Make the most of Instagram

Instagram gives everyone the chance to get creative with pictures. But how do you get started? Here are our tips to help you get the most from Instagram.
by
Make the most of Instagram

In 2010, as cameraphone technology was making pictures clearer and sharper, along came Instagram, an app that made pictures blurry and old-fashioned looking. Facebook liked the idea so much they paid $1bn for it in 2012. Don’t you wish you could think of something like that?

There’s a lot more to Instagram than making photos a bit blurry of course. We’re long-time fans of this great app here at The Lowdown. And we’re not alone. It now has over 300 million users. So what is it, exactly?

Instagram is a free photo sharing and social networking app. ‘Facebook for photos’, if you like. With Instagram, users can enhance their photos with cool filters and effects, and then share with followers and friends – simple, yet satisfying. So let’s sign-up and start making the most of Instagram.

SIGN-IN AND SET UP

To get started, download the Instagram app and create your profile.

Your account will automatically be made public, but you can change this to a private account if you want. Going private means you’ll be able to approve the people that can follow you and view your pictures and every time you add a photo, you’ll be given the choice of making it public or not.

FINDING YOUR WAY AROUND

The homescreen works just like your Facebook newsfeed, so you’ll see a running update of all the latest pictures uploaded by your friends. You can add comments, ‘like’ images by double-tapping them, or tap on your friend’s profile to see their other Instagram offerings.

If you fancy doing a spot of exploring, tap the magnifying glass icon and you’ll be able to delve into public photos that interest you, or search for people you know.

You can also keep up-to-date with what your friends are up to by tapping the heart icon. This takes you to your news screen, where you can see the most recent activity of all the people you follow.

CHOOSING A PHOTO

Trust us, there’s really not much point in actually taking pictures with the Instagram app. It’s much easier and more convenient to take photos using your normal camera, and then editing them on Instagram. For iPhone users there’s a neat little trick to quickly access your saved pictures – just hold and press the camera icon and voila! There’s your camera roll.

Remember that Instagram resizes your photos to perfect squares though, so you might need to think about where to crop your original image.

FUN WITH FILTERS AND EFFECTS

Instagram is famous for its range of filters that can transform your pics into retro fabulousness with just a click.

There’s also some cool editing features that let you play around with your filtered photos for even more dramatic effect. We managed to take a sun-kissed beach and transform it into a dark and moody landscape in a matter of seconds (by turning the saturation right down, and adding shadows).

The tilt-shit editing option has to be our favourite. It lets you add focus to a particular area of your image, and subtly blurs everything else. This gives your photos real depth and makes for some truly stunning, professional looking images.

GET ORGANISED, USE #HASHTAGS

When you’re uploading your pictures to Instagram, take your time to add information that will help them get found in the future.

Every picture tells a story of course, but you can help it out a little by adding a caption with some interesting background information – think about the kind of things your followers would want to know about your photo. You can also easily tag people and add locations.

And then there are hashtags. Adding a relevant hashtag (or two) is the best way of getting your pic seen by likeminded people.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a good hashtag, just think about what the main subject of the photo is. Try and be specific so your hashtags don’t get lost in the crowd. If you’re into supercars, for example, think #BuggattiVeyron rather than #car.

BE SOCIAL. LIKE AND BE LIKED…

Instagram is all about sharing stuff you like – and it’s this positive, simple philosphy that makes it the friendliest social network around.

Get into the Instagram spirit by ‘liking’ other photos, or adding favourable comments.

While you’re doing this, look out for interesting people to connect with. If someone likes the same thing you do, check out their stuff and give them a follow.

Be active, be social, and before too long you’ll start building up your own followers.

We hope the above advice helps. It would be great to hear your thoughts on Instagram. Do you agree that it’s the friendliest social network? Have you got any advice for new users? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

comments powered by Disqus
Our smartphone is our camera. Here are a few photo editing apps that The Lowdown regularly uses to t
We went hands on with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, two of Samsung's best sm
HTC EYE Experience introduces a range of new features to the front camera of HTC phones. Here's all

6 December, 2018
Taking pictures at night just got a whole lot better thanks to Google’s latest camera...
3 December, 2018
Find out which of these handy mobile apps and accessories will help you to stay toasty...
3 December, 2018
From accessories and apps to fabulously festive flagships – it’s time to sprinkle...
29 November, 2018
Stuck for festive gift ideas? Treat a loved one to one of these five affordable handsets...
28 November, 2018
Want to wow someone with an incredible tech gift this Christmas? We’ve rounded up...

23 October, 2018
Instagram Stories is a feature that lets you create stories with photos and videos...
23 July, 2018
If you're planning on jetting off somewhere nice this summer, our top tips for using...
10 July, 2018
Master your new iPhone with these tips for getting set up, using Siri, syncing with...
26 June, 2018
Watching the World Cup with fans of other teams can be fun. And if you're worried...
11 May, 2018
With the Snapchat Lens Studio, you can now create your very own Snapchat face filter...
28 March, 2018
Your phone screen shows loads of handy information, but have you ever wondered what...
21 February, 2018
Is your phone always running out of battery? A few of our tips below should help...
29 December, 2017
Your mobile phone contract is almost over, meaning it’s time to upgrade. Here’s our...
27 December, 2017
If you find yourself running over your mobile data allowance before the month is...
23 November, 2017
If you're thinking of buying a phone as a gift, there's a lot to consider. Use our...
8 November, 2017
Lots of phone owners end up paying over the odds when they're out of contract. We'll...
28 September, 2017
Are you confused about Nokia 8's Dual-Sight 'bothie' mode? Allow us to walk you through...