An Instagram for Everyone
Are you on the fence about Instagram? Think it’s just selfies, cleavage and cats? Sure Instagram is packed full of that kind of stuff, but it’s also full of amazing imagery, creative executions and photos that inspire and make us better photographers. It’s also good for business if you’re a photographer.
This article will help you understand why, as a photographer at any level, you should really consider being on Instagram, and gives you all the tools you’ll need to get started.
The beauty with Instagram is you can make it whatever you want it to be. If you’re into Golden Doodles you can enjoy 1.2 million posts of them from equally-minded Golden Doodle fanatics. Perhaps you’re into tulips, well so are 1.5 million others on Instagram. You name it, there are back alleys in the city of Instagram for nearly anything you can imagine – and you only have to walk down the ones that interest you.
What Instagram can do for you as a Photographer:
It’s a free online portfolio
Post only your best work and in any moment you can pull out your phone and show off your portfolio to people. And with the right strategy it’ll get you new paying customers who may not have found you otherwise.
It encourages you to shoot, edit and engage your photographic passion
Stay on track to complete your personal pet projects. Go through your hard drives; edit and share some of those pictures that haven’t seen the light of day since you stuck them in your proverbial shoe box. By doing so you’ll stoke the photographic fire that’s in you and soar to new levels.
It makes you relevant in the inescapable world of social media
You might not be all about Instagram and social media but your clients are. If they like you and their friends like you, then you’ll like your fully booked schedule. Use Instagram to drive traffic to your website or Facebook page.
It gives you a means of comparison
If you’re just getting into photography as a hobby, there’s a ton to learn from others on Instagram. Let’s say you’re starting to get into long exposure night photography. You can search Instagram for long exposure and see millions of others’ work, all at varying levels. Not only will you learn, you’ll grow and enjoy getting feedback from other like-minded individuals.
An example of three different types of photographers on Instagram
Instagram DOs and DON’Ts
DO fill out your Instagram profile and put your website URL on it
The profile is your 10 second pitch, make it good. This is also where you’ll place your URL. Since you cannot have a clickable URL in your captions and comments, this is the only way people can easily click a link within Instagram.
Let’s say you just put together a blog post from your recent trip to Easter Island. Put that URL in your profile and post one of your best shots. In your caption say “LINK IN BIO”. You will get clicks!
DO post somewhat frequently
Posting often keeps your creative energy flowing and keeps you on-track to reach your photographic goals.
DON’T post tons of pictures at the same time
Or three versions of the same scene. Edit yourself, post your best and leave the rest. At maximum, post one or two a day; at minimum once or twice a week.
If you’re just starting your Instagram go ahead and put a pile of images together. Then curate them into meaningful posts spread over a period of time. Put them all up at once and you’ll lose followers faster than you got them.
DO post verticals and squares; try to avoid landscape orientation
Verticals use the maximum amount of screen space available and trend higher than horizontal landscape orientations. Users are no longer forced to use the square-only format that put Instagram on the map, but you still can’t go wrong if your picture works as a square too.
DO use the filters sparingly
Instagram has a lot of different filters and once in a while a particular image looks great with a Lark or Mayfair filter, but in most cases what you’ll be posting will have been edited with your signature look on your computer.
DON’T overuse hash tags
Hast tags are a critical component of your Instagram success. They are how people who don’t follow you find your images, and hopefully like them enough to start following you. Spend a few minutes before a post and look for active and relevant hash tags. Beware of using too many though, according to Rival IQ, seven hash tags will generate the most engagement.
DO engage with other Instagramers
Follow, like and comment – others might just do the same back.
DO Follow @mymikescamera on Instagram once you’ve signed up
You can only post using the Instagram app from your smartphone or tablet
Instagram.com does not support uploading from a Mac or PC. See the tips below to get your images onto Instagram from your computer.
Use the below formula to retain maximum image quality
Size your images at 2048 pixels for the widest proportion and save as an uncompressed .PNG. Instagram will compress the image, so starting with a nice uncompressed .PNG file that’s around 8MB is the way to go for sure.
Remember that links in your profile are clickable, links on posts are not
Many aspect ratios are supported, but you’ll still have to crop in some instances
For example 2:3 verticals (native size for DSLRs) have to be cropped to 4:5 as the widest available ratio.
Simple Workflow to Post Images From Your Computer (This is how I do it, but there’s a ton of methods)
- If you don’t already have one, set yourself up with a Google Drive, it’s free
- Install the Google Drive App on your phone along with Google Docs App
- Then simply drag your Instagram-ready photos into your Google Drive from your PC
- Start a Google Doc for your captions and hashtags, it’s so much easier to write them from your PC than on your phone
- From your phone access your drive and download the images – you’ll also see your doc with your captions and hashtags, you can copy and paste them right into Instagram
On Android the process is super intuitive and self-explanatory, which makes sense since Android is Google’s. However, on the iPhone it’s a little less straight forward. Case in point, you actually click on “Send a Copy” to save the image to your phone.
By Todd Tieman @toddt303 on Instagram