If you’re like me (and 200-million other people on this planet) you probably have an Instagram account. Instagram has redefined instant photo-sharing, making our mobile phones vessels to show the world what we eat, where we travel, and what our pets are doing. For me, I use it to share my life. Outings with friends, which are typically photography-related, end up as “behind the scenes” shares on my Instagram account, and meals at restaurants turn into mini-photo-shoots, assuming that the light near our table is decent enough for a photograph.

Mobile-only on Instagram?

For the most part, all of my postings to Instagram thus far have been with my iPhone. As a professional photographer, I do take a lot of photos with my iPhone, but I obviously have other images I create with my “real” camera, much “higher quality” photographs, that I could be sharing as well. Up to this point, I chose to only post photos that were photographed with my iPhone, keeping Instagram a “mobile only” platform. I also preferred to follow other users who did the same.

I can even remember giving my husband, Brian, a little bit of flack after coming back from a recent trip to Australia where he was traveling with a small group of social-media influencers. He had started to fall into the “trend” of sharing non-mobile photos to Instagram that he had photographed using his Sony A7. “Selling out, are you?” is what I sarcastically uttered to him as I started to see his posts come through on the feed. I tended to view Instagram much different than the typical online gallery filled with retouched, professional-looking photographs.

Most of my images on Instagram were photographed with my iPhone. I share photos of my travels, behind-the-scenes images of my camera setup, the (rare) selfie … and of course, I couldn’t forget to photograph my dog, Kodak.

Times are a changin’…

My “mobile-only” approach with Instagram started to change just a few weeks ago when I got a Fuji X-T1. One of the features of many new cameras is the ability to use Wi-Fi to transmit photos directly to my iPhone. At first, I was still determined to only use my iPhone to share photos, but as I used my new Fuji camera more and more I started to wonder why I was limiting myself. I was creating beautiful photos with my camera, so why not share them on Instagram?

Since this “revelation” I have come up with a new Instagram workflow which allows me to post the photographs from my Fuji directly to my Instagram feed:

  1. First, I will photograph a scene I want to share using my Fuji X-T1. Oftentimes I will even change my in-camera settings so that the aspect ratio is square (1:1). This allows me to properly compose my photograph in-camera.
  2. Next, I will use the built-in Wi-Fi on my Fuji to transfer the photo over to my iPhone.
  3. Then, I edit the photo using only my phone. Some of my favorite non-Instagram apps are Snapseed, Oggl, and PicFrame.
  4. Lastly, I will bring the photo into Instagram, make a few additional edits using their filters and adjustments, and post the photo. I will also tag my non-mobile photos with #FujiXT1, or something along those lines.

Doing this has opened up a lot of new doors for me. I honestly believe that most people don’t really care how we created the photo, especially non-photographers! (We photographers are a finicky bunch, aren’t we?) ;)

Recently I have been using the Fuji X-T1 to create photos I share to Instagram. These are a few of those images, photographed over the July 4th weekend.

Why post non-mobile photos to Instagram?

There are definitely some positives to posting non-mobile photographs to Instagram, and I’ve listed a few of them below:

  • Higher image quality. Mobile phones are an amazing tool that allow us to create photographs in almost any situation, wherever we are. However it’s no shock that in some situations they just cannot perform as well as their SLR or mirrorless compadres. When trying to create a photo in low-light, or when you just want a nice shallow depth of field, a different tool is usually going to be a good fit.
  • An un-filtered feed. This is probably one of the biggest arguments to posting photos to Instagram: the feed is not filtered. This means that Instagram does not selectively pick and choose which posts get shown to your followers (anything you post will be on your followers’ feeds). This is a really big deal, especially considering that most other photo-sharing sites (Facebook, Google+, etc.) filter the main feed in some way.
  • Very popular social network. Instagram is an extremely popular social network, and engagement is very high. This is even more reason to share some of your best work.
  • It’s all about photography! Instagram is one of the biggest mainstream social media sites that is all about photography. You have to post some type of photo (or video) in order for it to be shared.

What do you think? Share your comments below!

So, what do you prefer: “mobile-only”? Or “anything goes”? Please feel free to share your opinions in the comments below! I’m curious how other Instagram users view this topic (or if it even was something that was an issue to begin with).



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Join the conversation! 17 Comments

  1. I rarely take photos with my phone. My thinking is, “If it is worth a photo, then it is worth my dSLR.”
    I felt discriminated against by Instagram. Now and then I would take the time and trouble to transfer image from dSLR to computer, and then computer to phone, and then to Instagram.

    Now that I have a WiFi equipped dSLR, I will have to work out this new workflow.

  2. I just post iPhone pictures and videos. If I had the wifi setup like you have it might be different.

  3. I had a very similar recent realization. I mostly do mobile posting to Instagram <90%, but have posted a DSLR image from time to time. I also tag it as such.

    Overall, it it's a good photo you want to share, then share. It should not matter where your finger clicked.

  4. I am quite new to instagram and use an android phone. I post anything, lots of phone photos, but also DSLR, and scanned film photos. I am using a new mirrorless at the moment that I am just learning how to connect wirelessly to the phone. Soon I will be doing a similar workflow to yours, in addition to all the others.

  5. Are you the famous un-real photographer?

    If you are then ‘Bless You.’

  6. I don’t agree with the Instagram TOS so I deleted my account ( and said goodbye a few hundred followers). However, for over a year I’ve used an eye-fi card in my DSLR to shoot and transfer images to my iPhone. The images are edited in Photogene and then posted to my blog via Pressgram. It works quite well and I still have the benefit of social sharing (Facebook, Twitter, Google+).

  7. I have fully embraced Instagram, and I post plenty of DSLR photos there. I still also post iPhone shots, but it’s been a great way to connect with other photographers. I’m @stephenrahn there if you want to see some astrophotography and a decent mix of other stuff.

  8. What is the best workflow for posting DSLR photos on Instagram?

  9. I used to believe all Instagram photos should originate from mobile devices. But at some point, that changed for me & I slowly began adding photos from my DSLR.
    That said, I am always more impressed by really nice Instagram images created only with mobile phones. It demonstrates the creator’s talent so much more than an image taken with expensive glass.

  10. I have been using a program called Gramblr to upload some of my fully edited dSLR shots to my instagram account. My followers are almost all family and friends and a few of them are not on facebook only IG so I post some of my ‘good’ photos so they can see them too. I appreciate seeing all types of interesting photos on instagram, it doesn’t matter to me what type of camera was used to capture them.

  11. The term ‘mobile’ is a bit fuzzy to me. Maybe it’s short for ‘mobile phone’, but non-phone tablets with a camera exist that have Instagram installed are able to upload pictures, and they’re considered ‘mobile’. And even the term mobile could be used to describe a DSLR as we can carry that around wherever we go.

    So with smartphones running iOS, Android, WindowsPhone, etc., we are able to put in a camera into our phones. In the future then, why wouldn’t we consider putting these mobile OSes into other truly mobile devices such as our cameras, cars, watches, etc.?

    I don’t think we should have a narrow definition for ‘mobile’ as being a mobile phone only. It doesn’t make sense to the word ‘mobile, or any context. What rings true is that the we are telling stories with pictures and using a popular app such as Instagram to do so. That’s what matters now, and for whatever new widget comes out in the future.

    So ‘anything goes’ is what makes sense to me.

  12. Funny, as I have recently also come to the same conclusion. I wrote a blog post about my preference for iPhone only pictures in Instagram some 3-4 years ago (and it’s still one of my most popular posts).

    But recently I realised that my feed is practically mostly DSLR pics taken by others and that I am might be limiting myself by sticking to iPhone only. People probably don’t care how the pic was taken.

    If only the workflow was easier…

  13. I’ll stick with posting cell phone pictures. Instagrams image grab and TOS are close to unconscionable. I do freely post pictures from my phone to IG and share them on FB and if IG wants to grab a picture of my dog or a beer I had with dinner, I’ll be ok with that.

  14. […] were what Instagram was all about, right? But I read an article by +Nicole S. Young titled Posting to Instagram: “Mobile Only”? Or “Anything Goes”? and in that article she made some incredibly good points as to why posting camera to images to […]

  15. Thank you for this! I was turned off of Instagram a while back when they changed their TOS. I kept my account and mad it private and essentially ignored it for a long time. I would only post the quick iPhone images of daily life, primarily of my son. Got my LLC last year and I had ignored IG for so long that recently I was afraid i “missed the boat”. In my recent research I wasn’t sure how to really market my biz thru IG *without* using my DSLR images. My iPhone is only a 16gb 5…. I am always having storage issues so I rarely use it other than the quick shots of my son.
    I have a 1st gen 7d so no WiFi.
    This post was the deciding factor for me to start posting DSLR to IG as I am really trying to market to seniors…. Who are all over IG, etc
    Thank you!


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About Nicole S. Young

Photographer, author, entrepreneur. I love photographing food and landscapes, and have written several how-to books on Photography, post-processing, and creative inspiration. You can find more about me on my blog, online store, as well as on Google+ and Twitter.


Opinion, Photography


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