Instagram 101 for Fashion Photographers

This article originally appeared on Breed.

As a Fashion Photographer Instagram, should be among your most frequently used apps. It’s a great way to showcase your latest work, keep your followers updated, attract new collaborators, and impress new clients. But building a loyal and respective following isn’t done overnight. Here are 16 rules that will help you become the next Instagram superstar:

1. Quality over Quantity.

I understand, you don’t want people to forget about you or your work, so you’re constantly looking for photos to post in order to keep momentum going. Relax. Chances are your followers follow more accounts than just yours, and their lives do not depend on you updating your account every thirty minutes.

Instead of focusing on posting 24/7, keep your focus on your work, and only post when you’ve got a frame you really need to share. One great photo a day is worth way more than 10 uninteresting ones.

2. Pick a good username.

Don’t overcomplicate things. Pick a username that’s easy to spell, is as short as possible, and that makes sense. In the end you want to make it easy for people to find you, and chances are they won’t find you if your username has nothing to do with who you are and what you do.


3. Don’t buy your followers.

Again, one good (*and loyal) follower is worth a thousand …. yeah you get it.

4. Engage (like, like, like).

Make sure to connect with people by exploring new users and liking photos. Other Instagram users love a “like” just as much as you do, so chances are they’ll check out your profile once you’ve liked a few of their photos. And if you follow point 1 religiously, they’ll be stupid not to follow you.

5. The 1-2-3 Rule.

A good way to engage with other users is to follow the 1-2-3 Rule. When you post 1 photo, comment on 2, and like 3. You’re already on Instagram posting, so why not be effective and get some engagement in at the same time.

6. Don’t spam.

Share regularly, but don’t spam. If all of your photos are of high quality, make sure to spread them out. After posting, wait at least two to three hours before posting your next one. Not only is it annoying when someone’s hogging your whole feed, but strategy wise it isn’t ever clever to bundle your quality posts within a short timeframe as you’ll only reach the followers that are checking Instagram at that given moment. Spread them out and you’ll reach the masses.

7. Promote your account in existing channels.

If you’ve already got a decent following on other social networks, utilize it by letting them know you’re on Instagram as well. Make sure to add a link to your Instagram account on your website, Facebook fan page etc.

8. Mention people in your posts.

Posting a killer photo from your last shoot? Don’t forget to mention the model(s) in the photo and who you worked with on the shoot. Just because you pulled the trigger doesn’t mean the hair stylist shouldn’t be credited for his or her great work.


This will keep your team happy. Besides, they’ll probably return the favor and promote you to their fans.

9. Stay consistent.

I always stress this in all of my talks on the fashion photography business. Consistency is extremely important across the whole board. If people follow you for your amazing photos of models in cars, then that’s exactly what they followed you for. You still need to keep it interesting, but pay attention to what works for you and stick to it.

10. Hashtags.

Sure, hashtags are cool, but who really checks the #photooftheday or #nofilter hashtags? Keep them on the minimum, and stick to relevant ones like #breedpbd

11. Geotag your photos.

Shooting at a cool location or in a nice studio? Share it! People love a bit of extra insight into your fabulous life.

12. Connect your accounts.

Make sure to connect your account to Facebook and Twitter, and share your specific Instagram posts throughout your network. This is a great way to pull followers onto your Instagram account, but remember to follow point 6.

Timing is key.

13. NO FOOD.

You’re a fashion photographer for Christ’s sake. Your amazing bowl of oatmeal, your cute pets, or your kid’s first day of school has NOTHING to do with you as a professional fashion photographer.

No clients will ever book you for your photos of your Starbucks coffee. Just don’t.

14. No nudity.

Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t like a nipple quite as much as you do. You get three strikes, after the third your account is gone, and there’s no way to get it back. So censor the good stuff, or leave it for your portfolio or Tumblr.


Like above, nudity is allowed, just don’t show the good stuff.

15. No watermarks.

Adding watermarks is like pissing on your art in order to keep people from stealing it. This is 2014, get over it.

16. Behind the scenes

Yes, keeping all of the above in mind, you should post some behind the scenes photos once in awhile. But don’t post just anything, remember point 1.


Above is a great example of a BTS shot.


Remember to use Instagram as an extension of your brand identity as a fashion photographer, and not a playground where you just post anything.

Follow Breed on Instagram.

Marius Troy

Marius Troy is a multidisciplinary artist with extensive experience in brand building and art direction across fashion, web & photography.

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