It is one of the fastest-growing social networks, but are you making the most of its photo and video features? Get some handy hints
When Instagram was launched in October 2010, it was an app for applying stylish filters to your photos and sharing them with friends. Six and a half years (and a $1bn acquisition by Facebook) on, it has 700m active users and a host of advanced features.
Its still simple to share a photo or a video now with a few taps. However, if you talk to some of the people who have tens or even hundreds of thousands of followers on the service, youll realise theres a lot to learn about mastering it.
From getting to grips with Instagrams recently introduced stories feature to making the most of hashtags and polishing your shots using other apps, here are some tips that could help, including advice from some of those popular users on how they manage their Insta-lives.
Get to grips with the editing tools
The most basic level of sharing on Instagram is to choose one of its filters: Clarendon, Hudson, Lo-Fi and so on. However, for photos you should also try the manual editing option, accessed by tapping the edit button at the bottom of the screen. You can tweak the brightness, contrast, warmth and other aspects of your photo, as well as sharpening it; apply a tilt-shift effect to blur out certain sections; play with an option called structure that can look striking. That said, think about how the results fit in with your overall feed.
Aim to develop a signature style of photography that makes your feed memorable and an image instantly recognisable as one of yours, suggests Estelle Puleston, who works at social-marketing agency CollectivEdge.
Dont switch from a bright Clarendon filter on one photo to a dark and moody Hefe on the next. Keep a theme going with the props and backgrounds within your photos too.
Try some other apps that work with Instagram
Most popular Instagrammers use other apps to polish their photos before sharing them.
I then like to use VSCO to add a filter. VSCO is great because you can create a customised filter, then copy and paste to all your images.
VSCO is cited by many of her peers on the service. It helps to do simple edits and also has a really good selection of filters, says London photographer Elena Shamis (@elensham), who has 128,000 followers.
If youre really keen, fashion and travel blogger Scarlett London (@scarlettlondon) recommends Um Un. It allows you to plan your feed in advance, track which of your posts are most popular and also hold pre-edited photos to post directly to the app.
Dont forget Instagrams own apps
Layout is a simple way to turn a number of photos into collages with a range of layouts, but all fitting in the traditional square format.
Boomerang takes a quick burst of 10photos and turns them into a video that loops back and forth and has become a popular tool for the stars ofInstagram.
Hyperlapse lets you shoot a video for as long as you like, then condenses it into a time-lapse clip while stabilising wobbly footage. Layout and Boomerang are available for iOS and Android, while Hyperlapse is iOS-only.