How To Be an Instagram Pro

Chances are if you are reading this post, you found my blog from Instagram. But if you want to learn how to become a better instagrammer, here are some tips.

tuulainstagramWhether you are using Instagram for personal photo sharing or to promote yourself or your business, there are some tips and tricks to having a quality looking page and to help you gain followers.

 I may not always follow these tips, but here is my advice on how to be the best instagrammer you can be.


Post Quality Photos

This seems like a no brainer, but this is a visual social networking site. So try to always post quality photos especially if you are using Instagram to promote yourself as a brand or a small business.

When you first click on a profile, you will see all the images as thumbnails. The more appealing the page is visually as a whole, the more likely you will gain more followers.


Now that your page looks cohesive and visually appealing, lets think about the individual images. Don’t post low resolution photos, blurry pictures or images that have repeatedly been screenshotted and reposted. If possible, look online for the original image and post that one.

I often use a regular camera to take photos and later upload them using Instagram. I have a Canon Powershot that I take with me for everyday photos or for quality images, I use a Canon T5i. If I do take an iPhone picture, I use natural light, never a flash and I avoid the front facing camera to take selfies because the resolution is so low.

If you want to use a traditional camera to take pictures, you can buy a wifi SD card that goes into any camera, even if it isn’t a wifi camera and it will upload your photos to your phone using an app. This ensures that your photos are high resolution and if you are a makeup artist, this is important as a camera can accurately show detailed work which in turn, is better for your business.

Use Photo Apps

I almost never use Instagram filters. Before I post a photo, I put it through a few different programs depending on what I am looking to do.

If you are too dark in the picture, but the rest of the photo is over exposed, try Snapseed to selectively brighten parts of the photo which will help get you to be brighter, without ruining the rest of the pictures.


To adjust brightness, contrast and more my favorite app is Afterlight. After you have adjusted the images you can use various apps for filters. I always use PicTapGo. You can add multiple filters, adjust the strength and even add the white space around the photos and upload straight to instagram.


After I have adjusted and filtered a photo, I will then upload to Instagram and not even bother with the limited options in the app.

Captions and Hashtags

Think of an appropriate hashtag and caption for a photo. This can be funny or interesting or maybe even a quote but here are some things to avoid

  • Don’t over use emojis
  • Every caption doesn’t need to be a song lyric
  • Use relevant hashtags and keep them to a minimum
  • If a photo is of many people or brands, tag it to the profile to tap to see them instead of listing 10 @usernames in a caption as it can be distracting and hard to read

Generally if a photo has more than 2 tags, I try to tag it to the picture instead of the caption starts to look a little overwhelming for me. This works for outfit photos where you could be wearing 7 different items, so in this case your caption can say “tap for details” and your followers can tap on the photo.

This also helps brands who have a lot of followers, see your photos easier. If someone tags my name in a caption, I more than likely won’t see it. But if it gets tagged to my profile, I check those photos often and can like, respond or even repost.

Another tips is to avoid over using hashtags. I cannot stand to see a caption that looks like:

“Having dinner with @amy @tori @stan and @emily eating at @mastros wearing my #shirt from #handm and pants from #tomford #shoes #bag #girlsnightout #love #ootd #makeup #pictures”

At most, use two relevant hashtags for people to find or track your photos. If you realllllly must post more hashtags, leave it as a comment right after your caption so it isn’t visible after you get a few comments and it can hide in there but still be found.


When to Post Photos and How Often

There are some peak times to post photos to Instagram if you want people to see them, get a lot of likes and to find out what works best for your followers or audience, you can go to Statigram, which is now known as Iconosquare, the desktop website. It will show you a graph of when your photos have the most amount of likes, so you can tell what works best for you.

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So for my page, you can see Monday at 7pm, Thursday, Friday 6pm and Saturday and Sunday between 10am-Noon are good times for me to post.

A general rule is to post after 4pm Monday to Thursday, avoid Friday evenings and very late/early morning posts. Most people are asleep during those times and it won’t get viewed.

So if you have a great picture you took at a club at 1am, wait and post it the following day if you really want it to get seen on your feed. #latergram

Also avoid posting photos back to back, your first photo you posted won’t get as much love because everyone just saw your most recent photo.

If you are using Instagram to promote yourself as a brand or your small business, post 3-5 photos a day to stay relevant on your followers feeds. From different time zones and social schedules, photos at various times throughout the day will ensure you are reaching a broad audience and that people are reminded of you, your products or your services. If 3-5 is too many for you, as a business or self-promoter at least post twice a day.

Gaining Followers

I’ve mentioned Statigram before and you can also use this program to see your most liked photos, so that you can post more of these types on your page to gain popularity and a following.

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By posting more of the photos that get you the most feedback, you can see what works for your page and your audience.

You should also be responding to comments and be engaging with your followers. I  can’t always respond to everyone, but if someone asks me a question I try to almost always respond unless I have already answered it in the caption or to another user in the comments already.

This helps build a friendship or relationship with your followers, especially as you grow to larger numbers.

Tagging brands is another quick way to gain followers. If you tag to a brand’s profile like CelebBoutique or Benefit Cosmetics etc., they could see your photo, repost it and bring new people to your page.

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You never know who could reshare your photos and this is an easy way to get more people to your page.

So remember these tips next time you post a photo!

Happy Instagramming and if you aren’t following me yet, check out my profile here.

If you still need some more tips, take a look at my friend Aimee Song’s video on how she instagrams using an iPhone.  She is an Instagram pro with over 1Million followers & has an amazing blog, Song of Style.

12 Responses to How To Be an Instagram Pro

  1. This was a really helpful post! I’m working on building my following for my blog, and Instagram tends to be a tricky one! Thanks for the advice.

    P.s. I can be found on Istagram at @onegrloneworld :D

  2. Love this post! I have a Nikon D1500… Or something like that but never use it. What app do you use to upload the photos from your camera to your phone?

  3. Thanks for answering my question. I am not big into blogs or Instagram this is the first time I actually follow a blog. I just want to thank you for answering questions and posting cool info and amazing tips. I know this will be the biggest beauty blog out there. It definitely offers the best content. You rock

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