30 Helpful Instagram Tips

by SomeGirl on February 28, 2012 · 12 comments

I was so thankful to be able to attend Blissdom (a blogger conference in Nashville, Tennessee) this past weekend.

My family went with me and we had a wonderful time!

While there, I was able to sit and learn from some amazing photographers (I’ll tell you more about them and what they shared soon).

One of the classes offered was on instagram, taught by two professional photographers and instagram gurus: Jason Hudson and Ryan Marshall.

I thought I’d take a moment to share my notes from that class (as written on a complimentary GaylordHotels.com conference room notepad). :)

From Jason and Ryan….

  1. People follow because they like your taste and want to see the world through your eyes.
  2. Set up a tumblr for your instagram feed.
  3. Don’t tweet, FB, or tumble (is that a word?) all of your photos. Keep your audience at each social media location in mind.
  4. Instagram is a form of micro blogging – another platform. It’s all about telling stories!
  5. Approach instagram like a blog post.
  6. Ask how you want it to represent you.
  7. Establish a look.
  8. Know what you want to be telling.
  9. Pick a storyline, be disciplined, stick with it.
  10. Explore other sides of your brand.
  11. It’s ok to delete pictures that don’t look good in your grid (the boxes of photos that appear in your profile page… the above image is a screenshot of my grid).
  12. Pick one or two filters and use them. Be consistent. It might be good to choose an inside filter and outside filter. Decide which filter is going to represent your “brand” – you.
  13. Anything you put online is up for grabs. Know that your photos might be used by others without your permission.
  14. The number of likes in a certain amount of time seems to be the key to getting a photo on the popular page.
  15. Use the camera+ app for setting exposure when taking photos (or use this tip for taking better iPhone photos, which is what I like to do)
  16. Use the app PSexpress to straighten a photo.
  17. Other apps recommended were:
    • slowshutter
    • fotoframe, diptic, picframe, grid lens (collage makers)
    • Phoster – to add text
    • Vintage camera for cool old style filters
    • Toy Camera
    • (My personal referrals are snapseed, which I heard is this week’s free app at Starbucks to brighten photos, and Photogene 2 to resize photos for blog posts)
  18. The more distinct your instagram grid looks the better.
  19. Viewers should always be able to tell that it’s you who posted a photo.
  20. Some examples of users with distinct looks are:
    (NOTE: I’ve not checked out the following users, I’m just sharing what Jason and Ryan shared with us)
    • @annariflebond – showing and promoting her business
    • @tonydetroit – living in and documenting the slow death of Detroit
    • @bexfinch – bits of her life
    • @fosterhuntington – world wide surf trip
    • @tu_ly – personal/professional shots
    • @timrobisonjr – beautiful light
    • @fieldoffice – exploring the west (each picture in her stream helps the next – very strong compliment of photos)
    • @foodfaceash – behind the scenes shots
    • @trishpapadakos – food only
  21. Be mindful of what was in your grid before and what you will show after.
  22. Back away from your subject and show what’s going on.
  23. You’ll remember what your children’s faces look like, but you won’t remember what they carried around. Capture that.
  24. As a general rule, Ryan doesn’t share pictures that he takes with his phone at night… they don’t look good so he doesn’t do it.
  25. If you want to share a photo that doesn’t fit your brand/style, let it sit there a day or two, then erase it if it doesn’t look good in your grid or tell a story.
  26. “Don’t pollute your feed.”
  27. Use Blurb to print books from instagram photos.
  28. Use stickygram for other neat things.
  29. There was debate on whether or not to add an instagram button/feed to your blog, but I personally enjoy having a little peek into instagram on my sidebar. I use instapress plugin for that.
  30. Most importantly, in my opinion, have FUN! It’s your instagram feed. Do what you want with it!

And that’s that…

Hope you enjoy some of these tips and find them helpful!


Pin It



Great tips, thanks for sharing them! :-)

Kara @ Just1Step

Awesome tips, thanks so much for sharing! Just bought camera+ – I’ve been really frustrated with the exposure and focus lately, so hopefully once I learn the tricks I’ll start getting better photos. Is the free app still at Starbucks?? I was just there this morning but went through drive-thru so didn’t see any free cards. :(


I have no idea about the Starbucks app… I just saw a friend mention it earlier this week on instagram with a pic of her free app card. I didn’t know they did that! (Good surprise) :)

Sara @ Happy Brown House

Ok, can you explain why they said to set up a Tumblr for your IG feed? Just curious. Also, not that I am going to change my habits just because someone said there was a “rule” about something, but I’m curious about the “storyline” concept. I fear mine is boring and filled with too many pics of my kids! On the other hand, that is my life!


Tumblr looks like a good way for others to follow your stream online if they don’t have an iPhone. It also provides another place to point people to your blog (the class was on using instagram as a part of/extension of your blogging platform).

My storyline is “enjoying life and documenting it” so I have lots of pictures of my boys. If your theme is life, then your kids will definitely be a big part of that!

Ryan’s feed is a good one to follow for life storytelling photographic inspiration. His username is @thepanicroom.

Michelle @Special Mom Space

I just signed up for this and forget to use it most of the time. Way too much social media out there!

My daughter on the other hand uses it fiercely. She shares every pic she ever takes LOL. Pics of food, herself, etc….She says that Instagram isn’t for old people hmph!

Teri Johnson

Thank YOU for sharing with US! Love seeing your photos in my feed…. =)

Jason Hudson

Great recap! Thanks for sharing.
The Tumblr thing was just a suggestion – Ryan likes to get his images into one place – He likes the idea of posting in one place that is accessible outside of Instagram to share his narrative.

Glad you seemed to enjoy!


Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Your class was one of my favorites! :)





Thanks for providing us with these tips. I am new to Tumblr and was wondering if you could tell me how you are redirecting your blog link on your Tumblr page back to your Wordpress blog. I have tried the redirect, but can’t seem to get it to work, thanks.


Do you have a template you used to get all your Instagram images in a grid like this for your blog post? Would you be willing to share? That’s what I’m looking for, a way to get my Instagram pics easily on one post, in a nice succinct presentation.


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: