Let’s face it, smart phone cameras are getting better and better each year. They are now the primary camera of choice for most people. That said, they are good, but, not great. There is really no substitute for a camera with a large sensor to capture all that detail.
Instagram is becoming more and more of an artist's platform than a "daily life" sharing platform. The quality of photos posted to Instagram are 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 Bieber.
The aim of this article:
To teach you my workflow of how I upload professional DSLR photos to Instagram. You can check out my Instagram here, or click the image above. Feel free to shout out your Instagram account in the comments below and I will ensure to check you out!
Why is this an issue? Instagram 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 work-around to get the images uploaded.
What you will need:
- Laptop / Desktop
- Smartphone / Tablet
- Dropbox / Google Drive
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 edited photos are available in both places. Plus they are both free and you will find yourself using them a lot.
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 (sqaure) platform natively. So decide now if you want to shoot with the intention of cropping square. This will save you having to make editing sacrifices later. If you don't want to shoot in a square format then don't worry we can use those regular photos.
Upload your photo to your computer and import into your photo editing software of choice. I use Lightroom for image cataloging and basic editing.
Edit your photo. This is an important step in the workflow. It is important that you keep a consistent style across your Instagram feed. This will help 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 dimensions you want your photos in. Instagram is a native 1:1 (square) platform but it is possible to use photos at other dimensions. This just involves another step (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. My lightroom export settings are shown below:
Once the file has synced with the cloud then you can 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) 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 centered. Once done click the share button to send this image to Instagram.
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!
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.
Ben Kepka - The Cultured Kiwi
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Every month I put together a Journal giving you unique insights into the world of photography. Also, the best articles, news and inspirational photography posts of the month. Sign up to receive the monthly Cultured Kiwi Journal. As an added bonus, every month you get a new lightroom preset to download.