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How to be an ace at Instagram

How to be an ace at Instagram

I am slightly (ok more than slightly) obsessed with Instagram.

I’ve had a personal account for a long while, but it was only when I opened an account for this blog that I became overly excited about it and started checking it multiple times a day.

I’ve spent the last few months testing out different ways of making it work for me. I’ve been posting on average 1-2 new photos to Instagram every day (one first thing in the morning and another late afternoon), and I’m getting a steady flow of new followers.

Whether you’re an aspiring travel blogger, or just want to proudly show off the awesome travel experiences you’re having to the people you know, Instagram is a great tool for sharing and gaining a following.

Want to get more followers, take better photos, and be generally awesome at Instagram? Here are my 6 tried and tested tips to becoming an Instagram pro!


1. Choose a theme for your feed

My theme is obviously travel related – I upload my travel photos that I’ve used in my most recent blog posts, plus some older travel photos and the occasional spontaneous pic when I’m out and about.

Themes can vary greatly. Yours could be anything from pics of your home town, food photos from local cafes, or your quest to try every pizza in your city.

Not every photo has to abide by your theme, but having one makes your feed more interesting. Take photos that fit generally within your theme and keep it fairly consistent. That way, when people that are interested in your theme check out your feed, they’ll be more likely to follow you.


Now that’s one helluva beach! I guess Los Angeles does have something going for it, after all 😉

A photo posted by Ashlea @AGlobeWellTravelled (@aglobewelltravelled) on

2. Upload great Photos

I mostly take photos with my DSLR, transfer them to my laptop, touch them up and resize them in Photoshop, then upload them to Instagram.

It’s best if the photo is fairly high quality before you upload it to Instagram. I keep mine at a minimum of 1500px wide to avoid pixelation.

If you’re using your phone to take photos, make sure they’re the best quality you can get. Most of us are guilty (myself included) of occasionally uploading blurry, under/overexposed photos at some stage. If possible, use only good quality photos to make your feed look fabulous.

Most importantly, make sure the photo you’re uploading looks good in a square or portrait format. Landscape oriented photos don’t do as well on Instagram, so there’s no point uploading something that was meant as a panorama. It just won’t look good.


3. Don’t go overboard on the filters

One of Instagram’s recent features is that you can scale your filters. I think this is GREAT, as some filters go a little overboard. So if X Pro makes your pic a little too dark, you can double tap on the filter and scale it down to 50%.

Take note of anything that might make your photo look better. Are the shadows a little too dark, or could the colours be a little brighter? Use Instagram’s tools to scale the brightness and saturation levels. The vignette tool (darkening the areas around the edge of your photo) is also a great way to draw your eye to the centre of your photo.

By the way, I know it’s tempting to up the saturation level to 100, but please try and keep it real! There’s nothing worse than seeing a pic where the user has been a little tap-happy with the saturation.


4. Use hashtags

I follow a bunch of accounts that re-post great travel photos. These accounts have hashtags that they use to search for Instagrams to re-post, so I post these hashtags in a comment immediately after I upload the photo (so that my description isn’t overrun with hashtags!). Try to limit your hashtags, I think 15 or less is best.

Even if my image does’t get re-posted, it will often get liked by the account and some other people who follow the same account. It’s common for people to go through the hashtags to see what other people are submitting.

It’s also helpful to use hashtags for the location of your photo as other users might search for photos of particular places. For the photo above, I used #BostonPublicLibrary #Boston #BostonUSA #bostondotcom #massachusetts #igmassachusetts #VisitMA #BostonMA #VisitBoston #discoveramerica. Anyone who searches any of these hashtags will see my pic come up the feed.


I walked all the way across the Manhattan Bridge while it was raining and 1℃ (34℉) just to get this shot! The things we do for a photo, hey.

A photo posted by Ashlea @AGlobeWellTravelled (@aglobewelltravelled) on

5. Tag high-profile users relevant to your image

Before you upload an image, search for a user that might be associated with your photo. If you’re in a café eating a fab meal and take a photo of the avocado and eggs on toast that you’re about to eat, see if the café has an Instagram account, and if they do, tag them in your description. This will increase your chances of getting followers from other users that have eaten at the café, and your photo might get re-posted and get more recognition.


6. Be social

I often go through the hashtags or geotags that I’ve used and see who else has used it, then I like/comment on some other great photos. By doing this, people will know that I’m interested in their photos and in return they might check out my profile.

When people like or comment on your photo, return the favour! Head into their profile and if you see anything you like, comment on how awesome it is. They’ll appreciate the gesture and might follow you once they know how approachable you are.


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Ashlea Wheeler

Blogger & Photographer at A Globe Well Travelled
I'm Ashlea, an excitable Australian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

21 Responses to “How to be an ace at Instagram”

  1. Jessie Broad

    This is a great post! I’ve been a bit nervous about adding another social media aspect to my blog, but after reading this it doesn’t seem so scary! Thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Jessie! I know exactly what you mean – it’s scary to think about handling a million different social media platforms at once. I tried concentrating on one at a time for a few weeks, then once I’ve got the hang of it I move on to the next. Best of luck with building your following!

      Reply
  2. Sarah

    I, too, became Instagram obsessed after I added one for my blog. I love tip number 5 and will definitely be following some of the mentioned accounts. Another tip that I find useful is to edit your phone photos before uploading to Instagram. I use an Adobe photoshop app on my phone to do that.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      That’s a fabulous tip Sarah, a lot of people don’t know how to use Photoshop like I do so an image editing app is definitely the next best thing!

      Reply
  3. Jamie

    With all of the social media platforms out there, Instagram is one of my favorites for promoting a blog. It’s easy to connect with others and find other bloggers. I definitely agree with all of these tips. Relevant hashtags help so much! 🙂

    Reply
  4. Chalsie

    I adore your blog here!! Super excited I’ve found you. Great Instagram tips, definitely going to head over there now and follow you 🙂

    Chalsie x

    Reply
  5. Mindy

    Great post! Thanks for the information! This is something I have been trying to do as well. Do you still use your personal one at all or did you retire it? Is it possible to have two instagram accounts from the same phone?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I’m glad you found it useful Mindy! I still use my personal account very occasionally, but it’s kind of a pain because you have to log out and log back in to Instagram every time you want to switch accounts.

      Reply
  6. Richelle @AdventuresAroundAsia

    I’ve read a few posts about how to use Instagram for Travel Bloggers, but this one was very helpful. I just started following those accounts you listed, and used some of the hashtags of a few of my photos, and I’ve already gotten tons of new likes and follows. Thanks so much for sharing! Also, I’m now following you 🙂

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Celia, I’m really glad you like it! If there’s anything you’re interested in hearing about, please let me know 😀

      Reply
  7. Wayne

    great information many thanks! Just a quick question – do you save your high res photos to your phone before uploading? Wasn’t sure if you can upload the photos straight from pc/Mac to Instagram? Ta!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Wayne! Most of the time I take the photos with my DSLR camera, reduce the size and sync them to cloud storage, then access the file from my phone to upload to Instagram 🙂

      Reply
  8. Mumun

    Uuu some nice pointers, especially the one to tag the venue where you eat or where you are. Cool!

    Reply

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