10 Steps to Instafame for Photographers
Instagram has turned photographers into rockstars. However, getting instafamous involves a few key strategies, which I've listed here for you.
Step 1: Adopt a Posting Format
Once you've bought a camera and watched a few Peter Mckinnon videos, you're ready to open up an IG. Make sure to use the maximum 30 hashtags allowed, and follow any of the 3 most common posting formats.
Format 1: Write your caption and then create a few empty lines by using periods and hitting enter. Post your hashtags below those lines.
🙊🙊🙊 . . . . . . . . . . . . #chotofugram #way2ill #seekingthestars #pulsefilm #vogove #explorecreative #livefolk #visualprovider #exploreeverything #inspirationcultmag #expofilm #agameoftones #mobilemag #earth_portraits #mg5k #passionpassport #stayandwander #letsgosomewhere #justgoshoot #expofilm3k #gearednomad #mkexplore #exklusive_shot #createcommune #heatercentral #hypebeast #creatorgrams #streetdreamsmag #bevisuallyinspired #hypebeast @moodyports @moodygrams @folkgood @folksouls @createexplore @street.activity @depthobsessed @hypebeastzh @hypebeast
This is by far the most popular format.
Format 2: Simply post your caption and then add your hashtags in a comment. This is a good method because it makes your post more clean. Plus it may trick some people into thinking you didn't use any hashtags, making you look cool.
Format 3: Post your photo with the 30 hashtags, but then go back and delete all of them right afterwards. This makes it appear as if you didn't use any hashtags at all, but they will still register on IG and be searchable. People will wonder, "How the hell did this guy get so many likes without hashtags, surely he doesn't just have supportive friends! Or maybe he does... God he's way cooler than me! I want to die..."
If people are thinking this, you know you're doing well. The whole point of social media is to make strangers (and exes) jealous!
Step 2: Follow/Like Everybody and Everything
In the beginning you can't be shy with your likes, since you are a mere peasant with only a few followers. You need to wash the feet of those above you.
Follow as many photographers as you can, even if you don't really like their work (don't worry, you can unfollow them later after you're cool). Then for each person you follow, like 3-5 photos. This lets them know you aren't just fishing for a follow back (although you really are). Then pick a few locations and/or hashtags and go on a like spree.
Like as many photos as possible until you fall asleep.
After you've done a fair share of following/liking, some people might follow/like you back. If not, it's a good sign you might be ugly, poor, old — or a shitty photographer.
It's up to you to figure it out.
Step 3: Start Shooting All The Cool Spots
You need some IG cred bro. One of the best ways to get it is by shooting all of the same spots as the cool kids. Somebody else may have captured it perfectly, but that doesn't mean it's pointless for you to go out and get the same exact shot for your feed.
People in Taipei have mastered this method:
See you in a bit my beloved home 🇹🇼 #Taiwan#TheKaollerWay 🇹🇼 🇹🇼 🇹🇼 🇹🇼 🇹🇼 #urbanaisle #primeshots #createcommune #aov #exploreverything #instagood #CreateExploreTakeover#Vscocam #urbanRomantix #wanderlust #FeedbackNation #VSCO #Visualsoflife #mg5k #teamcozy #Jaw_dropping_shots #conquer_LA #urbanrising #uas10k #main_vision #watchthisinstagood#Conquer_la #Hypedshots #MillionDollarVisuals #hbouthere #Insta派
😏台北有雙高🌇 . . 📍地點：台北信義區📍 . . 📸Photo by @___hzy___ . . #⃣Use our HASHTAG #Taiwan1 . . #taiwangram #taiwagram #taiwanno1 #naturetaiwan #lovetaiwan #loves_taiwan #taiwantag #instameettaiwan #instataiwan #igtaiwan #huntgramtaiwan #igerstaiwan #amazingtaiwan #iformosa #taiwan🇹🇼 #taiwanphoto #formosa #ig_taiwan #Taiwan #台湾 #臺灣 #台灣 #beautifultaiwan
The city where I live in. - #wonderful_places #beautifuldestinations #bestvacations #bestcity #passionpassport #earthfocus #earthoffical #living_destinations #travel #travelawesome #fantastic_earth #visualsoflife #instagood #instagram #instadaily #earth #discoverearth #bestvacations #streetactivity #street #streetart #illgrammers #taiwan #taipei #iseetaiwan #bpintaiwan #vscotaiwan
Step 4: Hey, Wanna Shoot?
By now maybe you've built up some skill and a small following. Next you need to link up with photographers and models so they can tag you in their posts.
Copy and paste, "Hey, wanna shoot?" into the DM's of a bunch of photographers and models in your area.
