5 Ways Photographers Can Improve by Using Instagram

In Photo Basics by Bastian Bodyl0 Comments

This is an article for every photographer even if you not post regularly something or using Instagram just for family pictures. I hope this it inspires you to take a deeper look into Instagram because it is a great place to find inspiration or locations, be creative and meet new people.

On Instagram, you can find all kind of profiles, personal pages, photography projects, small businesses, tourism organization or photography communities. Instagram has become a marketing tool for everyone over the years. There are a lot of people which share great pictures to create exposure. For photographers, it is a big field of inspiration fun and also marketing possibility.

There are all kinds of profiles which are sharing pictures. Normal things like landscapes, sports, sunsets, travel or animals or more specific things like drone pictures, underwater, wedding or GoPro pics and even crazy things like the pages which shares only pictures of rusty things.

Only rusty things. A bit crazy.

I do not want to say much about the marketing things, there are other articles where you can read how to promote yourself. So how and can you use Instagram for your photography?

1.Inspiration source

Instagram is more open than other platforms like 500px or Flickr what means you have more diversity. If you are interested in a certain topic of photography you will definitely find inspiration on Instagram because there are so many different kinds of photography and people on Instagram. You may see Instagram as a collection of boring smartphone pictures but there is a lot of really great photography. It really depends on what profiles you follow.

Really creative pictures. Definitely no boring smartphone stuff.

You can build your Instagram Feed to a great personal inspiration source. In my feed are great photographers like Art Wolfe or Erin Babnik right after a local guy who always finds great new locations, a GoPro pictures featuring page and a couple how does minimalistic pictures. Good sources for inspiration are profiles which features photographers. They only feature the best pictures they can find and therefore you only see good pictures.

Instagram has a relatively new function where you can safe posts for later. I made a folder for inspirations and from time to time I scroll through to get inspirations for my future pictures. I shoot most time landscapes but I have also pages which shares minimalistic or portrait pictures. Seeing so many different kinds of photography keeps me inspired.

As I mentioned earlier in this article it is also an inspiration for photo locations. If you follow pages and photographers from your region you will get always new locations in your feed.

2.Photo Location Searching

Instagram is great for photo location searching. If you type in just a word in the search field, thousands of posts will appear. Most of the pictures have a geo tag. The geo tags make it really easy to find the spot where the picture was taken. If there is no geo tag the locations is most time easy to find with a short searching on Instagram, at the photographer’s page or Google. When I am going to a new location or place I always check Instagram to get some inspiration or photo spots.

I am planning a one day trip to Milan this autumn. Unfortunately, there are no spots in the rGPS (Really Good Photo Spots) App. Because I am going just one day I do not have so much time to photograph but I want to make some pictures form cool locations in the center of the town. I have searched featuring pages of Milan on Instagram and found some great locations through them which are easy reachable and I also got some ideas for great pictures when I am there.

Amazing view from @townhousegalleria 😍 shot by @ikhals for #Milano 🖐

A post shared by Milano (@milano) on

Great location in Milan I want to take picutres from.

I found also a great location in my region on Instagram. It is a winding pass street about a two hours’ drive from my home. It is a very popular photo spot but you rarely see it outside from Instagram. The Spot is a bit hidden, so when you drive on the road you will not recognize it. When I was near there I took some pictures, and put it in the rGPS App. It is now rated as a five-star location, so thank you Instagram for this.

by Bastian Bodyl

Not my best picture but a great location.

3.Try different things and have fun

Instagram is also cool to try different things and look how they work. This spring I have posted a picture which is definitely not my best picture, but it was by far the picture with the most likes I have ever posted. Maybe there was bit luck but it made me thinking of how I can improve my pictures.

Not my best pictures but the one with the most likes

Instagram is a good platform even if you have only a small following (like me). It is just fun to post something and get some reactions for your pictures. It is much easier to get reactions on Instagram than on other social networks like Facebook, 500px or Flickr. On 500px for example you have to make really strong pictures to get exposure which is very depressing for a beginner. Flickr is nearly death and on Facebook you can most time only reach your friends. Because everyone has an Instagram account you are not in an exclusive community like on 500px or Flickr which are only for photographers.

