is an iPhone only app from what I can tell. But if you’re on Android, I suggest you search around the app store because there are a lot of alternatives. I did a quick search in the Google Play Store and It looks like there are quite a few options for Android users. I don’t want to personally recommend one on the show, because I can’t actually test it before I recommend it because I don’t have an Android phone. So all of you Android users out there, let me know if you find a good alternative to Instfit that will size your photos for Instagram. And if you let me know, I will add it to the show notes later on for other Android users who might be curious. I know we have a lot of listeners around the world in all different countries. So I imagine a lot of you have Android phones, but you will be able to find an app that does something very similar to this.
The third app I could not live without is called Plann. The Plann app is my one stop shop for planning out my Instagram feed. I want to challenge you to think of your social media as your own online art gallery. When you post something, you want it to look reasonably good next to all of the other art you’ve posted recently. Plann lets you look at your current feed, and it also allows you to bring in photos for posts that you want to plan for the future. You can see how all of these look together: your current posts and your future posts all on your Instagram grid.
I use this app to determine what order I share posts in and, generally, just to make sure that my Instagram looks aesthetically pleasing. If I’m not paying attention, I may just share five photos of my adorable puppy over and over and over again. And I don’t want that to be what my feed looks like. Yes, I do share snippets from my life occasionally, like my puppy. But I don’t want that to be every post. I want it to be interspersed amongst the art and look okay. I love how you can use Plann to look at everything visually, and make sure that your feed is going to look how you want it to look once you post your next piece of art, or your next six pieces of art. You can take a look and really just zoom out and get the big picture. That’s what I love to use it for.
I also really enjoy how you can plan your captions on Plann. And then you can just hit a button when you’re ready to share the post to Instagram. It imports it over and it makes it super easy. I’m a really big fan of batch processing things like social media posts. And that just means sit down and do a lot of them all at the same time. When you’re in the mood, don’t just write one Instagram post caption for the day, write out all of your captions for your posts for that entire week. It makes it really easy to multitask during the week, and still put out really great consistent content on your Instagram. It also allows you to get your posts done faster when you’re just in that mindset instead of switching back and forth.
Another feature in Plann that I use a lot is their hashtag feature. They let you save sets of hashtags in the app for easy reference. And then you can just copy them with one click. I used to save lists of all my favorite hashtags in an email. And then I had to go open my email tab, find the draft email that I had them saved in and then copy them and paste them and get them onto my phone. It was a real headache. But the Plann hashtag tool makes it so much easier. I have different groupings for things that I share on a regular basis. So for example, I have a different hashtags set I use on floral paintings than I do on landscape paintings. And I save them separately on Plann so that I can copy just the ones that I need for the relevant posts. This helps me to keep them separate but easily accessible. And I just love this feature.
Plann is available on both iPhone and the Android app stores. It’s what I call a freemium app. So that means you can use the free version, but you’re going to have limited features. Never fear, because I actually still use the free plan. I might upgrade at some point, because the features that I have gotten to use on Plann have been really helpful helpful for me over the past few months. And at some point, I’d like to see what else the app can do, because I know there are a few pro features, as they call it, where you can get extra analytics and extra reply features. So that sounds great, but I can’t speak to those yet because I haven’t paid for it. You can really do so much with the free tier. Everything that I just described is what I do on the free tier.
I highly recommend Plann for anyone who does a lot of Instagram posting, or anyone who has goals of being more consistent when they’re posting on Instagram or posting more often on social media. An app like Plann makes it really simple to plan ahead, create a lot of social media content at one time that you can then dole out slowly over time.
Do you have any favorite apps for photographing your artwork or sharing your artwork on social media? I would love to hear about them if so. Do send me a note on Instagram at LaurenKristineArt, or you can find me on my website at www.LaurenKristineArt.com or via email at Lauren Kristine email@example.com.
I wanted to keep this episode quick and punchy with these three apps that I can’t live without. Again, they are TouchRetouch, Instfit and Plann. I will put all of these as links in the show notes with this episode. I am sending out creative vibes to each and every one of you. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening. If you have a minute, would you please go to the Apple Podcasts app right now and leave me a five star review It makes such a difference. Until next time, my friends! Happy Creating!
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