Preferably you want to shoot with people who have more followers than you, but if you don't get any replies you might have to settle for one of your sad pathetic peers (or worse, somebody you're actually friends with).
But if possible try to avoid associating with people who have less followers than you because, well... Ew! 😷.
Step 5: Get Featured On Moody Grams
Now that you've built a small network and learned how to do the right IG tones, subjects, and locations, it's time to start trying to get a Moody Grams feature.
Moody Grams is the fucking Catalina wine mixer for photographers. A feature by them will set you on the fast-track to instafame. I promise you, after Moody Grams lets you in you might as well put on Jay-Z for your life's soundtrack, because what follows is nothing but money, cash, hoes.
Of course this won't be easy. First you must spend ample time kissing the feed admins' rings. This means consistent liking and even commenting whenever they post, and maybe even attending their events. If you're lucky, one of these elders may acknowledge your existence.
💥 Pro Tip 1: If you think good photography is about experimenting and trying to be unique, think again! That's not how it works in the IG hierarchy.
You need to follow whatever is currently cool on Instagram. Here are some of the trends from the past:
- Clear globes
- Views through iPhones
- Feet hanging off roofs
Make sure you stay tuned for what pops up next and adjust your work accordingly.
Step 6: Grind, Hustle, Grind
Keep pulling that slot machine. You don't win if you don't play. Now it's time to start pumping out photos twice or even 3 times per day.
Remember, each photo is a chance to hit it the Moody Grams jackpot.
Post, like, comment, follow, repeat.
At this point you should start being careful who you follow. It's a good time to start unfollowing some of the losers you followed when you were starting out. Surely you've surpassed them in every way, they are just dead weight on your feed now.
Besides, most instafamous stars follow less than 900 people.
Step 7: Buy a Drone
So maybe you've gained quite a bit of followers and a few features from small local (aka loser) feeds, but you're growth has plateaued a bit. Don't worry!
Once your drone hits the skies you're going to blow up! I promise! You'll get so many likes that you may even forget how empty you are inside.
If that's not progress then I don't know what is!
💥 Pro Tip 2: Don't forget about stories!
Your story game needs to be on point just like your feed. Remember, you are a rockstar in the making. Your stories should fit the persona.
As a photographer you should probably show off your gear and computer equipment you've somehow obtained despite being 20 with no job.
Other good story topics include:
- Driving a high-end car (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, or higher).
- Gym, beach, or shopping pics (please only show if you're good looking though).
- Cheers shots. Make sure that you tag all of the people that you're with. You wanna ensure they do the same for you so you can get more followers.
- Views from inside an airplane (don't make it obvious you're riding coach though).
Step 8: Your First Major Feature
By now you should have had your first major Moody Grams Feature. If not, repeat steps 1-6 until you give up, go crazy, or kill yourself.
But if you're of any sort of genetic worth, I'm assuming that by this point you've been featured —so what do you do next? Be sure to screenshot your pic on the feature feed and write a thank you to them.
This is the perfect humblebrag because it lets you show you've been featured under the guise that you're simply grateful.
Step 9: Ascend to Rockstar Status, Prepare to Monetize
Now that you're being featured so much you can't even keep track, you don't need to follow anybody or even like photos anymore.
Given your status now, a like from you is akin to a wink from the president. Your main focus now priming your profile so it's brand-friendly. Make sure to add your email address to your bio.
You also might want to polish up your profile by deleting old pictures and unfollowing some more people.
Step 10: Your First Sponsored Post (AKA YOU MADE IT!)
Now a brand has offered to send you some free shit in exchange for a feature. Congrats! You did it!
You are now officially Instafamous! #blessed
You are the eye above the pyramid and your profile is a money tree. Now it's time to sit back and start raking in dollars and free shit.
Welcome to the elite club. As an instafamous person you can sell your posts, stories, and even your bio link! You may even be asked to mod a feature feed. Now you are a gatekeeper too! People will be forced to kiss your ring and swear allegiance to you for a chance at exposure. Congrats again on all of your success! 🎉
Now that you're an IG god, your options are pretty much endless. You could sit back and relax while offers for sponsorship and endorsements roll in, but you could also continue to be active.
Indeed there are other IG gods you may wish to align with to form a kingdom. Or maybe there are others you wish to dethrone and stone to death.
If you're really ambitious, you could even start hosting events with other photographers. You'd have the pleasure of gathering a bunch of minions together and watching as they scratch and hiss just to move one step up the ladder you've conquered.
You can smile and reminisce about when you were only at step 1 — where you sacrificed your morals, dignity, and creativity for the great honor of becoming an instafamous photographer. ❤
Download my photos for free on Unsplash.