If you want to try something completely different to your normal photography like a video or time laps project for a landscape photographer, Instagram is the perfect place. A new profile is easy made and you will get feedback from other people fast. It would be a shame if your work where you invested hours and hours stay on your computer and only you will see it. A few months ago, I made a second profile for my GoPro pictures and videos. The following is not small, but it is fun to make other images than usual and it keeps me motivated to become better.

If you are a professional photographer you can also think of having to profiles, one for your professional work and one for your family pictures. On Instagram, you can make private profiles where you can select who is following you. I know a lot of photographers who keep it this way.

Second account where I do more creative things

It is easy keeping two profiles. Instagram makes it really comfortable to switch between two profiles. Also, posting pictures is really easy. I am an iOS user and do not know much about Android. On iOS you can post pictures directly from Lightroom Mobile. Videos can be easily shard via Dropbox or since the newest iOS via iColoud.

4.Get feedback

When you are a photographer you want to get your pictures out in the world a seen by a lot of people. Instagram is a great way to do this. Additional to post your pictures you can use hashtags to get featured.

There are a lot of communities or tourism organizations which features photographers and they are always looking for good pictures to repost. They provide hashtags you can use to give them permission to repost your pictures and point them to your profile. This is a great chance for every photographer to get exposure for his work.

When I was in French Polynesia last year I used the hashtag from the local tourism organization and the have reposted a few of my pics. I am a small fish in the big Instagram ocean and it was interesting to see how many people liked my pictures when the following is bigger. You can find pages which repost your pics for everything just search a country, state or a topic.

Looking for a surfing spot in Tahaa? 🏄🌊🌴 | 📷 by @b_bodyl via #LoveTahiti <3

A post shared by Tahiti Tourisme (@tahititourisme) on

Same picture different audience

For more information look at the article how to use Instagram hashtags.

5.Get Conected

Another way to improve your photography with Instagram is, to get connected with other people or follow the work of friends. It is also amazing to see how many good photographers live in your area. Many people have cameras and can make really good pictures. In Instagram, you can find most of them and get connected with them. I made de experience, that the most of the people are really friendly and also like to meet photographers from their area. In the last years, I met a lot of people which I know only from Instagram virtually to take some pictures in the real world.

Some Instagram communities organize Instameets, meetups where you meet other people from Instagram in the real world. It is always fun to interact with people and see how they work and talk about photography.

 

My favourite Instagram pages

At least here are some of my favourite Instagram pages.

@master_shots Congratulations @nickbellinger On the MASTER SHOT of the day Official Tag: #master_shots

A post shared by Master Shots (@master_shots) on

Most times great landscape or animal pictures from all over the world.

Follow @michaeltheexplorer for more amazing travel photos! Huachachina Desert Oasis, #Peru

A post shared by EARTH FOCUS (@earthfocus) on

The same like the first one. Great landscape or animal pictures from all over the world.

Minimalistic pictures from all over the world. Something different and very artistic.

Congratulations to the following photographers who made this week's #SPi_Animals theme shortlist. Image and Artist 1. @masihbelajarmoto.id 2. @lorenzo_catena 3. @persiflagepics 4. @vineet_vohra 5. @hansvanleeuwen.cur 6. @eequalmc_2 7. @pomis_ 8. @robertowandrade 9. @_gusponce 10. @tiembla.cl . . . . . #SPiCollective #London #streetphotography #streetphotografy_bw #streetphoto_bw #streetphoto_bnw #streetphotographyincolors #streetphotography_color #ig_streetphotography #ig_street #street_photography #streetphotographer #streetphotographers #street_photographer #streetphoto #streetphotos #streetphotografy #magnumphotos #meistershots #instagram #lensculture #LensCultureStreets #featureshoot #myfeatureshoot

A post shared by Street Photo International (@streetphotographyinternational) on

Inspiring Street photography from all over the world.

Local tourism organisation, always good to know what is going on in your area.

 


About the Author

Bastian Bodyl

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Bastian is a Switzerland based hobbyist photographer. On weekends he explores the alps in his region Graubünden with his camera. He also travels around in Europe and some times a bit further. See his work on his website or on Instagram.

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