Friday, September 26, 2014


9 Tips for Better Instagram Photos

9 Tips for better Instagram Photos

People love to see pictures.  And with so much media hitting us from all different channels, a picture is quick, visual and can easily tell a story.  So what is the best way to convey what you are experiencing and tell that story using pictures? I really like to use Instagram

As a travel blogger, great photos are key to showing my audience what I am experiencing.  I like to show everyone what I am seeing on a real-time basis, not just a few weeks later in a published story.  Instagram is a great tool for this, however you can very easily bore your audience if you don't show the right types of photos.  Here are a few tips I use on Instagram to engage and even grow my audience.

9 Tips for Better Instagram Photos

1. Show yourself 

It’s great to see shots of places that you are, but people really prefer to see people. I get twice as many likes and interactions on photos when I am in the picture.  It shows your audience that you are there, that you are having fun, that you are a real person - not just behind the camera, writing the story. 

I have to say, not my most flattering shot but fun, right?

2. Creativity goes a long way 

To make your shots really stick out on the Instagram feed, get creative.  Everyone does a selfie, how will yours stick out? I’m not the biggest fan of having my photograph taken, so I try to get creative with my shots.  Make a funny face, pose in a fun position, line up your family differently, grab a prop - don’t just look at the camera and smile - everyone else does. If you feel awkward, good - put your inhibitions away and have fun!

Don't need a fancy camera for this shot, as I snapped it with my iPhone. 

3. Show your emotion (excitement, joy, fear, worry) 

Nothing tells a story better than to show how you are feeling about what you are doing. I was at charity event this past summer and I didn’t realize that we each had $300 to shop for the raffle event.  My partner that day actually caught me in the moment, excited about the prospect of shopping with that much cash.  Show your audience how you feel about something - fear to tackle that roller coaster, excited to catch the big fish, uncertain how that meal will taste?  Show us!

What do you think? Did I enjoy riding Tower of Terror 3 times in a row???

4. Show a landmark/familiar place 

If you are traveling to a place that has familiar landmarks, show them to us.  Put yourself or your family in the picture and again, get creative with the shot.  Take the photo from a different angle or perspective (get on the ground and look up, get the shadow of the landmark, a unique situation going on around it, a big crowd to show how popular it is, etc.).  To make your photo stand out, think outside of the box.

Any guesses where we were that day?

5. Show a variety of pictures from the day/resort/event 

Clearly I love to take pictures, and take a lot of them.  But, you do not need to post all of them to tell your story. There is nothing that makes me unfollow a person faster than if they post 6 pictures of the same thing all in a row.  Pick your best shot to share on IG or spread them out over the day.  Many times I will grab a bunch of shots of a place I am at and jot down some notes in my phone as to what to post throughout the day.  If you have some great photos and can’t narrow it down, hold on to them and do a #latergram a few days or weeks later - it always starts up a new conversation. 
There were so many great shots to post to IG when we were at Disneyland, but it's shots like these that show the whole day in one picture.  Take your time and post the meaningful, good shots.

6. A Good Description goes a long way 

When posting a picture to Instagram, you don’t have to be verbose to tell a story, and you don’t have to limit your words either. Make sure you provide context/description to each one of your pictures.  You can’t just assume that someone has been following your IG feed all day. Consider each picture as the first time someone has seen it. 

If I didn't tell you what I was doing here, you'd be scratching your head, huh?

7. Ask a question 

Who doesn’t love to give their opinion?  Asking for advice along with your pictures will allow for more interactions with readers.  When I asked where we needed to eat while in Houston on a picture of the city, we had answers coming for days. Get your readers to tell you best tips to visit that water park, what the best thing to order off the menu is, what color Kendra Scott earrings you should buy, etc.

So friends, which ones should I get?

8. Show your results 

Just like every good story needs an ending, your day should finish with one too. If you start with a challenge, make sure to follow up with what the outcome/results are.  Post a picture of a tired family exiting the amusement park, the sunset over the water, or a glass of wine to relax after a busy day.  Show us your ending. 

And this is after a full day of waterpark slides, roller coasters, and shows!

9. Make a hashtag 

I am a big fan of using a hashtag - the correct way.  Seek out the hashtag of the places you visit (chances are they have one) and if they don't,  create one of your own.  Your entire story can unfold with one click if you create a hashtag.  Last summer, I am used #darlingroadtrip to chronicle all our road trip travels. Also, don’t stuff your description with hashtags or use silly ones ( #coolestmomever #whydidIgoonthis15hourroadtripwithmykidsIneedaglassofwine <——seriously saw this yesterday!)

Instagram is fun, easy to use and so very popular.  Consider these tips when you are posting and your pictures will be the ones that get noticed!

Love Instagram?  Follow me - I'd love to follow you and see what you are seeing each day!


Leigh Ann said...

It drives me crazy when people use Instagram as their own personal photo album! Great tips.

Sherry Wernicke said...

Really great article, Rebecca. Question - How often do you post these on Instagram over the course of your day out or trip?

TamaraGruber said...

Great point about descriptions. You can't see every photo from everyone you are following so sometimes I find myself asking, where are they? Even though the location is sometimes given, unless I click on it and expand the map I may not know where Bob's BBQ is. Hashtags or something that lets me know where they are and what is going on are very helpful.

Jessica DiGiannurio said...

great post!

Ben said...

Great tips...I have to admit that I have neglected my Instagram account. You're absolutely right about hashtags...I get more interaction when I use good hashtags.

Elle @ (Eat.Style.Play) said...

Very cool tips for IG. I love the mickey mouse ear shot, so fun!

Kristin @littlemamajama said...

Love your IG account! These are some great tips. Long hashtags drive me bananas.

Tricias-List PRPage said...

I like the tips! I use Instagram constantly ,so these will come in handy !

Dawn said...

I just started Instagram just prior to BloggyCon14! So, i'm still "learning the ropes." Thanks for the tips :)

Lisa Serrano Diaz said...

Great tips!