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Given the fact that I (quite openly) hate social media, I find myself searching for Instagram tips at least once a week. Unfortunately, every social media platform changes so often that I feel the need to do a ton of research on them in order to keep up.
Thankfully, I came across Mark McGee Photos’ Instagram Tips for 2021 video. In it, he outlines 10 easy to implement Instagram tips for even the most clueless among us.
I’m going to give you an easy-to-read format so that you don’t have to watch the full video if you don’t have time to. Here are Mark McGee’s 10 Instagram tips for photographers this year.
Focus on the Aspect Ratio
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As Mark notes in his video, his first tip isn’t specific to 2021. In fact, it has made the top of all sorts of Instagram tips lists since the mid 2010s. But, it’s still important.
You need to focus on your aspect ratio. Think about it. When you’re scrolling through Instagram, it takes you less than a half of a second to determine whether you want to stop on a specific photo or not. A photo’s aspect ratio allows you to make that determination.
You should be aiming to create photos that are 1080x1350 pixels. That is because these photos will take up the entire space that you have.
So, whenever you’re taking photos for your Instagram, always take them in portrait mode. It’s one of the easiest ways to learn how to get better Instagram engagement.
Upload More Than One Image At Once
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You know how Instagram will let you upload up to 10 images on the same post? That’s because Instagram wants you to upload up to 10 images at once.
So, simply by playing by Instagram’s rules, you can help yourself get seen. Instagram is trying to build a platform that will prevent people from going to other platforms. When you upload multiple images at once, you help keep Instagram’s audience engaged for a longer time.
Of course, you do need to be mindful that all of the images you’re uploading in one post make thematic sense. So, either they are all from the same photoshoot, they’re all of the same product, or they all have the same editing style.
Most Instagram tips are pretty simple in the end, like this one.
Stop Worrying About Likes
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If you’ve ever read any other Instagram tips before, especially if you did so a few years ago, then you may have gotten some bad info. That’s because a few years ago Instagram was more focused on likes.
But, in 2021, you need to stop worrying about getting those likes. The Instagram algorithm doesn’t care about them as much as you do. Instead, you should be focused on getting comments, saves and shares.
One way to do this is to ask your followers questions in your captions. These questions can be about the images themselves, or they could be about the area where the images were taken.
But, since shares are the most important of all the Instagram interactions, you need to be focused on them.
Mark suggests that you focus on creating content that nobody has ever seen before as the easiest way to get tons of people sharing your work. Of course, this is easier said than done and when you’re looking at Instagram as a business tool, it may be a little bit harder to be this creative. So, perhaps one of the best Instagram tips is to simply try and be your most creative self.
Post More Videos
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One of the easiest Instagram tips for 2021 is to start posting more videos.
Instagram is competing with platforms like TikTok to keep their user base engaged longest and videos help Instagram to do just that. So, Instagram rewards photographers who post videos over photographers who only post stills.
Plus, posting videos is so easy. Your phone is more than capable of shooting exquisite videos that you can post on the go. Behind-the-scenes video footage is especially interesting because it ties back to the content you care more about.
Use the “First Hour”
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While some Instagram tips are easier to understand, a great many of them make very little sense. This is one of those Instagram tips that you just have to memorize.
Instagram uses the first hour after a post to gauge whether that post is “important” or not. I don’t know who was in charge of picking such an arbitrary amount of time, but it’s just the way it is.
This means that it is absolutely necessary for you to post all of your images/videos when you know they will get the most engagement within an hour.
It also means that you need to be on Instagram regularly for the full hour after making a post so that you can respond to every comment. This, in turn, will create even more comments and will make Instagram like you better.
Use a Creator/Business Account
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If you started a personal account when you started your photography business, one of the most important Instagram tips I can give you is to switch to a creator account as soon as possible.
Creator accounts allow you to see all sorts of analytics about your posts. You will see what percentage of men vs. women are interacting with your posts, when your followers are most active during the week and each day, and where your followers are physically located.
All of these analytics are going to be important for you because they will help you determine what kind of content your followers likely love and when you should be posting it.
Post Professional-Grade Self-Portraits
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If there’s one place you can shamelessly post selfies, it’s Instagram. Selfies allow you to connect better with your clients. It puts a face and a name to your business and I highly recommend that you post selfies on this platform.
But, you’re a professional photographer. So, your selfies shouldn’t be run of the mill. Get yourself some proper equipment and start taking professional-grade selfies. Elevated selfies won’t only allow you to connect with your customers, but they will allow you to show off your creativity, which will get you more followers in the long run.
Don’t Let Instagram Compress Your Photos
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Obviously, you want to post the highest quality images to your Instagram as possible. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t have enough space for you to do so and if you export your photos with the highest resolution possible, Instagram will compress them for you.
To prevent that from happening, you need to put your photos in Photoshop and change your image quality to 72%. Now, this isn’t an exact science. It is just Mark’s preference. So, you can play around with the exact image quality that you think works best for your photos.