instagram post hashtags

How to use Instagram Hashtags

Hashtags provide a way of labelling a post so it can be found by others. Without hashtags, the only users who are likely to see your Instagram posts are your followers.

If you already have thousands of followers this may be fine. The number of likes and comments from those followers may even be enough to get your image into the Explore page of other users as described in my article Getting Started on Instagram. This is why photographers with large followings often put no hashtags, or only a few, on their images. For the rest of us, hashtags are necessary if we want our images to be seen and to build up our following.Read more

cropped screenshot moira_photography profile

My Instagram 100

Moira Photography Profile


When I first reached 100 posts on Instagram, I started to ask myself whether it made sense to just keep indefinitely adding images. How many images would someone discovering my feed be likely to go back and look at? 20? 50? 100? More than a 100? I thought it would be unlikely to be more than a 100.

I also wondered whether I wanted my Instagram feed to simply become a large archive of all the images I'd ever posted. Wouldn't it be better if my Instagram profile represented my work by being a curated selection of images?  Rather than containing lots of lion portraits, maybe it should contain only one or two and these might vary  over time.

So as well as posting one image every day as recommended in my article Getting Started on Instagram, I started to delete one image every time I posted. My Instagram profile therefore became an evolving collection of 100 images.

There is no rule I follow in deciding which image to delete. I don't take a long time to think about it. Sometimes I choose one for deletion because it's not one of my favourites. But I might delete one that I really like because it's similar in content and style to the one that I'm posting that day, or simply because I posted it a long time ago.

This also allows me to occasionally repost an image that I've previously posted and later deleted. It might be that I've processed it differently, but sometimes I decide to repost an image that many followers will not have seen.

If you are building up a following, it's  important to remember that you may have thousands of followers who didn't see that great image that you posted when you started out on Instagram. This is also why you shouldn't simply judge the popularity of an image by the number of likes as this should increase generally as your number of followers grows.

However, you shouldn't repost too often as you might lose faithful followers who have already seen these posts.

Note that, since I started working in this way, Instagram has added an archive feature for removing images from your feed. The difference to deleting them is that Instagram keeps a copy of the image along with the likes and comments.

Images in your archive can be accessed by clicking on the "clock" symbol in the top right corner of your profile page. For any of the images in your archive, you have the option to show it on your profile again and remove it from the archive. You can read about more details of the archive feature in the article 3 Great Tips for Using the Instagram Archive Feature.

I'm not suggesting that you should work in the same way I do, but it is worth thinking about what you want your Instagram profile to represent. Restricting the number of images makes it more likely that people discovering your account will look through all, or at least a significant portion, of them. Deleting or archiving images is also a way of tidying up your profile and making it more visually appealing to new visitors. This is something that is to consider if you want to attract new followers as I discussed in Getting Started on Instagram.

Personally, I've found in interesting to see how my Instagram 100 has evolved and it sometimes even surprises me!

Instagram Interface

Getting Started on Instagram

In this article, I will outline the basic workings of Instagram with a view to getting you started posting images. First, it is important to understand what Instagram offers and how you can access its main features. Second, I will give some tips on what, when and how to post.

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Instagram Screenshot

Why should you be on Instagram?

What is special about Instagram?

Instagram has the potential for much greater reach and engagement than other platforms used for photo-sharing such as Facebook, 500px and ViewBug.  Reach refers to the number of people who might see your image. Engagement refers to the number who like or comment on your image. There are claims that the average engagement on Instagram is 10 times that of Facebook and 84 times that of Twitter. Such figures have to be treated with care given differences in posting behaviour on different platforms.  However, various studies do show that engagement on Instagram is significantly higher. Read more

screenshot ipad

How does your website look to others?

If you've made the effort to set up a website to show off your photography, it is important to test how it looks to others. Many users will access your website on their phone or tablet, rather than on a laptop or desktop PC which you probably used to set it up. So you have to make sure that it also looks good on these smaller devices. It amazes me how many websites of even professional photographers and tour companies become unusable if accessed on a phone or tablet. Read more