Instagram Tips and Tricks

For those of you who know me, it is no secret that I have a slight obsession with Instagram. I prefer to think of it as dedication, but semantics aside it is hands down my favorite social media site! EVER. I could spend countless hours browsing through pictures and finding new accounts to follow, and I take my posts very seriously. (Well, “serious” in that I’m the person you see standing on a chair to get the perfect shot)

If you’re as much of an Instagram enthusiast as I am, or if you’re just looking for some ideas on how to get started, I thought it would be fun to share some of my tips and tricks with you! Hopefully these tips help you to not only get the most Instagram worthy photo possible, but also to engage with and reach as many users as possible!

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  1. Use a camera outside of Instagram; Instead of the camera in the Instagram app, I use my iPhone camera or my DSLR when taking pictures. I feel like I have more freedom outside of the app, because you can take more than one picture and you can shoot out of square mode and crop later.
  2. Give yourself options; I sort of mentioned this above, but I like to have options. I would totally suggest taking several shots of the same subject matter, maybe from different angles, so that you have a variety from which to choose and or edit later.
  3. Lighting; Lighting is so important! If at all possible, natural lighting is always preferable, but artificial lighting can work just as well.
  4. EDIT; If you’re going to edit your image before posting it, I would suggest doing so outside of the Instagram app first, and possibly using several steps/apps. 2 of my favorite apps are A Color Story and Afterlight. Usually, I’m just adjusting the brightness and adding a bit of a filter so that all my images end up looking similar. I upload the image to A Color Story first, and then finish fine tuning it in Afterlight. Of course, you could choose to just edit within the Instagram app, it actually has a pretty wide range of filters and tools, or  you could choose not to edit at all! #nofilter
  5. Use props; Don’t be afraid to stage your photos and add some flair! Sure a lipstick is good subject matter, but the frame will look a lot more balanced, and interesting, if there are other things in the shot. Books, magazines, flowers, and jewelry all make great props for photos!
  6. Hashtags; Hashtags, when used correctly, are powerful things. They can help bring traffic to your images and your account, and they can help you to find like images. Be sure to use hashtags relevant to your post, and be specific. Don’t hashtag only generic words (#me #dog #food), make sure your hashtags pack a punch (#blogger #germanshepherd #lunchdate)! Also, be sure to educate yourself on universal and most used hashtags such as #ootd for “Outfit of the Day” and #wiw for “What I Wore”…It’s like it’s own language!
  7. Theme; Now, I’ll admit that even I struggle with this. Most instagrams, at least the really aesthetically pleasing ones, follow some sort of theme. Whether it’s that they all have a white border, or are all similar in color, whites and grays for instance, a theme is something consistent that makes your gallery look cohesive. I’ve just now started to implement a new theme so my account looks a bit more pleasing to the eye…it takes time, so think of a theme and don’t rush it! Also, never feel stuck with a theme. I’ve seen some of my favorite accounts fluidly switch from one to another. Your Instagram is an extension of you and should therefore evolve with your changing taste and preferences.
  8. Subject Matter; This is sort of a personal preference that can be tied to your theme. Some Instagrams focus solely on beauty products or dogs, therefore that’s their main subject matter. For me, when I think about subject matter I think about rotation. I don’t want to oversaturate my gallery with just selfies or just pictures of my food, so I like to switch it up! I generally rotate between outfits, flat lies, selfies, and miscellaneous subject matter I just like! Post pictures of things you love and find out what sort of rotation works for you! You could even go as far as to post certain types of photos on certain days!
  9. Timing; As far as likes and comments are concerned, the time you choose to post your photos is crucial. There are definitely better and worse times to reach a large audience. I personally find that 11:00-11:30AM and 8:00-8:30 PM are prime posting times. It makes sense that not as many people are going to be checking their phones and social media accounts at 2PM when they are working, compared to 8PM when they are off and starting to unwind. Another tip, perhaps an obvious one, is to just follow the trend of those you follow. If you notice a lot of activity at 9AM or 6:15PM, join the party and post a picture!
  10. Engage; Instagram is a social media sitedon’t be afraid to like, comment, and engage with other users! I think leaving a comment to tell someone you like their top, or that you hope they enjoyed their birthday is a small gesture that goes a long way! It’s also a great way to connect with other like minded content producers. I can’t even count the number of bloggers I have discovered through Instagram, and now their blogs are daily must reads for me!

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I hope you found these tips and tricks helpful! Did I forget anything!? I’d love to hear what tips and tricks do you have for me! Happy gramming!

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