I’m often asked how to further utilize Instagram as a photographer. And while using applicable hashtags and giving a location to your images is great, sometimes the simplest of techniques is overlooked.
That is, uploading photos taken with your camera to Instagram, instead of just photos on your iPhone.
That’s not to say that images taken with your iPhone are necessarily bad; they have a time and a place. But for marketing purposes, you want to display your best work in all mediums, and that includes Instagram.
How Can I Upload My Finished Images to Instagram?
Out of the box, Instagram doesn’t allow for uploading from your computer. However, there are a number of different tools on the market that can help you achieve this.
In what I’ve seen with nearly every solution, is that you upload your image to the tool, it alerts you on your phone when it’s ready to post, and you copy the data over to the native Instagram app on your phone.
With all of these tools, you’ll need the app installed on your phone, in addition to using the website or app on your computer.
My preferred tool of choice, Later.com is simple. There are a few different versions, but unless you’re a major brand, there’s not a big reason to worry about paying a monthly fee for the service. The free version lets you upload 30 images per month.
Later.com lets you schedule your Instagram posts, give your photos captions with username tagging and hashtag abilities. It even recommends users you follow and popular hashtags as you begin typing. It also recently added the ability to post to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
The downside here? It doesn’t let you post videos — you have to upgrade to the $9/month plan for that (which gives you the ability to upload 50 images per month, too).
In addition to being a great tool to post to Instagram, they also send out some really helpful emails, giving you some fresh, new ideas on how to enhance your Instagram posts.
Buffer and HootSuite
Many of you have probably heard of these services, as they’re popular amongst marketing teams. Both Buffer and HootSuite allows you to not only manage Instagram, but also Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and more.
With Buffer, there’s a free version, which limits you to 10 posts per month, per profile. While it gets the job done, it doesn’t suggest users or hashtags to put in your posts. Beyond that, it works similarly to Later.com, in that it alerts you on your phone when it’s time to share.
As for HootSuite, the free version limits you to three social profiles. And while it advertises the ability to mention other users, I couldn’t get this to work with Instagram — though it worked flawlessly with my Twitter and Facebook accounts. It also doesn’t suggest hashtags. Just like Buffer and Later.com, you get an alert on your phone, and then you copy the data over to Instagram to share.
What About Uploading from Lightroom?
Last year, a tool called LR/Instagram came out, and it’s the only tool I could find that lets you easily upload images straight from Lightroom, to your Instagram account.
The nice thing about the tool is there’s no alerting on your phone, copying over the data — any of that. You can input your caption and hashtags, and it’ll post those, along with the image, for you without any extra work needed on your end.
But, it doesn’t recommend users to tag, or hashtags to write. And it doesn’t allow for any scheduling. It’s basic in its functionality, but it does a great job at what it offers. If you want to know more, Vanelli has a complete write-up and how-to on this tool.
If you don’t want to use LR/Instagram, you can still use Lightroom Mobile to sync your favorite photos to your phone, and then share those to your Instagram feed. Levi Sim has a breakdown of how to achieve this.
No matter if you use a service or post from Lightroom to your Instagram account, there are several advantages when using a tool, instead of manually transferring your photos to your phone and posting. You save a ton of time, and you can plan ahead, looking at popular hashtags and following other best practices in the process.
For more on Photography Marketing, see our weekly column.
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