instagram photography

Instagram Photography Guide: 10 Ways to Improve Your Reach

What is Instagram Photography?

As a “photo based” social media platform that has nearly taken over the internet, it should come as no surprise that Instagram is one of the places for any photographer to share their work and to reach more followers, supporters, clients and media outlets. However, no matter how beautiful your photos may be, it isn’t always so easy to reach all of the individuals you want to.

Simply put, Instagram photography is all about both amateur and professional photographers using the wildly popular social media platform to take, edit and share photos with other users. One of the most unique things about Instagram photography is that it allows photographers to get almost instant feedback in the form of “likes” and comments.

Instagram has become such a popular platform for photographers, simply because there is no easier way for photographers to share their photos with the rest of the world. While the average person doesn’t spend hours scrolling through photographer portfolios, they do spend a lot of time on Instagram.

So how do you improve your Instagram Reach? To improve Instagram reach use hashtags, post at peak times and post with engagement as the goal.

paris urban photography

The Power of Instagram Photography

There is no end to the power of Instagram photography, in fact, many people believe it has truly changed the world of photography forever. It not only helps amateur photographers get their work out in the world but has helped professional photographers grow their business and their following in ways that were never possible before.

After all, there are nearly 78 million people on Instagram today—meaning there is no bigger or better place to share your photos.

The History of Instagram Photography

The history of Instagram photography can date back as far as Instagram itself. While it may seem like the photo-sharing platform has been around forever, it actually only started in 2010. Within the first three months, the site hit more than one million users and soon became one of the biggest social media platforms on the planet.

As for the first Instagram photo? It was an image of founder, Kevin Systrom’s dog, Dolly. Needless to say, while dog photos are still popular on Instagram today, there is much more than pet photos on the platform today.

Sunrise is one of the most rewarding times to shoot outdoor photos

10 Ways to Improve Your Instagram Reach

When it comes to building your career as an Instagram photographer, one of the best things you can do is work to build your Instagram reach and expand your horizon to get your photography in the eyes of more people from around the world.

This part of being an Instagram photographer can be challenging for many people. But, the good news is, even if you already have the photography part down, I can help you with the social media part by helping you improving your reach on Instagram.

How does Instagram calculate reach? To calculate Instagram reach divide your reach by the number of followers you have.

1.    Don’t Buy Likes or Follows

There are so many programs today that are dedicated to helping people build their online business. This also means that there are many programs out there that will let you buy likes or follows. However, doing this will not get you actual followers that are interested in what you are putting online—it will only get you cheap numbers.

2.    Use Hashtags

Using hashtags is a little more complicated than many people think. You need to find a balance of tags that are relevant with your image, with your location, and with the type of photos/cameras you are taking. Remember, smaller tags and locations can be better, as your photos are likely going to get lost in larger photos such as #photography. However, with smaller tags like #baltimoreportraitphotographer, is going to give your photos a better chance of standing out.

snow fall photography

Having a weather proofed camera casing can protect your camera from the elements: like snow

3.    Don’t Over-Edit

There are a lot of great editing software programs out there, and while you may be tempted to do something different to get your photos to stand out, don’t be tempted to over-edit your photos. It will only take away from your actual skills as a photographer.

4.    Composition Matters

Composition matters now only with your individual photos but with your page as whole.

In addition to looking at your individual photos, you also need to look at your feed as a whole. Your feed needs to have a variety of styles, colors, and images in it to create variety. It should look like one big work of art when you see all of the photos together in this way.

5.    Create a Compelling Caption

Sure, you are a photographer, which means you are going to be more focused on your images instead of your words—but you still need to include an engaging caption about your image to explain the background of the shot or just what the photo means to you. Captions are a great way to create a more personal connection with people and evoke a more emotional response from your followers.

Use Humor in Your Caption

Nothing gets people’s attention like a good joke—even if it is a little on the corny side.

  • Don’t Be Too Serious in Your Caption

You may be trying to establish yourself as a serious photographer, but you don’t need to take yourself too serious, or talk about how your photos are going to change the world.

  • Provide Value in Your Caption

Your captions should actually offer your followers some type of value. Whether you are trying to educate them on your process or your subject—it should offer value.

6. Like Your Peers Photos

If you want to get followers that actually care about your photos, then you need to engage and connect with them. This means finding other photographers with similar interests to your and leaving original comments on their posts. Instead of just saying “nice photo!” leave comments on other accounts detailing what you like about their photos to establish a connection.

7. Reply to Every Comment

You need to respond to every comment, even if it is just someone liking your work. This will help you engaged with people who appreciate what you are doing as a photographer—and you never know what a solid connection can do for your career.

lava flow from above

The Right exposure can bring out subtle details of an image. This is An aerial view of lava flowing from above the big island.

8. Post 3-4 Times Per Week

You may be tempted to try and upload as many photos as possible when you are looking to expand your Instagram reach. However, it is important to choose quality over quantity. Instead of uploading several photos everyday, think more about your Instagram as being a type of portfolio where you can showcase the best of the best when it comes to your photos.

Keep quality at the forefront, but still make sure you are consistently posting 3-4 times per week.

What is a good reach rate on instagram? Between 1% and 4%  is an average or good reach rate on Instagram.

9. Use the Instagram Story Feature

While your best images should be on your Instagram as part of your “mini portfolio” you shouldn’t forget about your Instagram Stories. This is a place to promote new posts, promote your blogs or show other photos that you may not want to display on your main page. It is another great way to get more followers.

Racetrack Playa Lakebed

Photo Credit: Phil Sutphin

10. Be Original and Be Yourself

When it comes to Instagram, it can seem as though anyone with a smartphone now things they are a professional photographer. You want to be able to stand out in this market, so don’t be afraid to be different. Do something completely out-there, think outside the box, and push yourself to be creative. There is no better place to do this than Instagram.

Remember, while most of your Instagram should be about what you are taking photos of, you still need to include some of yourself in order to establish your brand. However, instead of taking selfies, use Instagram as a way to create creative self-portraits of yourself.

How can I gain more followers on Instagram? Watch for relevant posts, get creative with hashtags and get topical with your content.


Keep these tips in mind if you are looking to improve your Instagram reach and get your photos in touch with more people. You never know what the right connections can do for your photos whether you are a causal weekend photographer or a professional looking to establish a bigger network.



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