Instagram is one of the most widely used social media for photographers to showcase their work. With over 600 million users subscribed to Instagram, this predominantly photo sharing platform offers benefits like more exposure to work that often leads to increased followers and eventually more clients. However, it can turn out to be pretty hectic for a photographer to maintain and grow their Instagram account.
Extensive photo shoots coupled with editing and post processing work leave photographers with very little time for anything else. In such scenarios, maintaining an Instagram account can appear like a chore to them, still a lot of photographers go the extra mile to regularly post pictures and interact with their followers.
Not just time, photographers also end up investing in tools to manage their Instagram account. Undeniably, it’s a lot of work and money for a photographer, but it would all be futile if one doesn’t get the desired results.
However, they need to understand that like any other social media network, Instagram has its own nuances that can be learned and mastered to effectively promote one’s work, and using hashtags on Instagram is one of them.
What are hashtags?
Hashtags are keyword equivalent for social media, identified as a word or a phrase preceded by # (hash) symbol. These are used to filter and search content (pictures in the case of Instagram) on social media networks. Using hashtags effectively is key to promoting photography business on Instagram. If you are a photographer, who is looking to up their game on Instagram, the following tips could be effective to get ahead in the game.
So let’s begin with the basics.
1. Target your audience
Hashtags let you target and be discovered by people who are looking for specific content. For instance, if your work is centered around portrait photography, then using hashtags such as #portraitphotography or #portraits would help people searching for these keywords to find you and your images.
2. Keep the number of hashtags to less than 30
You should keep the number of hashtags to thirty or less.
Unless you recently started using Instagram, it would be difficult for me to believe that you haven’t come across this point. Almost every blog post on how to use Instagram to promote photography emphasizes this point.
If you haven’t started using hashtags yet, you can go back to your old posts on Instagram and add appropriate hashtags to them. You can either edit the caption or add hashtags in the comment. You can read Instagram’s official words on this account here.
3. Appropriate hashtags
Now that you understand that hashtags are important and can be very helpful to promote your photography on Instagram, how do you find the best hashtags for your photographs? Instagram is flooded with hashtags. Practically, you can find any word and any string of letters as a hashtag on Instagram. But not all are as effective as to take you on top of the pictures with the same hashtag.
There’s one simple way you can find out suitable hashtags for your pictures. It’s a simple ‘vetting’ process that you can use to scoop out workable hashtags on Instagram.
4. Vetting the popularity of a hashtag
As mentioned earlier, the popularity of hashtag isn’t a sign that your picture will be necessarily discovered by people looking for pictures with that hashtag. Consider this example, hashtags like #portrait_ig has more than 2 lacs pictures tagged while #portrait_ig_ is not more than 100 (as of the day of this post). It means that people looking at pictures with #portrait_ig might easily overlook your picture among other million photos, while there are pretty good chances that your photograph might grab the attention of Instagram users looking at pictures tagged as #portrait_ig_. Though, it also means that fewer people are searching for that hashtag. You have to find the balance between the popularity of a particular hashtag and its resonance with your images.
5. Avoid spam hashtags
A few tags such as #photooftheday, #beautiful, #love and more are hugely popular and count as many as 40 million pictures tagged under them at any time of the day. Hashtagging your pictures with these hashtags would be like throwing a needle in the haystack.
On the other hand, tagging your pictures with these hashtags you may invite spam comments as these tags usually have bots. The bots are programmed to comment on posts with particular tags, the common ones being ‘#love’, ‘#beautiful’, etc.
6. Be specific with your hashtags
The other problem with the above tags is they are non-specific. It means that a designer, a hobbyist, an interior designer, or basically every Instagram user can add to their picture. So if by chance, a wildlife photographer starts looking for a wildlife picture in a stash of pictures tagged as #photooftheday, he would find a decor image or a model’s picture, but not a wildlife picture.
7. Get featured on hubpages
Hubpages are your shortcut to fame on Instagram. Most of these pages have over a thousand followers and some even pride themselves with a million followers or more. You can find them across fashion, wildlife, travel, portrait, wedding photography and more.
