10 quirky tips that seem to work wonders on Instagram
WORDS BY KAREN LIN
Instagram Queen (@ohbabyitskaren) and USYD Architecture student, Karen Lin, gives us the lowdown on how to make sure our social media game is on point all the time.
ONE: PAINT WITH LIGHT
People love a fascinating interplay of light and shadows, so good lighting is important. Well-composed, naturally lit photos immediately give off a professional vibe. This can easily be achieved by straightening the image, then upping the exposure by a couple of notches. Post-production can often bring photos to life, but if the photo looks beautiful even without a filter, then the editing process will be effortless.
TWO: PLAN OUT YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED
I know this may come across as a tad perfectionist, but don’t you just love the feeling of being organized and planning ahead? I use an app called VSCO to edit my photos, but you can also take advantage of its 3x3 grid layout to test out whether each new photo sits attractively beside the rest of your feed. It can also help you calibrate each of your edits so the photos look coherent throughout.
THREE: COLOUR COORDINATION IS KEY
Some profiles look incredible because the colour palette is consistent across each photo. You may prefer a particular hue, or pastel/vibrant colours, or even monochrome images. It doesn’t matter which colour scheme you adhere to, but if you play around you might notice an evolution of gradients as you scroll through your feed. By colour coordinating your pictures, they really flow together and make a grand statement.
FOUR: EXPRESS YOURSELF THROUGH A THEME
First impressions matter, so whether you’re into landscapes, portraiture, lifestyle, food, flatlays or art, it’s a great idea to stick to some sort of theme so your profile will look fantastic at first glance. It isn’t a necessity to adhere to a single topic, I’ve seen some users mix and match, and use colour as an anchoring point instead. But when you have a theme, it may be infinitely easier to make friends and find users with similar interests.
FIVE: BE STRATEGIC WITH GOOD TIMING
There are certain times of the day when users are more active. This may vary according to different time zones, but generally, posting during peak hour increases the chances of people seeing your photos before they get buried down the feed. Personally, 8-9pm in the evening works well for me, but it definitely pays off to experiment with timing and keep track to see which hours suits you best.This is even more important now that Instagram has introduced a new algorithm designed to let users see more of what they care about and less of what they don’t. Figure out how to use it to your advantage!
SIX: USE RELEVANT HASHTAGS
Don’t be afraid to use hashtags. I used to avoid them at all costs, until I discovered that behind each tag is a community of people who share common interests. Instead of using #likeforlike or #followme hashtags, maybe try to find tags that are relevant to your style (such as #openmyworld or #lifeofadventure for travel based accounts) for more genuine engagement. I often browse through related hashtags in pursuit of inspiration, then save the ones I like in a notes app, so I can simply copy and paste them each time I post a new photo.
Hashtags communities that may be an inspiration or starting point:
SEVEN: GIVE AND TAKE
Many people in the Instagram community are happy to like or follow back, but on your behalf it’s not just a matter of randomly liking/commenting on photos here and there. I’ve found it extremely worthwhile to engage with other users who share your interests, post similar types of photography, or shoot in the same city you do. This way, you increase the likelihood of genuine engagement that extends beyond the anonymous ‘ like’.
EIGHT: ENGAGE WITH FEATURE ACCOUNTS
Feature accounts are galleries dedicated to a specific topic or community, to promote outstanding photography. They’re often curated by passionate individuals, who comb through hundreds of photos to showcase the best of the best. Many of these accounts will mention a hashtag in their bio. If you use their hashtag, they may feature you by reposting your image with credit. But if they don’t, it can still spark new friendships and lead to other people discovering your photos, fostering an incredible sense of community.
NINE: BE AN ACTIVE PART OF THE COMMUNITY
It took me three and a half years of using this app to realize how big and vibrant the Instagram community is. You can make friends all over the world, and it’s a great way to suss out travel destinations, bucketlist items, and all the trendiest cafes and events happening in your local area. In Sydney, accounts like @sydneyfolk, @igerssydney and @globalnightsquad often host instameets, which are heaps of fun and open to all.
TEN: EXPRESS YOUR OWN CREATIVE FLAIR
It goes almost without saying that people are drawn to genuine characters. If you post things that express who you truly are or what you’re passionate about, you’ll find that like minded users will flock naturally to your account. Don’t fall into a habit of posting to impress, but rather, show the world what inspires you. Instagram exists as a form of self-expression, so take it easy, have fun, and embrace this world of infinite possibilities.