This is a guide to help anyone with Instagram. I promise, each and every tip is important.
1) You get what you give!
Paying attention to other artists and connecting with them will gradually get you noticed as well. If you participate in the activities of the community, you will be invited in more often. Just sending a private message in Instagram is a way to start the conversations, which can lead to a collaboration or something great. Expecting people to just like and comment on your photos sounds as shallow as it is – even the most skilled artists and celebrities still find a way to connect authentically with their audiences. If you work hard and reach out, Instagram is a great platform to network and learn.
2) Stick to the style!
A consistent feed is much more interesting and appealing, than one that veers in every direction. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure what kind of feed I wanted to have, which caused some headache. My advice is not to think too much about it, but to do and try. After every photo you can ask yourself: “Do I feel comfortable with this photo? Does this style represent me? What could I do better?”
Overdoing effects is very easy, so having a test account might help you to compare the latest edit to your previously published photos. As this is a popular question, I will write a detailed article about photo editing in the future. A consistent and good looking feed can also be your quick portfolio item, as it is easy to exhibit and contains quality content.
3) Look for idols, make new friends!
Following the top artists of your own style and niche is one way to improve your visual skills, and to keep up with the latest trends. Try to find a way to connect with super talented artists, because you can only stand to benefit from consistently being inundated with supreme content, not to mention any advice that they extend to you. Participating in instawalks and instameets is also a great opportunity to ask questions and share experiences. If you don’t know of any instawalks or meetings in your area, do it yourself! It’s one of the biggest efforts one could make for the creative community, and really worth it. Recently I organized one meeting, and just sent the invitations as private messages in Instagram. We were able to gather over 30 people together, and for almost everyone, it was the first time.
4) Post vertical or square pictures and videos.
Vertical and square cropping results in a post that covers a larger are of the screen compared to horizontal content. Even though you would photograph and shoot videos horizontally, keep in mind that the audience is using a device with a vertical screen. Crop your media to fit the use context!
5) Your feed is your brand, so take care of it.
Maybe most of your audience don’t browse your feed, but only react to the latest post. However, when a prospective collaborator or client finds your channel, they will definitely check your feed. Why? Your feed is your history, and at the same time it’s also a promise for the future. The quality of your past content is a signal for the viewer, signal of what kind of channel and brand you have. Tip: I use an app called UNUM to design my feed.
6) Don’t overdo it with the filters or editing.
One could almost say that less is more. My recommendation for editing is to only use somewhat natural filters that color grade the picture. See my favourite filters on VSCO in this post.
7) Find your best hashtags.
Only use relevant hashtags. Moreover, keep the amount of hashtags in caption as small as possible, like 1-3. Add the rest in a comment straight after posting. Find hashtags that people use but that are not flooded. For a nature photograph it does not make any sense to add #nature, because it has almost 400 million posts. This means that your post will definitely disappear in the mass. Example: for a cabin photo, I use these hashtags:
#stayandwander #cabinsdaily #thecabinchronicles
#tinyhouses #tinyhousemovement #cabinfolk
#cabinstones #cabinporn #cabinvibes #cabinfever
8) Tag relevant users in your posts.
The more you tag other channels, the more you will appear there. This is also a great way to become recognised by the feature pages, that may feature your work with credits.
In the end, it all comes down to the enjoyment. As Instagram is all about storytelling, sharing and interacting with the community, it still should be fun! As your skills and styles adjust through your experiences, you will begin to thrive as a result of strong content and adequate networking.
10) Great 3rd party applications to help you:
VSCO for editing photos, VSCO X for grading videos, Unfold for compiling great stories, UNUM for designing feed, Repost for reposting (in case you manage a feature page), Snapseed for some more editing and last but not the least: Notes (or other notebook app) to maintain your hashtags in one place.