Getting Started on Instagram
Yes yes, we’ve been talking a lot about Instagram lately, and we’ve also recently launched our Go-To Guide for Instagram eBook. But we’re not stopping there! Very soon we’ll be launching the Instagram Hidden Gems eBook, which is filled to the brim with awesome tips for boosting your likes and followers, so watch this space. But in the meantime we want to give those of you who perhaps haven’t taken the leap as yet into the fun (and frankly, addictive) world of Instagram a little encouraging shove to take the leap.
If you are looking for an in-depth guide covering getting started, shooting, and other great tips & tricks, why not download our Instagram Uncovered guide?
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Let’s dive in together. Maybe you’ve downloaded the Instagram app, but haven’t set up your account… or you’ve set it up but can’t quite seem to make Instagram part of your iPhoneography process? Don’t fret, we’ve got a few easy tips to help you make Instagram work for you. Starting on Instagram may seem a little bit daunting, and the first few hours may feel unrewarding. Approximately 55% of people who downloaded the app have uploaded less than 3 photos! A clear sign that these users didn’t move beyond the initial interest that made them decide to download the app. The remaining 45% (which still represents over 5 million users!) have jumped onboard quite readily and they’re reaping the rewards of their time investment in the Instagram social network. So how can we bridge the gap? And what exactly are people getting out of Instagram? More importantly…why should you get involved?
There are essentially 3 main reasons Instagram is such a success: first, it’s fun. Next it provides great opportunities to learn, and finally it’s a huge source of inspiration for photography!
Let’s start with the fun stuff. If you love photography (which is why we’re all here, right?) Instagram is fun because it gives you a pocket-sized photographic gallery at your fingertips, whenever, wherever. That’s not to say every photograph on Instagram is amazing…there plenty of “bad” photos on IG, but once you become part of the culture you’ll be able to quickly weed out the photos that are of no importance to you. The other reason Instagram is big fun is the social interaction. The community feel of Instagram gives you a great opportunity to interact with other motivated photographers, many of whom are there to share and connect with other photographers. It’s the human connection that makes Instagram a unique and FUN sharing opportunity.
This brings us to the second point: Instagram is a nice place to learn, especially if you are into iPhoneography. The community on the whole is very friendly…and many photographers are willing to help, they are there to learn, just as you are. If you’re drawn to a photo but are not sure how it was taken or edited…just ask in the comments and more often than not you’ll get a response! This sense of community creates a great learning environment for photographers of all levels
As a source of inspiration, Instagram is a phenomenal tool. We can think of 3 ways of getting inspired through the app, but you may find endless ways of getting inspired so this is by no means an exhaustive list. Of course, first and foremost you’re likely to be inspired as you review the photos from the popular tab. Next, start following inspirational Instagramers as you browse the app…here’s a few names to get you started Cole Rise (@colerise), Jack Hollignsworth (@jackhollingsworth) or Jussi Ulkuniemi (@skwii), but there are literally thousands of others. Finally, start reviewing photos via meaningful hashtag searches. What is inspiring will depend on what is meaningful to you, but #texture, #design, #photooftheday, #bw (for black and white photos), #architecture, and #hdr will surely get the inspiration going!
So you might be wondering who is on Instagram, who will you be interacting with? There are a few photo pros, but the vast majority of Instagramers are amateurs and photo enthusiasts who are keen on improving their photography skills. So if you fall into any of those categories and you are looking to get more out of your hobby, Instagram is the place for you.
Let’s look at how you can be sure to start off on the right foot after signing up for an Instagram account. The first and most important thing to consider is that what you get out of IG – as with most things in life – is directly related to what you give. So to get the most out of Instagram you’ll need to be generous in giving likes and comments to other users. It’s as simple as that. Quite often, new users upload a bunch of photos and just stop there, hoping for their images to be seen as if by magic. Unfortunately the magic just won’t be there if you don’t give it a helping hand…and that means reaching out to other users. As soon as you start liking other photographer’s photos and commenting on their work, they are far more likely to check out your photos too. If they like what they see, the momentum will start to pick up, and you’ll find it much easier to get likes and follows.
That’s not to say that the quality of your photos is not directly related to the number of followers you get, it most certainly is. So to give yourself the best chance of getting followers, always upload your best photos to Instagram!! Post your best photos, one at a time, over the course of several days, and spend some time reaching out. Try to avoid following hundreds of users in the hopes that you’ll get follows back, it does nothing for the quality of your feed and doesn’t speak to the quality of your photos either. Simply get involved in the community, upload your best, and the likes and follows will come naturally!