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To compete with the best you need to learn how to upload high quality photos to Instagram. Smartphone cameras are getting better and better each year. While they are good, there is really no substitute for a camera with a large sensor to capture all that detail. I use a canon 5d mark iii for most of my images but any mirrorless camera is an improvement over your smartphone. The secret is in the editing!
Chances are if you like posting to the Instagram app you probably are interested in a mirrorless camera for travel or perhaps you’re looking to go old school and want to try using a 35mm camera again. For people not using Lightroom check out our Luminar 4 review for a one-time payment editing software. If you just want what you searched for and want me to give you what you asked for, then scroll past this first picture and get started!
Instagram is becoming more and more of an artist’s platform than a “daily life” sharing platform. The quality of photos posted to Instagram is improving all the time. As attention spans dwindle, you will be quickly left behind if you aren’t up with the game. This, of course, excludes celebrities who can pretty much do whatever they like and get rewarded for it, sorry Kylie.
The aim: To Upload High Quality Photos to Instagram
I will teach you my workflow of how to upload DSLR to Instagram app. Your camera doesn’t even need to have WiFI or NFC. You can check out my Instagram here, or click the image above. Feel free to shout out your account in the comments below and I will ensure to check you out!
Why is this an issue? The Instagram app is a unique platform that will only let you upload photos from a mobile platform. You can comment and like images from the web but uploading must be done from a mobile platform. So it requires a little bit of a workaround to get the high image quality pictures uploaded.
You can also post images taken with a wide-angle or telephoto lens. These images instantly stand out as they are obviously not taken with the standard iPhone camera.
What you will need:
- Laptop / Desktop
- Smartphone / Tablet
- Dropbox / Google Drive
DSLR into Lightroom Workflow
Before you begin…
If you don’t have Dropbox or Google Drive then set this up now. Install the apps on both your computer and mobile device. This will ensure all our photos edited on a tablet photos are available in both places. Plus they are both free and you will find yourself using them a lot. It is the easiest and best way to get those photos from the camera to Instagram.
How to Upload Photos From DSLR To Instagram
Create an Instagram folder within your new Dropbox or Drive folder. This is where you will store all your final photos ready for publishing.
Take your photo. Remember to consider that Instagram is a 1:1 aspect ratio platform natively. So decide now if you want to shoot with the intention of cropping square. Instagram also accepts a 5:4 aspect ratio (or 4:5 aspect ratio) crop for vertical images (very popular). This will save you having to make editing sacrifices later. If you don’t want to shoot in a square aspect ratio then don’t worry we can use those regular photos.
Make sure to connect your camera to your computer via USB cable or card reader and upload your photo. Import into your photo editing software of choice. I use Lightroom for image cataloguing and basic editing.
Make sure to edit your photo. This is an important step in the workflow. It is important that you keep a consistent style across your Instagram app feed. This will help make sure people recognise that the image is from you. I am currently conducting research into what works on Instagram and what doesn’t. This will lead to a future blog post to help you improve your Instagram performance.
Determine what aspect ratio you want your photos in. Instagram is a native 1:1 (square aspect ratio) platform but it is possible to use photos at other dimensions. This just involves another step (make sure to see below).
Export your photo at a smaller resolution. The largest image size that Instagram will accept is 2048 px on the longest side. I generally output them at 1920 px on the longest side and have not had any troubles to date. Ensure that the final JPG is exported to your Instagram folder on Dropbox or Drive.
Note: A lot of other people are recommending you make sure to use 1080 pixels as the best quality max aspect ratio for the Instagram app. I have found this to work on other social media platforms but for the best quality on Instagram see my Lightroom export settings below:
Once the file has synced with the cloud then make sure you pick up your mobile device and open up the Dropbox or Drive app. With android, you can share the image directly to Instagram or the app in step eight. But, with iOS, you have to save the image to your camera roll first. If so do this now.
If you want to use an image that is in another format other than 1:1 (Square aspect ratio) then you will need to add borders to the image. I recommend downloading and installing this app for Android or this app for iPhone. These will allow you to output a square photo with your image nicely centred. Once done click the share button to send this image to Instagram app.
Share this image to Instagram, add your sweet, witty comment and your hashtags then you are done.
That is too much work!!!
I bet you have read this article and are thinking, “Ben that is way too much work!”.
I say: don’t be lazy! It really isn’t. While setting it up can be daunting initially, it is simple once you get it going. Ask yourself: What do you do with the images from your camera now? If you already process your photos and store them on your laptop you are halfway there.
Just change the storage location of your final images from your laptop to Dropbox or Google drive. This gives you a backup in the cloud! All major cloud storage options provide easy ways to share through social media. Pretty much no downside! Soon you can go straight from your camera to Instagram.
Sit down and edit a bunch of photos on your laptop. You can walk around with your phone and drip feed the photos to your social networks. This lets you build a following and improve your chances to stand out from the Instagram noise. Even while you are commuting or on the toilet! Don’t lie you do it.
Once you have tried this workflow add #culturedkiwi to your image. Also, drop a link to your Instagram account in the comments below to show off your pictures. This will help you build your following, as these will remain there for the life of this article.
To get in direct contact with me send me a message on Instagram @benkepka or Facebook. I answer every question sent to me and love the opportunity to connect with the audience. Thanks for reading!
New Zealand travel photographer based in London, UK. He was taking photos from a very young age in the backcountry of New Zealand before moving abroad. Since doing so he has taken workshops and tried to help get as many people into this art as possible. Featured in NZ Herald, Stuff.co.nz and many photography publications it’s safe to say he loves his photography!