Instagram is absolutely booming!
Recently they announced they had reached over 500 million monthly active users and its also the 4th most downloaded app in the USA alone, with over 40.4 million downloads between Jan – Jun 2016. So there’s no doubting that figure will double over the next five or so years.
The platform is simple to use, instantly social, conveniently mobile and fun to create and explore. It also allows you to add a dash of nostalgia and filter to your hearts content with it’s many filters, so no wonder it’s as big as it is.
If you’ve not downloaded it yet, where have you been? Grab your phone and let’s get going!
The guide below will help you familiarise and bring yourself up to date with one of the coolest things around!
As we just mentioned, Instagram comes bundled with a number of free built-in filters and basic editing tools, with one of the most interesting being an adjustable tilt shift effect to create focus.
This is the best one to begin experimenting with, but if you’re up for a challenge, there’s a lot more to choose from, including;
Wood Camera features an expansive suite of lenses and textures, and you can save photos offline if they are personal
Camera+ is a powerful and popular editing tool, especially for adjusting lighting and clarity levels for crisp sharp images.
Picfx offers over 100 fun effects and 13 different styles including bokeh, and you can layer effects for added impact.
The simplest way to connect with other Instagram users is to add #hashtags to your photos to best describe the content.
This allows others to find and ‘like’ or comment on your photo, and for you to browse topics that interest you.
Celebrities gather most of their followers via using hashtags and so could you. Instagram even highlights hashtags which are popular as you type.
Join an Instagramers group
A great way to indulge your passion for Instagram and to network with fellow addicts is to join your local Instagrammers (Igers) group. There are thousands of groups worldwide, and if your city isn’t featured, you can apply to start one!
‘Igers’ groups organise events, competitions and most commonly, InstaMeets, where you can meet the person behind the screen-name and share tips or ideas, or participate in a photo-walk.
View by Location
Several apps have appeared to offer photo viewing by location, which can be a pleasant way to learn more about what’s happening in your neighbourhood or in other parts of the world.
Instamap is an app available on mobile and ipad enabling you to browse Instagram photos by location on a map. You can subscribe to geographical locations, venues, users or tags and see the photos as they get posted.
InstaEarth also offers viewing via location but is available to browse on computer. Search photos by location, by user or by tag and also find photos taken near you.
Instagram is predominantly a mobile focused interface, though it does have some online presence through its blog and updated viewing feed.
The functions available are still limited, but fortunately there are excellent third-party web apps which allow you to continue your passion while surfing the net at home (or, at work… *cough*)
Our favourite viewer is Webstagram , one of the original and most popular web-based Instagram apps with lots of options to explore random images, search for specific hashtags or users, and like or comment on photos.
Bonus features include seeing the hottest 100 hashtags, most popular filters, and a forum and personal messaging for added communication.
The square format of Instagram photos lends itself very well to grid-style presentations. These apps turn your photos into colourful mosaic backgrounds to brighten your day:
InstaWallpaper is a versatile online site which generates wallpapers to suit your phone, ipad, laptop or any other screen device. Not only can you create using your own photos, but of other public users, by tags, or by set categories. Choose the layout, spacing and colour, and download instantly for free
Screenstagram is an Instagram-driven screen saver, which pulls photos from the ‘popular’ feed in Instagram, or you can log in to use photos from your feed and people you follow.
Printing your photos
There will come a time when you are so pleased with your Instagram photos that you want to present them in the physical world. A selection of fun products available include:
This is a fast, convenient and ridiculously good-looking way to print your Instagram photos in a soft or hard-cover book for you to share with family and friends.
You can choose a timeframe to select your images, for example by month or year, and now you can filter by #hashtag to select your #bestoftheday, #50likes or #blackandwhite photos in a book. Create a free PDF to keep, and purchase includes free delivery worldwide.
Instacanvas allows you to print your images on quality stretched canvas, or framed posters, desktop prisms, and even iphone covers.
Best of all, there is the ability to sell your photos to others as products or buy a photo you really love. In this manner, you can also browse and discover new Instagram accounts to follow.
Stickygram converts your favourite images into fun magnets to adorn your fridge. There are nine to a sheet, and you can also buy gift certificates.
Our final tip is to backup your Instagram photos on a regular basis, just to be safe. An easy and frictionless way to do this is via PastBook’s Instaback service, which downloads all your Instagram photos and emails a link to your handy zip file, for free.