2015-03-30_1427756661-small.jpgThere’s nothing a photographer enjoys more than a compliment on their work. It’s no wonder photographers spend so much time on Instagram—they just love those likes! 

So how does one rack up the most possible likes? Today I’m going to give you some tips to help you maximise yours.

Build Your Network

The first thing to mention is that getting likes is as much about the way you use Instagram as it is about the photos you post, in fact probably more so. You could post the most amazing photographs ever made, but if you have no followers, nobody’s going to see them. So first and foremost you need to build your network.

Be Recognisable

Find out who among your friends is using Instagram and follow them—hopefully they’ll follow you back. It’s more likely they’ll recognise your username is a version of your own name. If it’s not, then make sure that you are recognisable from your profile photo. Use an image that shows just your head and shoulders, because often users will just see a small version.

Build Your Portfolio

When you’re starting out on Instagram, you need to build up your portfolio a bit by posting some images. You might want to look through your archives and pick out some of your favourites and start with those. Bear in mind that you don’t have to post only images taken with your smartphone; many professionals post images taken with their DSLRs. You can, for example, email an image to yourself and open it on your smartphone and post it from there.

Be Social

It’s important to remember that Instagram is more than just a photo-editing app, it’s also a social network. In order to maximise it’s potential, you need to be an active participator. Don’t just post awesome photos and hope for scores of likes and comments. You have to give love to get love. So give some likes to other users, and more importantly, make some comments. When you take the time to make a comment, it’s more likely that the recipient will click through to your profile and perhaps start to follow you.

If you are very “like-focussed” you might want to avoid following people who already have tonnes of followers, because it’s less likely they’ll have time to check out your work.

Time Your Posts

Instagram is a feed, where the latest images sit at the top and are quickly replaced by new images. So it’s likely that the images you post will only be visible in the feed for a short window of time. In order to maximise the number of users seeing your new images, try to post at times that people are most likely to be checking their social media, after work for example. There’s a really handy app called Latergram which allows you to schedule your posts, which is really handy if you want to line up a week’s worth of posts in one sitting.

The Hashtag

Of course one of the most powerful features of Instagram is the humble hashtag. The hashtag is the means by which images are grouped together, and if used correctly, can increase your visibility greatly. Find out what the most popular hashtags are and see if they are relevant to your images. I would avoid using too many hashtags however, as I think it hurts your credibility. Find your niche, whether that’s photos of people or architecture, travel or landscapes, and seek out other users who are posting similar images. It’s likely that they’ll have a cache of relevant hashtags that you can use too.

Do you have any techniques for getting more likes? Feel free to share them in the comments section. Oh, and if you want to find me on Instagram, look for junaphoto. 

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Justin Morrison
I am a professional photographer, working in motion and stills. I create portrait, lifestyle and documentary work, and I strive to tell real and authentic stories. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia.