This won’t be an in-depth photography lesson - there are plenty of them out there – but if you do want to learn the basics of great photography I recommend this great post from Ken Rockwell
This post is about how to create an Instagram profile that your fans and customers will want to engage with.

Before we start, if you’re not sure about Instagram, then consider this; Instagram now has 300 million users, 30 million more than Twitter and posts on Instagram are receiving up to 50 times more engagement than on Twitter. The old quote “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been so true. Of course, not everyone will be this successful, but if you want to get in on the Instagram action, read on.

What to post

Instagram is your opportunity to show your brands personality. A great example of this is ASOS. Unlike many other fashion brands their posts aren’t just catalogue images. They post everything from their office lunches to pictures of cute dogs, and of course they do post clothing images, but they’re all lifestyle shots. This may sound like a random mix but ASOS have 2.5million followers so they must be doing something right.

If you’re a retailer, why not post some behind the scenes photos of your staff or show your fans an interesting part of your store that they might not usually see. If you can get permission, you could share a sneak peak of a new collection or display. Of course you should share product photos but try to make them interesting, get someone to use it or set it up in a nice location and take a snap. 

If you’re based in an office, don’t think you can’t post beautiful images. Get outside and post images from nearby, whether it is some nice city architecture or a countryside scene. If you have fun activities going on in your office, share them with the world to show you’re not just another faceless brand. Instagram isn’t about selling products, it’s about creating communities so don’t be scared to get creative and show some personality!

A good way to get your Instagram page going is to pick a theme for a week. It could be a colour, a pattern or a product type. Then all you have to do is post an image a day based around this theme; this is a quick way to come up with some engaging content that will bring your Instagram page together nicely. 

Pick your images wisely    

The beauty of Instagram is that your images don’t have to be professional standard studio shots; they can be quick snapshots captured on your phone, but this doesn’t mean that can be poor quality. Remember to follow the basic rules of photography, and even rules that are so basic no one ever mentions them; make sure the image isn’t blurry, the subject is in focus and the lighting is good. 

With Instagram you shouldn’t post as often as you do on Twitter. A good guideline is to post no more than 4 times a day; more than this and you’ll begin to look spammy so make sure the images you share are the best they can be.     

A great brand that has become famous for their brilliant Instagram page is Warby Parker. They sell glasses, which is not the most interesting industry, however they have gained over 150,000 followers with their simple yet stylish product shots and humorous looks behind the scenes. What they have proved, is with a little bit of personality most industries can be engaging.  


The editing feature of Instagram can be one of the best and worst things to ever happen to photography. On one hand it allows you to easily add subtle edits that can bring an image to life, and some of the preset Instagram filters can make your iPhone images look like they’ve come from a professional studio.

And why is it the worst thing? Too many brands and people over edit their images. They take a decent image and turn it into an over saturated mess of colour in a matter of taps. So just remember when you’re editing that less is more.

If you are going to edit your photo there are some great apps available. My favorites are Snapseed,  which is great for adjusting the lighting, straightening images and adding filters, and Overgram which allows you to add text and hashtags over your images. Instacollage is a great app for creating collages of multiple images in one Instagram post. 

If you’re using photos from cameras and editing on your computer,  try Lightroom for editing and send them over to your phone using Dropbox.  There are programs that allow you to upload to Instagram from your computer, but there are many horror stories’ of these ruining peoples Instagram feeds as they’re not authorised by Instagram, so I won’t  be recommending any of these.


Community is the most important part of Instagram; without a decent community nobody will see your images. There are no sharing options on Instagram, just favouriting and commenting so if you want people to see your images they need to find you. The easiest way to build a community is to engage with people and brands that your business is interested in and who may be interested in you. Comment on their images, like their photos and follow them. This way you’ll get noticed and if they like what they see on your profile, they’ll follow you back and engage with you.

Hashtags are another important part of Instagram. If you want your images to be seen by more than just your followers then hashtags are key. On Instagram, you can only search for images using hashtags so using them is important. The first tip is don’t be tempted to use hundreds of unrelated hashtags in the hope of gaining likes. You probably will gain likes, by they will be mostly low value, and over use of hashtags can make you appear spammy to real users.

Try to pick three or four popular hashtags that are related to your image. If you can incorporate these into the image caption, it looks even more natural.   

If you want to start making the most of Instagram, have a look at how Obergine can help you with your community managment