For the last few months I have been getting messages and questions from friends and colleagues about Instagram. Several of my blogger friends have been running online courses to help you focus on the look of your feed but the one thing I get asked a lot is "who do I follow" and "which hashtags", for the beginner who wants to get involved in this community here is just one small element that has taken me the last year to distill. These are my personal choice of people I have watched and interacted with and maybe this will give you a starting point if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Before I start on the lists, please please, forgive me if I have missed you out, I put this rough list together in just the last few days. Since getting the menopause (theres a month of blog posts right there!) I have suffered from chronic fatigue and forgetfulness. So I started to write down notes and take screen shots of posts on Instagram to remind me of things I wanted to take part in and that I thought would be good photography tasks.
As you investigate the accounts and hashtags that I recommend you will become familiar with the style of their work and theme. The photo above is something that I would consider for Emma Harris's tuesday challenge #aquietstyle, taking a moment of quiet in the day for peace and calm and a bit of styling.
You may have seen some of my posts for Urban Jungle Bloggers, this is a community for plant lovers, they set a monthly topic to style your plants in a certain way, so above is my #plantshelfie. Urban Jungle Bloggers is a worldwide community set up by Igor and Judith. If you have plants in your home then you may want to sign up with them, info can be found on their UJB site.
For interior design lovers who are proud to show off their homes and peer into others, then At Mine is a community for you. It is a website of members homes which is constantly being updated. On Instagram they also set monthly challenges, so the pic above is one for Style At Mine table settings this month.
Instagram hashtag challenges are often set up as collaborations by two accounts. The first I ever tried is dear to my heart and it is 'A Year Of Moments' with Lobster & Swan and Candy Pop. Every month they give you a topic to interpret, this month it is #ayearofmoments_magical so I took the above photo with fairy lights to add a bit of sparkle and seasonal magic.
This photo could span several topics, it show a cup of coffee so could be put in for #adoremycupofcoffee and #mythursdaybreaktime as I have used the autumnal colours, leaves and pumpkin it also fits with any November themed tags - #cherishandrelish_november #natureinthehome #stylingtheseasons
Styling The Seasons with Apartment Apothecary (Katy) and Lotts And Lots (Charlotte) is a big favourite of mine too. Usually I style a whole area of the house and totally enjoy doing it. But this month it's a flat lay as they have joined with Emily Quinton to win a place on a course with her. So the hashtag this month is #STSxmakelight. Emily started the huge hashtag #floralfridaycompetition, and like many weekly hashtags it runs on a certain days. The clue is usually in the title like #mymondaymoodboard with Jess and Lucy (it also has its own instagram account). Others are like ; #mystillsunday #itsamoodywednesday #mandalamonday #mymonthofsundays
Some larger hashtag communities have their own devoted accounts and nominate guest hosts every week to choose the winners and set the topic. Accounts like It's My Week will set a tag like #myweekofwhatisee #myweekofabstract.
There are too many people here for me to set up direct links to, I have also compiled a Pinterest board showing lovely photographers you can find it here, this is just a small selection of accounts that style in a way I find pleasing. They may give you ideas of what kind of pics you want to take yourself. Remember that Instagram is all about the photo.
My personal advice is not to bother with a hashtag that says #flowers #pink and general descriptive words of that nature, but to find a group of people producing say a pink floral image - this may fall into floralfridaycompetition as an example. Anyway I think you get my point about which hashtags to use and research. The best way to suss it out is just to go on there and click on the # to see what comes up, explore for yourself.
The themes are so many and varied, it will be possible for you to find ones that fit with the kind of pictures you want to take, it just takes a bit of hunting. So the one above would be suitable say for Capturing Colour with Capture By Lucy, a colourful lifestyle theme.
This is quite a list to type so you will need to sift through it and keep referring back I expect so here goes with the hashtags and themes I have been looking at this week :
#laidbacklivingis with @dorisleestudio, #stsxmakelight #stylingtheseasons with @aptapothecary @lottsandlots, #oftheland and #fosterthoughtfulness with @toasttravels, #ayearofmoments_magical with @lobsterandswan @candypop.uk, #cherishandrelish_november @allenandbear @flojoro123, #natureinthehome @littlegreenshed, #mythursdaybreatime @littlemaldod #myseasonof_florals @claireyclaire @hellolaurajane, #nestandflourish @xxbirdhouse @liveandbloom, #petalsandprops @aalmadr, #thesestoriestold @rosehippaper, #sundaysatmine @atmine, #capturingcolour @capturebylucy, #floralfridaycompetition @emilyquinton, #aquietstyle @aquietstyle, #mystillsunday #fouriadorefriday @kimklassen, #slowliving @geoffreyandgrace @hippieindisguise, #thisjoyfulmoment @ruthlgarner,#byarrangement with @sarahnotes
There is no quick fix with Instagram, it takes time but is a very rewarding community to be involved with, unlike Twitter it seems to focus on support, positivity and kind words and as a more artistic based app, I think reflects the nicer nature of artistic people.
They say the like-minded people flock together and no better place than on Instagram. Bullies can keep their cowardly rudeness over on that other place, and what miserable lives they must lead, but not us with our flowers and scissors and bits of faffery, oh no.
If you want to take your instagram more seriously then perhaps do an online course with someone like Emily Quinton at Makelight or Me And Orla (the Instaretreat) and for more info about hashtags have a read of Lucy's blog this week (click on that to link).
Always feel free to ask me questions on instagram and to engage with the hashtag setters themselves, Im sure they would love your feedback.