You stand a chance to get followers once you get featured on these pages. In order to get featured by a hubpage, you need to tag your pictures with their corresponding hashtags.
At Pixpa, we admire great photography and our Instagram page is dedicated to our passionate photographers. We’d love to feature your pictures in case you decide to do so. Just tag your photographs with #pixpa.
8. Learn from the best photographers on Instagram
Among all the photographers on Instagram, a few photographers are doing extremely well. You can find photographers from all genres of photography–wedding, boudoir, landscape, portrait, wildlife photography and others. A good approach for you to up your game on Instagram would be to follow these popular photographers and track their hashtag usage. And try to incorporate their best practices into your own.
Here are some popular photographers on Instagram you can learn from.
Simone Bramante is an Italian photographer, whose work spans across landscape, portrait, and travel photography. And sometimes he even surprises his over 838k followers with surreal pictures.
Victoria Siemer is a Brooklyn-based photographer. The photographer’s Instagram handle @witchoria is justified by her work, that fascinates her 171k followers with supernatural overtones in her pictures.
Dave Yoder is a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. His travel stories around the world are inspirational and insightful.
Having won National Geographic’s Traveler of the year award, Theron Humphrey gives a reason why he has over 1 million followers. His Instagram is filled with pictures of his pet pooch Maddie, that makes it mandatory for pet lovers to follow him.
9. Popular hashtags for photographers
Some of the most popular hashtags on Instagram that you can use as a photographer to promote your pictures are listed below. The accompanying number indicate the number of posts tagged with the corresponding hashtag as of the day of publishing this article.
#landscape (over 54 million) #landscapephotography (over 39 million) #landscapelover (over 5 million) # landscapehunter ( over 6 mn) #landscape_lovers (over 4.6mn)#landscapeporn (over 0.1 million) #landscape_lover (over 0.4 million) #landscapephotographer (over 79 k) #landscapephotograph (over 9.7k) #landscapegrapy (over 4.9k) #landscapegraphers (over 1.9k) #landscapephotografy (over 2.6k) #landscapephotograhy( over 2.6k) #landscapegraphie (over 1.4k) #landscapephotog (over 245 k)#landscapegaphy ( 506 posts)#landscapephotogrpahy (over 400 posts)
#portraitphotography (over 3.5 mn) #portraiture (over 2.2 mn) #portraits (over 4.2 million) #portrait_ig ( over 0.2 mn) #portraits_ig (over 0.89 mn) #portraitmood(over 2.2 mn)
#portraitphotographer (over 0.82 mn) #portraitphotograph(over 5.7k) #portraitphotographers (6.5 k) #portraitphotograpy (over 2.5k) #portraitpohotograhy over (1.4k) #portraitphotograher( over 1.2k) #portraitphotografy ( 712 posts )#portraitgraphie ( 558 posts)
#boudoir (over 1.4 mn) #boudoirphotography (over 0.5 million) #boudoirphotographer (0.15 mn) #boudoirphotoshoot (over 16k) #boudoirmodel( over 27k )
#wedding (over 78 million) #weddings (7.6 million) #weddingphotography (over 7.5 mn) #weddingphotos (0.5 mn) #weddingphotos (1.9 mn) #weddingphotographer(over 5.5 mn) #weddingphotoshoot (over 88k) #weddingphotobook (over 5.8k)
#fashionphotos(40k) #fashionphotographer (over 1.3 million) #fashionphotography (over 5.4 mn) #fashionphotoshoot (over 0.12 mn) #fashionphotograph (over 22k) #fashionphotpgraphers( over 37k)
#wildlife (9.2 million) #wildlifeonearth (76k) #wildlifeaddicts (0.1 million) #wildlifeplanet (0.4 mn) #wildlife_seekers (0.3 million)
#sportsphotography (over 0.5 million) #sportsphotographer (over 1.1 million) #sportsphoto (41k) #sportsphotojournalist (999)
It’s also advisable to use respective sports tags such as #soccer, #fifa, #baseball #rugby, and other relevant sports tags that can lead to reaching out to the target audience on Instagram.
We hope the above tips help you to promote your work on Instagram. Also, do share with us any tips on using hashtags that may have proven effective for you.