my instagram tips

my statigram statsSince I got my iPhone 4S and it's camera that works all the time instead of the camera in my old phone that only worked when it felt like it, I've been taking a LOT of photos with it.

Like, a LOT.

So many in fact that I hardly even use my compact digital camera any more, just the iPhone and the SLR. Which led me to think about cameras and the iPhone and, ultimately, Instagram.

As I've mentioned before, I also been using Instagram a fair bit... it's turned into pretty much my default photo publishing account for social media... I'm more likely to send an Instagram photo to my Twitter feed than I am to just attach a photo straight to a tweet.

All of which led me, last Friday morning, to wish that Prakky would write "What's good/annoying about Instagram" posts like the Pet Peeves one she wrote about Twitter... then I realised... I could do that!

I mean I'm not somebody who gets millions of likes or thousands of comments... but like I said, I do use the app all the time.

So here we go...

Oh, and feel free to add your own proverbial two cents...

Yani's Tips for Using Instagram

1. Photograph all of the things

The first one is obvious, it relates to all kinda of photography, and it's pretty much my mantra.... take photos. Lots of photos, everywhere you go... even if you don't end up using them for anything, take them anyway. I do that all the time and currently I've got over 1000 photos on my iPhone (must cull that at some point).

I've never been sorry I took a photo, only that I didn't take more of something.

I try and look for different angles and viewpoints (up high, down low), although perhaps not as often as I should... but I'm always looking around me pretty much all the time and if I can stop and take a shot I do, or make a note to come back when the light is better.

There are other tips already out there for taking better photos, and better iPhone photos (including this rather handy tip from Instragram themselves).

The flip side of that is one of the things that bugs me (right after those over saturated, over sharpened images)... no matter how attractive you are (or think you are), don't let your whole Instagram roll be photos of you in front of a mirror with the same expression... or worse yet, no particular expression.

Lastly (and coincidentally a good way to combat Mirror Shot Syndrome) find one of the 30/60/365 day photo challenges and take part (or even make up your own). You'll have to think outside of the box at times to find something within your day that's going to fulfil the challenge, and it makes you post something every day.
currently this is my second most popular photo2. Where and what

Once I've taken the shot, filtered it (I do love me some Lo-fi, but I've been equally obsessed with Hefe and X-pro II in the past), I always add some kind of description and a hashtag and if I'm out and about (and can find where I am in the app) a location.

I always prefer to add a description... and other people's photos without them sometimes feel a little unfinished. You don't even need to tell me what I'm seeing, but how you feel about it... "worse beverage ever" or "I love the colours of this" or "it took forever to get him to sit still" (and I bet you have a mental image for each of those descriptions already).

Adding locations is great, particularly when you're travelling (both for your own benefit as well as everyone elses) or at a major event... but also because once you've tagged a photo as being in a particular location, you can check out that location to see who else has posted photos in the same place over time!

Just think if everyone added The Garden of Unearthly Delights to their #GoUD photos this Fringe... how awesome would that be.

3. Hashtaggin it

Hashtags are good... hashtags are everybody's friend... I very often use the #adelaide and #streetart hashtags... or the #cloudporn and #foodporn hashtags... and I'm finding myself using the #lego and #minifigs hashtags more and more... #legoaddiction.

I also occasionally take a wander through hashtags that I've just used, just to see what's new.

One of the other things I discovered recently is that when you go back to an old photo and put a new hashtag on it, it shows up in that list of photos as though it was brand new (I will hold my hand up to accidentally spamming the #foodporn hashtag a few weeks ago).

However if I go to somebody else's photo and add a hashtag, it doesn't seem to include the photo in the list (it hasn't the couple of times I've tried it).

But while hashtags are everybody's friend... like a friend, you should never abuse the humble hashtag. I mean, cramming all the following tags into a single photo...

#instagram #iphonesia #iphoneography #igdaily #igoftheday #instagram_underdogs #instagood #igaddict #instahub #instamood #10likes #20likes #30likes #40likes #50likes #60likes

I don't mind some of these "meta" tags, like the #instragramYOURLOCATIONHERE idea, or #seeaustralia... but it's when it's all of them, all at once, all the time that bugs me.

And, really, if your photo has more than 40 likes (or more than 50 or more than 100 or whatever), does it really matter that it's included in the #10likes list?

this has the most comments of any of my photos4. Like what people you like like

Or, alternatively, like what people who like you like.

I like to check both the News and Following tabs in Instagram, to not only see who's liking my photos, but also what the people I follow are liking. It's led to me discovering a whole bunch of new and interesting (and often, barely clothed, which is nice) people to follow.

But even if I don't end up following them, I like to have a look at the people who like my stuff, maybe leave them a like if they have some good stuff.

And just because I'm a little strange, sometimes I don't want to like the same photo that one of my followers has liked, so I'll often go and look at their whole photo roll, see what else strikes my fancy.

Two things that bother me when I see them is people "begging" for likes (makes you look needy and insecure) and posting "follow for follow" type comments.

Oh, and another one. Never, ever like your own photos. I see a number of people doing that and I'm kinda baffled by it... why would you even bother?

The dot point edition

So, to sum up...
  • Photograph all the things (other than just yourself in the mirror)
  • Add a description
  • Use relevant hashtags
  • Add a location
  • Check your locations/hashtags for other peoples shots
  • Dont like your own photos, beg for likes or leave "follow for follow" comments
But that's just my two cents... what do you love about using Instagram, what bugs you and what are your top tips?

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