It’s Wednesday and after a short break last week, I am back to my photography series. In the past few weeks I’ve shared some great tips and tricks on how to photograph your kids, which apps will make your photos shine and so much more. Today we are talking Instagram – the photo sharing app that seems to be all our addictions! When done right, Instagram is the online place to build a community by sharing snippets of your everyday life so we’ve got some great tips on exactly how to do this and how to do it better.
Whether you’re a blogger, a small business owner or just someone who wants to share your photo’s for fun, these tips by super talented photographer and blogger Lucy of Capture by Lucy will be very helpful to you. Lucy’s tips will not only show you how to grow your Instagram following but also how exactly to use Instagram to get the most out of it for you and for your followers.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Lucy once but have also been a long time follower of her happy and incredibly engaging photography. Lucy has a way of putting the ‘extra’ in to ordinary every single time she takes a photo. By her own admission she loves her Instagram space and it shows. Her instagram feed is the story of her everyday life which is bursting with inspiration, colour, cheer and joy. You can’t help but want to be a part of it and I know I can’t wait to see more from her each day.
Here, Lucy has focused her tips on stills as that’s her favourite way to share on Insta. But if you’re more a story or reel person, these tips will still help a lot. For now, I’m so delighted to have Lucy here to share exactly how she provides so much inspiration with her Insta and how you can do it too so over to Lucy now!
Thank you so much for having me Nomita; it’s such a pleasure to share how I have grown my following on Instagram since I joined just over a year ago. I am a total Instagram addict! I love the community spirit, the inspiration and the fact that it’s so easy to join in. Everyday I can’t believe so many people follow my ‘mini blog’. It’s my fastest growing social media channel by a clear mile and I see my gallery as a way to share everyday moments that help my followers get to know me better, where I can let my creative side go wild and where I enjoy practicing my styling and composition. So I am really excited to be here today and to share my top 8 tips on how to grow your Instagram following:
1. Be yourself
Being authentic is key. If you aren’t a fan of staged or styled photography, no problem! Share the photo’s of what you love to photograph because it’s hard to keep up something you aren’t passionate about. I’m all about colour and although I sometimes try a more minimalist style, it’s really not me. I love sharing a mix of everyday life, our home and vignettes. A vignette is a styled photo so I am often found with a sheet of scrap paper or wallpaper, arranging a few flowers and props to create a still life image. I find it so therapeutic to share lovely photos and even if it’s pouring with rain and my boys are arguing, I can take two minutes out to create something beautiful.
2. Embrace the community
Instagram is a wonderfully positive platform. I have experienced nothing but great community spirit and encouragement. I love the interaction, the way replying to comments is so easy and the engagement between my followers just amazes me. It’s a way to be part of a community and to create a community. Do join in with collaborative hashtags – it’s a great way to find other accounts with similar interests. I host the hashtag #capturingcolour where each Monday morning I announce a new theme for the week and then I share my favourite picks on my blog. I love to take part in various themes including “competition” themes just for the fun of it and also to be involved in the Instagram community.
My favourites are:
Monday – #mymondaymoodboard
Tuesday – #gatheredstyle
Wednesday – #itsamoodywednesday
Thursday – #byarrangement
Friday – #floralfridaycompetition and #fridayfaffingcompetition
Weekend – #frommykitchencompetition
Weekly and monthly themes – #natureinthehome, #stylingtheseasons, #lovelysquares, #nothingisordinary, #at_diff, #its_my_week
Family themes – #jj_its_kids, #mom_hub, #kids_of_our_world
3. Be consistent
I like sharing lots of photos but I know it can easily overwhelm my followers and I begin to see people unfollow if I blast them with too many photos. You don’t have to share a photo everyday but being consistent and having a regular presence is key to growing any social media platform. Some people check their Instagram feed throughout the day while others may only check it once a day or less – so either way if you post a number of photos in quick succession, you are likely to take over someones news feed!
4. Be selective
Instagram is all about sharing snippets. While on facebook you may well share 100 photo’s of your recent holiday, Instagram is more about moments that tell a story. Give people a reason to follow your account on Instagram – keep it interesting! I often follow the same bloggers on every platform, but find it frustrating when they share the same photo across all their accounts and then a few days later it appears on their blog too. By that point I might have seen the same photo 4 or 5 times, and I am less likely to engage with it.
