Handy-Dandy Instagram Guide

Choosing Your Style

Just getting started on the ‘gram?  It’s good to have a theme and style for your feed.  Everything from the subject matter to the filters you use come together as your Instagram brand.  Are you a landscape photographer?  A photo opportunist?  Looking for a new place to share family photos?  Starting an Instagram account in the hopes of making your hamster instafamous?  Whichever it is, pick a theme and stick to it.

Capturing Photos for Instagram

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Shout-out to Bond Polymers for hooking us up with these killer seats!

Instagram photos do not need to be taken within the app using the camera feature.  You can instead pull photos from your phone’s camera roll or even a large DSLR camera!  Keep in mind that it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer.  DSLR cameras can capture some amazing photos but iPhones, or almost any smartphone for that matter, are more than capable of getting the job done!


Here are a few ways to get more out of your smartphone camera:

  • Mess around with the focal point, exposure settings, and make sure there is decent lighting.
  • Shoot vertically or portrait-style !  This is crucial and I’ll explain why in the editing section below.
  • Use the phone’s grid feature and don’t forget about the rule of thirds!
  • In-phone apps can help you change the style of your photography.  For example, Slow Shutter Cam is an app that can capture some awesome effects from movement.

Editing for Instagram

  • You don’t need to use Instagram’s filters…  And if you do tone them down a bit by double tapping the filter you want and lowering the filter’s strength.
  • If the photo was shot on an iPhone, add some sharpening to clean up the photo but don’t overdo it!
  • VSCO (Visual Supply Company) is an absolute must-try for edits and filters.   Snapseed, Mextures, and TouchRetouch are some other awesome photo apps that are capable of some pretty cool edits.
  • As I mentioned above, it’s important to shoot vertically.  If you’re an Instagram purist, then you’re still using a 1 X 1 aspect ratio.  However, by shooting vertically you can then crop the image to a 4 X 5 aspect ratio.  This means you will get the most out of Instagram’s real estate!
  • Avoid Instagram’s tilt-shift feature because it just looks… weird. Try creating some real bokeh instead.  Bokeh refers to the out-of-focus portions of an image.  While certain lenses can create beautiful bokeh without much effort by the photographer, you can still get decent bokeh with your smart phone.  Here’s a link to help capture some bokeh using your smart phone.

Posting to Instagram

  • Captions are the worst. There, I said it.  So get crafty with your captions because it’s easy to fall into a rut. Tell a quick story, ask a question or share a helpful PokemonGO tip.  Mix things up and your followers will thank you for it.
  • Don’t use too many hashtags in your comments.   Hashtags are totally fine but please, for everyone’s sake, don’t use 30 of them (FYI 30 is the actual limit for hashtag use).  If you want to use a bunch of hashtags to get a little bit more exposure here’s a cheat I use.
  • Don’t post video unless you have a very good reason to do it (like being a videographer).  Post a boomerang gif or something instead.  Instagram began as a photo sharing app and, in my opinion, should remain that way.
  • Link your Twitter and FB accounts for easy sharing and even more horsepower behind your Instagram post.
  • Tag friends, family, Instagram accounts relevant to the photo itself (IgersNH, Adventure That Is Life, Dog Lovers Feed, etc.) and even brands.  Some brands are always on the lookout for user-generated content that they can share.  After all- it is all about the lifestyle!

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