How to Promote Photography on Instagram

George Finlayson
March 31, 2017

Photography lets you keep precious moments, incredible experiences, and wonderful sights frozen within the four corners of a picture. It feels good to capture these things with your camera, but it’s also fulfilling to be able to share them with others.

Thanks to social media sites, you can now reach millions of people around the world by hitting a button on your mobile device. You can show them things you’ve seen and you can enable them to share the experience through interaction. It’s a constantly evolving platform with a massive user base, so it makes sense that big businesses are getting in on the idea too. Getting images online not only shows friends what you’ve been up to; it can also help you find clients or people who may be interested in buying your pictures.

Creating an Instagram account

One of the best online social platforms to share your work is Instagram. Although Facebook bought Instagram in 2012, the two platforms still exist separately and are vastly different. Instagram remains an image-driven app that puts photography first, though certain functionalities have been added to make sharing on Facebook easier.

It’s now possible to connect an Instagram account to the Facebook page where you’re an admin. This is really useful especially if you already have an established Facebook page. You can invite your Facebook fans to follow you on Instagram as well. However, make sure that there is variation between your Facebook posts and Instagram posts. Otherwise, what would be the point of following you on both platforms if you’re just sharing exactly the same content? Shake it up with something different and try to make a social branding experience that extends beyond copy-and-paste.

Uploading photos on Instagram

Instagram is now a bit more flexible; you no longer have to worry about cropping your photo to fit a square format. The social network has increased the resolution of uploaded images to 1080px x 1080px in order to keep up with Retina displays and high resolution mobile panels. The app lets you keep the original resolution of your image as long as its width is between 320px and 1080px. If the image is smaller, it will be enlarged to a width of 320px.

If it’s larger, it will be reduced to a width of 1080px. Additionally, the aspect ratio should be between 1:91:1 and 4:5. If your photo’s aspect ratio isn’t supported, the photo will be cropped to fit a supported ratio. If you’re desperate to upload a landscape shot, be prepared for borders around your image.

Think about your content

Instagram is a platform that has progressed far beyond photography. If you want to get noticed, there are now numerous ways to do so. None of these will happen overnight and require a constant, committed social strategy. Since we’re talking about photography, we’ll avoid the gym selfies and modelling pictures. Most photographers on Instagram get noticed specifically for the quality of their images. Consider learning Photoshop and Lightroom to perfect your photographs. Since Instagram now allows gallery uploads, it’s possible to transfer images to your computer for post-processing.

Posting and hash tagging on Instagram

Just like on Facebook, the best time to post photos on Instagram is up for debate. You can simply base your posting schedule on the normal routine of people ‘ in the morning right after they wake up or evening before they go to bed. Of course, you can still upload photos in between these time periods as users tend to check their Instagram timeline from time to time. Since Instagram is a worldwide application, you won’t be able to time uploads for every time zone. A decision must me made on which market to target specifically and base your content around them specifically.

Don’t forget to include hashtags (#) on your posts, too. If your photos are properly tagged, users will easily find your pictures once they search for a related image. However, you don’t want to use hashtags that have been used for over 500,000 posts. You’ll be competing with that large amount of photos, so the chances of your image staying on top of the postings will definitely be lower. Try using specific keywords as hashtags to narrow down the competition. Much like content SEO, competing for big hashtags is a no-no until you have a large enough fan-base to warrant it. Catch the smaller groups with targeted keywords… and be creative! When you type in a hashtag, it’s possible to see how many other posts contain it, so use that information to your advantage for a proper keyword strategy.

If you think that Instagram is not for you, you might want to try other online platforms like Facebook and 500px. These sites are equally great tools for promoting your digital photography.

About the Author

George Finlayson

George Finlayson is an educator and professional writer with a BA in Creative Writing. He was born in London, England but currently resides in Shanghai, China. He has recently developed a great interest in photography and has begun a new venture into writing about photography and videography for beginners, and related topics. With so many technical details in digital photography, George likes to keep things simple so that everyone can understand and feel a part of the ever-growing global photography community.

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