This doesn’t mean putting pressure on yourself to think of different images for each social media platform, it’s more about what you choose to share. So for example – if we are at a play park I might share a photo of my boys to Facebook (where people are more interested and respond to family photos) and a picture of the trees or a close up shot of a little detail to my Instagram account. Twitter on the other hand is a very fast moving medium so I often share my Instagram photos on there too.
When you are being selective about the photos you share, you want to share your best. I recently wrote this post on Real life vs. Insta life to show that even in the midst of a normal chaotic family life you can still create beautiful photos.
5. It is not cheating to edit your photos
There is nothing wrong at all with editing your phone photos for your Instagram account. 99% of the photos I share are from my iPhone and occasionally I will share a photo from my Canon DSLR. But I always tweak my phone photos so they are the best quality they can be. People often comment on how bright and light our house is but in fact we live in a 300 year old cottage farmhouse with low ceilings and small windows! So in comes one of my absolute favourite apps – PicTapGo. I often use their ‘lights on’ filter to help brighten my images but I steer clear of the heavy traditional Instagram filters which distort the colours and saturate the image because it’s just not in keeping with my style. But Instagram does have a sharpening tool which can really improve those evening shots that look a little grainy and the tilt shift tool is wonderful for giving you a sharp focus point and a lovely blurry background emulating the Aperture settings on a DSLR. So do experiment with those editing tools to improve your photos and make them the best they can be.
Remember that Instagram is a square configuration so use the square setting on your phone camera to compose your images. I prefer to fill the whole frame instead of posting landscape or portrait images. Taking a little extra time to compose your images, thinking of things like what’s in the background that might distract from the subject can make a big difference.
6. Make it easy to find your account
It’s no good sharing lots of lovely photos if people can’t find you. Make sure your account name or handle is consistent with your other account names on your site, blog or twitter for example. Do share a link to your Instagram account on your blog and consider displaying your latest IG posts in your blog sidebar. You can use a plug-in in your sidebar as I do, so it automatically displays your most recent IG posts. Let your followers know you are on Instagram too – why not create a collage of your most recent images and share to your Facebook page or write a blog post about the accounts you like to follow.
7. Connect and engage with like minded people
Instagram is a place to connect with like minded people. You don’t have to follow everyone back and you can choose whether to make your account private or public. If you go for a private account followers have to request your permission to view your photos so you have complete control over who sees your content if you choose to. I have a public account because I want people to be able to quickly scroll through my gallery to see if it’s something they’d like to follow or not.
I follow a whole range of accounts that appeal to me for various reasons. Some for their lovely family snaps, some who I have followed since before they were pregnant through to their second and third children, some for styling inspiration, some for food photos, some for travel. They all engage me in different ways and no matter what the time of day is, whenever I check my newsfeed there are always lots of new photos to admire. And I tell them so. If you like something, if something makes you smile or if someone needs some words of support, don’t be shy – leave a comment and engage with people. It’s a wonderful community to be part of and I have actually made some real life friendships with people I have met through following each others accounts.
8. Have fun!
Remember the most important thing is to have fun. If you don’t feel like posting, don’t post. The worst thing with any social media is when it feels like hard work. And also when it’s forced, it shows to your followers as well. Find what you love photographing and share that.
Thank you Lucy for these fabulous tips on how to grow your Instagram following and also for sharing in such detail exactly how you do it. I have recently gotten more in to my own Instagram but I definitely needed some help and these tips couldn’t be more useful. I love how Lucy depicts everyday life but in such an inspirational and uplifting way. Its inspired me to do better now that I know how and I am sure it has inspired you too. Do make sure you check out Lucy’s Instagram and also her beautiful blog.
There is still more to come from my photography series but in the meantime why not check out the previous articles:
How to take great iphone photos of your kids
The best phone photo filter apps
How to photograph kids on the move
Fab tips! I will definitely look into PicTapGo. I must make an effort to take better photos on Instagram. Usually, I just point and shoot as the kids are doing something cute.
ebabee likes says
On the one hand that’s what IG was meant to be all about but it’s nice to create something special once in a while I think. PicTapGo is really handy – have started using recently.