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Chris K Leslie

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Maintaining your social presence is key during times like these.  More important now than ever, is to make sure to keep your brand positive, though…

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15 Handy Instagram Tools.

Use these websites to find great-fit images that look fresh, creative, and inspiring (instead of distractingly fake like many stock photos). Try cropping or rotating images to make them your own.

Mix in a few of these photos that make sense in your niche so you can ramp up your posting schedule to once per day. Just be sure to write strong, original captions too.

1. Pexels 

Pexels provides high-quality, free stock photos that you can use without attribution in any personal or business project.

Results are not limited to photos posted to their site — their search automatically pulls in other popular photos from Pixabay and Flickr that are available for free use. They even have a section for hi-res video.

2. Unsplash

Beautiful, free photos gifted by the world’s most generous community of photographers. You’ll be hard pressed to find more appealing, no-strings-attached photos for general use.

It’s tough to find a photo focusing on many specific, niche subjects. But, that’s where a paid service like Depositphotos or Shutterstock can fill in the gaps. And you’ll often find that you can make seemingly irrelevant image fit when you add a bit of text to them!

3. Burst

Burst is a free stock photo platform powered by Shopify. Pick from thousands of royalty-free images shot by photographers around the world and organized by category. You do not need to be a Shopify customer to use Burst.

Create Dead-Simple Designs (Even If You’re Not a Tech-Savvy Designer)

Remember: You’re not limited to posting only photos on Instagram.

Huge Instagram accounts like ShopifyStarbucks, and Netflix regularly mix in posts featuring graphic designs or screenshots to help their feed stand out to new subscribers. (And with an almost 28 million combined followers, they’re not bad role models to learn from.)

While photographs are one of the most-common Instagram post types, sometimes you need to add a dash of variety to keep your followers interested and engaged! Maybe work in a special offer, a design featuring a happy customer’s review, or a quick tip. Whatever the case, make sure that even these images look polished and professional.

Whether you’re designing a new blog image or Instagram quote, you need graphics that make your brand look polished and put-together.

It’s easier than you think to avoid that thrown together, amateur look that many stores fall into by default.

The secret? An image creation tool that’s so simple you’ll actually want to use without throwing your laptop out a window.

Fortunately, options for graphic design tools that save you time and provide helpful templates have expanded in the past few years.

4. Easil

Love slick-looking designs, but still want the simplicity of a template? This tool makes drag-and-drop design easy.

Easil features modern, edgy templates for Social Media Templates, GIFs, infographics and more. [Web]

5. Canva

A friendly drag-and-drop editor with tons of presets and templates to make your designs quick and easy. It’s free to start, but you’ll have to pay for premium images and most custom templates or to upload your own fonts. [Web, iOS, and Android]

6. Pablo

A quick-and-dirty tool for creating very simple text overlays on photos. It doesn’t boast advanced features, but it’s great for the simplest compositions. [Web]

7. Spark

Create beautiful graphics and videos in minutes. Spark sports tons of templates that require little-to-no prior design knowledge. However, it’s not highly flexible if you’re looking for a custom design. [Web, iOS, and Android]

8. Snappa

A great alternative to Canva, Snappa provides tons of free images, icons, and presets baked-in — and it’s easy to use. [Web]

9. Photoshop

The granddaddy of photo editing tools. Photoshop is truly a beast of an application and it can produce great results — but only if you have the time-intensive training to master the tool and the extra budget. [Windows and OSX]

10. Design Pickle

Want to outsource design entirely? Pay a flat monthly rate for unlimited designs and revisions from a professional graphic designer.

This service could become a lifesaver if you have heavy design needs but aren’t ready to hire a full-time designer.

11. IconFinder

A huge collection of free and paid icons to use in your next design project. Just hit the “free” filter button when searching results. [Web]

Does Your Instagram Audience Love Quote Images Too? Create More in a Couple of Taps.

Instagram powerhouses like Foundr Magazine have grown awe-inspiring audiences of well over 1 million followers by mastering the art of the Instagram quote image. With the right tools, you can follow their example.

12. Typorama

iOS users can grab this app for easy quote image creation. Input your text, then adjust the styling, filters, overlays, and cropping in just a few taps. [iOS Only]

13. Over

Choose from thousands of templates to add great looking captions to photos. Over makes it a snap to adjust the filters and masking to fine-tune your image’s final look. [iOS Only]

14. Wordswag

Add eye-catching text to any photo in seconds with this paid app for iOS or Android. It also includes dozens of quotes built-in in case you’re running low on ideas. [iOS and Android]

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