Over the past few months the world has gone Instagram-crazy. I see people snapping their food, their feet and more often than not, the sky. OK, I confess, I do too. Everybody’s doing it. In April alone we saw Facebook buy Instagram, in the same week that the team released the app to Android phones. It’s everywhere!
If you’re jumping on the Instagram bandwagon, let me tell you how to use it:
Step 2. Take a photo. You can take a photo in Instagram (the easiest option) or with your phone camera, or using another camera app. For simplicity’s sake, let’s take it with Instagram. Click the camera icon in the bottom panel, make sure you like what you see in the viewfinder and snap away.
Step 3. Choose a filter. You’ll see at the bottom of your photo a series of little trees, they’re the range of filters Instagram has to offer. Click through each to see how they change your photo. Select the one that works best with your photo.
Step 4. Add a frame or take it away. You’ll notice as you flick through the filters that many of them have different frames. If you like your photo with a frame, leave it as is. If you want to take the frame away, simply click the frame icon in the top left-hand corner.
Step 5. Mess with the tilt-shift focus. iPhone users will notice a teardrop at the top of their screen (sorry Android users, you don’t have this feature). Click this and select an option from the drop-down menu (circle gives a smaller area to blur and focus, while the strip will give you a long strip the width or height of the image). Move it around on your photo and you can make parts of your image in focus and the rest blurred. If you decide you don’t want this feature, just choose the teardrop again and click the ‘x’.
Step 6. Rotate and add some lux. You can also rotate your photo by clicking the arrow at the top of your screen. You can also add some lux by clicking the sun icon in the bottom left-hand corner. This adds sharpness and contrast. Once your photo is as you like it, click the green arrow.
Step 7. Add a caption. What do you want to say about your photo? Make it short, to the point and relevant. If you plan on also sharing your photo to Twitter, make sure you also keep it under 110 characters to make sure your message doesn’t get cut off. Captions are optional, but they do help tell your story.
Step 8. Add a hashtag. This is completely optional. Hashtags are a way for Instagram to group photos together. For instance, I run a photo a day monthly challenge where people take inspiration from daily prompts that I set and share them on Instagram. When people tag their photos, it means the community can click the hashtag and see each others photos. You might add a tag if you were traveling somewhere like New York (so #NewYork) so your photos could be pulled together with other photos of New York. You can create your own hashtag or use others that people have created, just click around an explore.
Step 9. Share with others. Before you publish your photo with the world, you can choose to share it with platforms other than Instagram. You can set up in your profile to publish to your Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr accounts, or even to email yourself a photo each time you publish. Once you’ve selected where you want to share it, click done.
Step 10. Be part of the community. Start by visiting your profile and clicking find friends. Instagram will show you Facebook and Twitter friends who use Instagram that you can add to your following feed. Like their photos, leave comments and find new friends by exploring the popular page, yours friend’s friend’s photos and hashtags too.
Instagram is fun and easy to use. Jump in. Start taking photos and sharing. And soon you’ll be taking photos of your lunch too.