Your guide to having awesome Instagram photos

By Perry Spring
St. Ignatius

If you’re always looking for an interesting photo to post to Instagram, you’re not alone. As of September, the world-famous photo sharing app had more than 100 million users, according to the company.

Started by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in 2010, Instragram became extremely popular because of the retro filters one can put on any picture and the fact that it’s free, compared to competitor apps such as Hipstamatic. While originally only for iPhone users, the app became available for Android in April. Facebook purchased Instagram in September at $741 million in cash and stock. And this week, Instagram announced its new profile pages to make all your photos easy to see and share online. (To see your profile page or others’ profiles, go to instagram.com/username and add the user name of the account, i.e. instagram.com/mashchicago.)

With Instagram, anyone with an iPhone or Android can basically become a photographer whose artistic photos can be viewed by anyone in the world using the app, and now online too.

If you’re new to the Instagram world, follow these four steps and you’ll be an “Instastar” in no time!

1. Hashtags
Hashtags are an extremely simple way to turn a photo with 10 likes into one with more than 100 likes. The “hashtag button” is in easy reach of your thumb at the bottom right corner of the keyboard next to the @ symbol—don’t be shy using it! The hashtags allow your pictures to be seen by others searching for or using the same tags. Some of the most used hashtags include: #instagood, #instamood, #igers, #photooftheday, #igdaily, #food and others. Some “instagramers” (as we call ourselves) use the tags for locations, emotions and even the app’s filter types to get likes on their pictures. If you want likes, using hashtags is the best way to become #instafamous.

2. Follower ratio
Like with Twitter, you don’t have to follow every single person who follows you, or like photos by those who like yours. If you have fewer  followers than the amount of people you follow you won’t be getting as many likes on your pictures. This includes celebrities that you know will not be following back, so unless you really want their updates, keep those follows to a minimum. Overall, stick with your friends and people that you know who will follow you back.

3. Don’t post too much
If you want to attract other #igers, avoid posting every 30 minutes with useless pictures. If a picture is good; people will like it; if a picture is just there because you’re bored and want attention, don’t bother. I tend to post a picture every other day or once my last picture hits a certain number of likes. Remember you can always refresh old photos by adding new hashtags in the comments. If you’re selective about what you post, your good pictures won’t be buried by the ones just taking up space.

4. Know when to post
Always think about the time. If you’re posting pictures very late at night, even with hashtags, you won’t receive that many likes because most of your followers will be sleeping. Anything after noon and before midnight is most likely the best idea for a new instagramer. If you really want to get technical to know the best times, you can use a website such as statigr.am to show you a graph of the days of the week and times that your followers tend to like your photos.

You can follow Perry Spring on Instagram as perryslivinlife.

>> Have an Instagram tip? Leave a comment below to share it with us or tweet it to @mashchicago!

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About The Mash

Maura Wall Hernandez is digital editor of The Mash.

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