I love Instagram. I love sharing my photos, writing captions. I love finding inspiring/lovely/funny people to follow, and I love checking my favourites and seeing what they’ve created.
However, the Instagram vortex sucks me in time and time again, and I hate that. Maybe you do, too. Maybe you don’t like going on there to upload a picture and then looking up from your phone a few hours and likes later! Maybe, like me, you sometimes find yourself posting photos that really don’t resonate with who you are. Maybe you’re just looking for ways to connect more efficiently with more Instagrammers. If that sounds like you, here’s some reminders – for the both of us:
1 | Be yourself
Share how much you want to share, what you want to share, when you want to share. Show your personality and your heart. It feels lousy to be someone different on Instagram than who you are in real life. The greater the dissonance between our selves and how we portray ourselves on social media, the greater the disengagement with our souls and other souls. Don’t feel you have to share the fanciest pictures or create the perfect setting of your coffee- especially if it took you two hours and one meltdown to make it. I mean, if it took that long to make coffee, you probably deserve a nice picture of it.
2 | Share words from your heart
Quotes, songs, and your own words. Tell your story. Talk about the things that make you tick- that make you stoked to wake up in the morning- or that don’t. The things you’re passionate about and the things you hate. The things that motivate you and encourage you. And share words from others that really speak to you. Don’t forget the funny stories that happen in the behind-the-scenes of the photos you’re sharing! (@happysleepyfolks)
3 | Share your favourite photos from your life
Your favourite moments, your every day life, photos that you love- that’s the beauty of community. If you are always sharing professional photos that you take and never candid ones, there’s usually limited connection. The everyday nitty-gritty is awesome and encouraging to see, as well as the everyday beauty of your life.
4 | Make friends
Comment, like, follow, interact. KEY. Reply to the comments on your page and regularly interact with other Instagrammers. This is all part of building a sweet community! And there’s a lot of micro-communities on Instagram for whatever your life situation, job, interests, loves, and even health issues may be. It’s pretty cool.
5 | Grow your craft
Become better. Work on how you frame photos. Learn to utilize light in the best ways. Take an iphoneography class. Notice the beauty in the smallest things – or the biggest! Figure out what apps help you edit in the way that matches your personality and style the best. I use VSCOcam exclusively, but have used apps like PicTapGo, Afterlight, etc. There’s some pretty nifty ones out there. Experiment! (#subjectlight)
6 | Be consistent
With your style of photos, as well as when/how often you post. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like posting too often, then post once every few days around the same time of day. If you love sharing a couple times a day, pick the times and set aside a couple minutes to post. There’s a fine balance to this- we don’t want to get stuck in ruts (it’s just Instagram, after all)- so switch it up every once in a while. The same goes with the style of your photography, to an extent. We are always changing, growing, learning- and so will your style- so don’t be afraid to change. The key is to realize who you are, what your style is, and how that affects your photography. We’re all different and it’s pretty sweet. I love how @kaihlatonai (fellow Free Woman), @_rebeccasiewert, and @simplyrosiephotography are consistent in their art.
7 | Hashtag wisely
Find the hashtags that you like and that work for you, and use them. I find that I connect with more people when I use a few really good hashtags rather than just slapping the same 30 hashtags on everything. Look into the communities you want to be a part of, and see what hashtags they’re using to connect with eachother.
8 | Escape the vortex
I enjoyed an Instagram-free weekend recently and it was the best. Not everything needs to be shared, and it’s super nice to have memories that are just between you and the person you made them with. One idea is to set aside days to step away from the phone/app. Another idea is to set aside ten minutes here and there during the day/week, then stick to JUST those minutes for posting and connecting- but stay away from it the rest of the time. Figure out a workflow that best serves you, the time you have, and the goals you are achieving.
9 | Relax
It’s just Instagram. I realize that this kind of nullifies everything I just said, but seriously- just relax (banging myself on the head with this right now).
Be you, live your life, achieve your goals, and share those photos along the way. We love to see them and we love to hear what you’re up to. But, like I had to be reminded this week – life is life. It’s about what’s going on in the photos, about the people in them, that matter.