I’m not a photographer, I work with digital art in graphics and advertisement. In my almost two years on Instagram I’ve been able to create an awesome circle of friends who fill my newsfeed with beautiful and colourful pictures and who always give great feedback in return when I post a new shot.
Unfortunately Instagram is also full of spam, fake followers, bots and very annoying users. They beg for your attention, asking you to like their latest pictures or even to follow them. Other users will follow you only if you’re ready to follow them back. They’re totally shameless and these Igers won’t think twice before unfollowing you if you don’t return the favor.
But let me get straight to the point. This is a list of advice for those friends who asked my opinion about their galleries and wanted suggestions to make them look more “appealing”.
There are no tricks to get popular on IG if you’re not willing to be patient, unless you wanna cheat. If your intention is only to grow your numbers, give up. Aim to build your own little community instead, it’s much more fun and heart warming.
A GOOD START: TAKING PICTURES
There are two rules that I focus on every time I’m taking a photo:
Sloping or upside down pictures are a “poetic” license that you should use properly and rarely as an artistic way to portrait, for example, a reflection on glasses and wet surfaces; or a way to add movement to an action shot like a picture of someone who’s running. Personally, I always shoot for the straight pictures, aligning the camera with the horizon and not with the subjects.
Wether you prefer asymmetric or perfectly symmetric pictures, there’s always an “invisible” spot where your subject must find its place. Helping you with the grid, divide the shot in two or three equal areas and, focusing on the borders of your subject, center it in the desired subdivision. In case of multiple subjects think of them as one. That’ll give structure and professionalism to your shot.
BUILDING AN INTERESTING GALLERY
• Be vary
Yes, you can still be varied and maintain your style at the same time. If your style consists of posting pictures of the same kind of subjects with the same filter and effects, go look for some new inspirations. Posting the same photos over and over will make you predictable and no longer interesting, not even if the pictures are high quality ones. Opening a gallery that has three, six or eight shots in a row of the same subject or situation is a huge turn off. Also, that is basically like spamming your followers’ newsfeed.
• There’s a whole world out of your bathroom
A Gallery full of #selfies shows that the Iger in question cannot see further than his/her mirror. Unless you’re into him/her, avoid it like the plague or your newsfeed will be flooded with the same face and expression every single day.
• Organize it like a boss
A well structured and appealing gallery shouldn’t display more than 200-250 pictures. When I find myself visiting galleries with 900 or even more than 3000 photos I tend to run away, even if the Iger in question is very good. I’d just hit the “follow” button, but I’d never check all his previous posts, because it would take me too much to find the awesome shots while getting through a lot of “okay” ones. In other words my suggestion is: go through your gallery and get rid of some old pictures, keep only your best ones.
Make sure the last three photos you posted are various and interesting. You can take care of that by avoiding posting a picture with the same tones of the last one in your gallery. Those are going to be the first three pictures your visitors are going to see: push them to scroll down!
• Be friendly
A self picture every once in a while is a good way to show your followers you’re not a robot and that you don’t take things too seriously. Instagram is a community after all; pro photographers should look for some other tools if they’re expecting to be just faceless strangers obsessed with posting only the perfect shots.
That means an easy going caption on your photos can only bring your followers to know you better and interact more with you.
You’re ready to get awesome pictures and to interact with your followers. How do you find more, now that you have the inspiration to build a catchy gallery?
Captioning your pictures with a bunch of popular hashtags is a good start, but be ready to deal with its collateral effects.
You can load a limit of 30 hashtags below any photo. A quick search on google will help you find all the most popular ones.
Other than the obvious hashtags like #sky, #grass and #sun (in case you just took a picture of a green field on a sunny day), there are a bunch of neutral popular hashtags that you can add below any shot (#iphoneonly, #picoftheday, #instadaily and many, many others!). Doing this will bring all the Igers that are browsing those pages to see your photos and, if you did a good job, to get feedback!
• The collateral effects
Once you tap “save” after captioning your shot with all the hashtags you’ve found, be aware of the price you will have to pay for those 30-40 likes and maybe a follower or two. Spam, bot-programmed likes, fake comments and followers; 13 year old wannabe Hollister and Victoria’s Secret models crying for your attention;
It’s no big deal, really, you can easily block unwanted followers and get rid of the spam in the comment section, but after a while it gets annoying. Personally, I used to load a lot of hashtags too, but at some point I couldn’t deal anymore with the huge amount of spam out there and, when I decided I was happy with the number of followers I gathered, I stopped.
• Hashtag like a sir
Towards who, you ask? Well, there aren’t only bots and spammers surfing on the hashtags pages. There are also a lot of Igers who actually enjoy browsing the #skyline or #clouds collection of pictures. I’m one of them. Sadly though, the experience is often almost impossible to enjoy.
That’s because some regular hashtags like #sky or #city are so popular that a lot of users have absolutely no shame in throwing the picture of their buttface or cat under the #skyline or #citylife hashtag, in order to get all the attention they can.
I suggest you to avoid this very sad practice. It’s just gonna make you look desperate and pathetic.
Last but not least: avoid drama.
Drama is always unnecessary and nobody likes it. It’s personal and we only always like our own, so remember:
Humor is the way, and there is humor in anything.