How To Be An Instagram Whiz in 10 Easy Steps

by Be Heard on April 17, 2012

in Tech

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 1. Download the Instagram app (here for Apple products and here for Android users). It’s free. I’ll wait here while you get it, and take photos of my lunch.

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.

Chantelle is the founder of blog FatMumSlim and social media editor at Kidspot. She lives and breathes social media, blogging and loves nothing more than to read a great magazine, take photos of everything and be with her little family. Oh, and eat cake.
Nanette April 17, 2012 at 11:58 am

Great tutorial! I’m relatively new to Instagram, and I had no idea about the lux option. Excited to play around with it.

Amber April 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I also had no idea about the lux option! Must try! Thanks for this.

Kim April 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Cool, I usually use Hipstamatic because i don’t want to clutter up everyones stream with my mundane junk, but I might try it now.

ASuburbanLife April 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I’ve never invested the time to really learn much about Instagram – I’ve just taken a few photos and applied filters. This tutorial is fabulously helpful – thank you!

gorillabuns April 18, 2012 at 7:23 am

I’m so excited I got rid of my ghetto phone so I can ‘officially’ join in on the Instagram fun!

Selina April 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm

How do you do a split screen? I cant figure it out.

daisy June 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Android users now have the tilt-shift option. It is a tear drop shape in the top option bar :)
I love this app and am so glad it is available on Android now.

brie marie August 28, 2012 at 10:30 pm

I have the version for android. Mine has a “sun” symbol – is this just a contrast boost? Anyone?

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