Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Instagram Tips for Beginners.

I have found myself becoming more and more interested in my photography over the last few weeks. This has led to me seeing a surge of new followers on my Instagram account and, in turn, I have discovered a great number of talented photographers. My rediscovered love of photography coincides with my rediscovered love of gardening and walking. I have neglected to blog recently because I have been outside, enjoying looking after my allotment and walking through the countryside. Obviously I have been home at times too... I haven't been wandering like a nomad...

The thing I have realised about Instagram... durrrr.... after being on it for years... is that it is an interactive place. For a long time I sat waiting for people to come and find my photos and shower me with love and admiration. Yes... I know... sickening. And stupid. Because you have to show love to get love. This does not mean that you should follow everyone in sight, no matter what their photos are like. No. But you do need to find people whose photos you like and you need to tell them that you like them. And you need to follow them. Then, hopefully they will follow you back and you can appreciate each others photographical endeavours! (I'm not sure photographical is a real word, but I'm going to use it...)

A good way to find people and to enable them to find you, is to use hashtags. When you post your photo, add a little description and some hashtags. For example... for the photo above, my most liked photo, I put descriptive tags such as #daisy #macro #flower Then people interested in those things can search and will find your photos! Easy! And look at other people's hashtags too... If you like what's clustered there... use the tag for your work!! Its a simple way of finding like minded Instagrammers.

Some people recommend following as many Instagrammers as possible, randomly, but I think this is silly advice. To be following 2000 people when you have 100 followers smacks of desperation to me. The most important factor in all this is ... the photographs. Why be on Instagram if you don't love finding interesting things to photograph? And why follow people unless their photos fill you with joy? Equally I am unlikely to follow someone who has 10,000 followers, but is only following back 200...I'd rather find someone who has 50 followers, but takes great photos and will interact. I am a bit needy... I love it when people follow my Instagram account. I will look through their photos and follow them back if they are good.But if I look at their page and its full of selfies and cats... then I'm afraid I won't follow. Its all about individual taste.

What I would say is that if you click on lots of someone's photos and obviously like what they are doing... why not follow them? I have had people who like 20 of my pictures, but who don't follow, don't interact. It galls me!! I don't mind if you don't like my photos and don't want to follow me, or if you only like one or two, but to like loads and not give me the courtesy of a follow is just... well, I could say rude, but I will say "mildly irritating" instead. After all, this is not the UN here.

My husband doesn't "get" my obsession with Instagram. He thinks the whole "follower" thing is silly, but I don't!! I love scrolling through someone's photos clicking "like" and gasping at the beauty in that little square box.I love it when someone I admire follows me back. I love it when I find a new angle, a hidden gem, and know that it will make a good photo. I know that I am not in the league of professional photographers, but I am in the league of people who take pleasure in snapping away with their phone. That's part of the joy for me... that I only use my phone... no special lenses, rarely any filters.

So... what I am trying to say is that Instagram is a place of huge variety. From flowers to food, from selfies to seascapes. Whatever your photographic preference there will be something for you to enjoy, but to enjoy Instagram fully... interact!! Post your best photos, think about your composition, make sure they are in focus ( note to self: always wear your specs to check!!) and follow people whose work you like. If people comment on your photos... comment back, thank them. Its great when someone takes the time to say they like a photo you've posted, so give them back some love!! Another good idea is to check out the photos your followers like. Its a great way to find new Instagrammers and the chances are that if your followers like your stuff, you will like the other people they follow. Its also a great way to find inspiration and to learn new ideas.

Whether you have a few followers or lots, quality always wins over quantity. Maybe I'll see you over there!


Angie Silver said...

I agree. There seems to be too much 'follow for a follow' going on in blogging. I think we should just enjoy the photos we're interested in!
Lots of love,

joy said...

Thanks for this, SHW, I'm fairly new to instagram, but like you, I love photography, so I think my tack will change, at the moment everyone I follow seems to be on Slimming World or Weightwatchers so all I see (and post, if I'm honest) is pictures of food. I admit I dont take many pictures with my phone, as I haven't yet worked out a way of getting them on to my PC.
Joy x x

Sarah Pellew said...

Hi Angie
Thanks for commenting! Glad you like the post. I think sometimes we forget what its all about don't we? Sarah xx

Hello Joy!! Its all about experimentation I think! I like your photos - they tell a story and open a window onto your life. I'm so glad you are on Instagram!! Sarah xx btw I've updated my post a bit by talking about hashtags, which might be of interest to you

Sadie said...

I'm glad you're enjoying Instagram so much. I'm not on there myself. Or FB. A blog and Twitter are more than enough for me.

Your photos are gorgeous.

Now. About that Chive .....

joy said...

Thanks, Sarah, I'll give that a go.
I'm flattered you like my photos.
Joy x x

Sarah Pellew said...

Hi Sadie! Thanks. I'm glad you like my photos!! And I understand what you mean about having more than enough to do with a blog and twitter!! #Savethechives !!!

Hello Joy. Good! I have noticed you hashtagging!! x

Briella Lane said...

I adore instagram and I definitely post to it for the likes and praise!!! Idiotic to admit I know. I have developed some really lovely virtual friendships from it as well though. It is good to find people with shared interests. I am @eaff1.

Sarah Pellew said...

Hello Briella Lane... @eaff1 !! I have followed you!! x