Instagram is now the most popular social media platform for photographers to showcase their work. With over 1 billion users subscribed to Instagram, this photo-sharing platform enables photographers to build a following, get more exposure, and, eventually, more clients. Like other social networks, Instagram has its nuances that you need to understood to leverage the power of this photo-sharing community fully.
Instagram profiles are awesome for gaining exposure, networking with peers, engaging with audiences etc. However, if your goal is to generate business, then you should funnel the engagement on Instagram into traffic for your own portfolio website. With your portfolio website, you own the complete experience of your site visitors and have far more control over your content and brand image. You can structure your portfolio, include testimonials and publish a blog to showcase your expertise. You can sell images online with a built-in e-commerce store. Your website also helps you implement Search Engine Optimisation and become ‘discoverable’ on search engines on common search terms such as ‘best wedding photographer in Dallas’, or ‘beautiful portrait photography’. We would recommend using Instagram to complement your portfolio website for the best results. Your website should be the final destination for all your online efforts, whether on social media or through search engines.
Using Instagram photography, hashtags effectively is a skill that photographers have to master to increase engagement on Instagram.
What are Instagram Hashtags?
Hashtags are keyword equivalents for social media, identified as a word or a phrase preceded by a # (hash) symbol. These are used to filter and search content (pictures in the case of Instagram) on social media networks.
Here are our top 10 tips on how to use hashtags on Instagram:
1. Target your audience
Hashtags let you target people who are looking for specific content and get discovered by them. For instance, if you are posting portrait photography images, then using top Instagram hashtags such as #portraitphotography or #portraits. These will help people searching for these tags, find your pictures on Instagram.
2. Optimize the number of hashtags you use
While Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags to be used for every post, limiting yourself to 10-15 Instagram hashtags, is a good idea.
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 Instagram tags yet, you can go back to your old posts on Instagram and add appropriate hashtags to them. You can either edit your old Instagram posts and add popular hashtags to the caption or add hashtags in the comments.
You can read Instagram’s official words on this account here.
3. Finding appropriate hashtags
Now that you understand the importance of hashtags on Instagram, the next question is - How do you figure out the most popular Instagram tags for your photographs? Instagram is inundated with millions of hashtags. But not all hashtags will help you in increasing engagement with your manifold photos on Instagram. The popularity of hashtag is inversely proportional to your photo's chances of getting discovered.
Consider this example; the #portrait_ig hashtag has more than two lac pictures tagged while #portrait_ig_ has not more than 100 (as of the day of this post). It means that people looking at images with #portrait_ig might not find your photo amongst the other two lac photos. However, there is a good chance 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.
Using trending Instagram hashtags with varying degrees of popularity in your posts can help it get discovered by more people.
You have to find the balance between the popularity of a particular hashtag and its resonance with your images.
4. 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 photos with these hashtags would be like throwing a needle in the haystack. You may also invite spam comments as these tags become the targets of automated bots programmed to comment on posts with generic tags like #love, #beautiful, #followmefollowyou, #followforfollow, etc.
5. Be specific with your hashtags
The other problem with the above tags is that they are non-specific. It means that a designer, a hobbyist, an interior designer, and pretty much every Instagrammer can add to their pictures. 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.
Make sure that you only use the best Instagram hashtags with your images.
For example, if you are posting wedding photos, you should tag them with top wedding hashtags on Instagram, such as #destinationwedding, #weddingphotography, #weddingphotographer, #weddinginspiration, #weddingphotos, #fineartwedding, #weddingpictures, #luxurywedding.
6. Get featured on Instagram Feature Accounts
Getting your photo reposted by a Feature account is your shortcut to Instagram fame. Most of these feature accounts have millions of followers. You can find them across fashion, wildlife, travel, portrait, wedding photography, and many more streams. Each feature account has specific hashtags that you need to add in your posts for them to discover you and possibly feature you. Make sure to follow these feature accounts for a healthy dose of inspiration and a shot at getting featured by them.
Some of the top Instagram Feature accounts for photography are:
To get your photos featured on Pixpa’s Instagram page, just tag them with #pixpa.
8. Learn from the best photographers on Instagram
Among all the photographers on Instagram, a few photographers are doing exceptionally well. You can find photographers from all genres of photography--wedding, boudoir, landscape, portrait, wildlife photography, and others. The right approach for you to up your game on Instagram would be to follow these famous photographers and track how they use Instagram, the hashtags they use, the times at which they post, and how they maintain consistency in their feed. Learn from their best practices on Instagram and incorporate them into your strategy.
Top photographers on Instagram:
Simone Bramante is an Italian photographer, whose work spans landscape, portrait, and travel photography. And sometimes he even surprises his over 925k followers with surreal pictures.
Victoria Siemer is a Brooklyn-based photographer. The photographer's Instagram handle @witchoria is justified by her work, which fascinates her 220k 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, which makes it mandatory for pet lovers to follow him.
9. Tools for finding Instagram hashtags
Finding the right hashtags for every post can be quite a task. It's always a good idea to research and maintain a list of hashtags for your posts that you can quickly refer to while posting.
There are several free tools available that you can use to find popular hashtags on Instagram. Some of them are:
10. Use Popular Instagram Photography Hashtags
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 indicates the number of posts tagged with the corresponding hashtag as of the day of publishing this article.
Here are the most popular Instagram hashtags for landscape photography:
#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).
Here are the top hashtags on Instagram for portrait photography:
#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)
Here are some popular Instagram hashtags for boudoir photography:
#boudoir (over 1.4 mn), #boudoirphotography (over 0.5 million), #boudoirphotographer (0.15 mn), #boudoirphotoshoot (over 16k), #boudoirmodel( over 27k)
Here are the best Instagram hashtags for photographers who are into wedding:
#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),
Here are some trending Instagram hashtags for fashion photography:
#fashionphotos(40k), #fashionphotographer (over 1.3 million), #fashionphotography (over 5.4 mn), #fashionphotoshoot (over 0.12 mn), #fashionphotograph (over 22k), #fashionphotpgraphers( over 37k),
Here are some most popular Instagram hashtags for wildlife photography:
#wildlife (9.2 million), #wildlifeonearth (76k), #wildlifeaddicts (0.1 million), #wildlifeplanet (0.4 mn), #wildlife_seekers (0.3 million).
Here are the top hashtags on Instagram for sports photography:
#sportsphotography (over 0.5 million), #sportsphotographer (over 1.1 million), #sportsphoto (41k), #sportsphotojournalist (999).
It’s also advisable to use relevant sports tags such as #soccer, #fifa, #baseball #rugby, etc. that can lead to reaching out to the target audience on Instagram.
Instagram has become a powerful medium for photographers and creative pros to showcase and share their work with the world. You, too, can use Instagram to build your brand and grow your business. Using Instagram Hashtags effectively is the key to getting discovered and getting success on Instagram. We hope the above tips will help you to promote your work on Instagram.
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