It started out as a simple way to share photos, but over the years Instagram has grown and developed and is now packed full of filters and features to share your videos and images, and interact with others, in a very creative way.
If you’re new to Instagram or simply want to up your Insta-game, here’s what you need to know.
How does Instagram work?
The first thing you need to do is set up an account, which is super-easy and just like any other social media sign up. When you log onto your account, you’ll see your feed, which shows the pictures posted by your friends–just like a Facebook newsfeed, but with pics only.
When you follow another account, their images show up in your feed, and when they follow you, your pictures show up in theirs. You can also tag people in your comments, and comment on other people’s posts. To tag someone in a comment, you type the @ sign, then type their account handle, their name will appear in a drop-down search list for you to select.
Hashtags are used by people who want to share their pictures using search. For example, you might take a great shot of your pet pug. Adding #cutedog or #pugs or even #pugsrule means your posts will be seen by people who do a search of those tags.
Hashtags can also be a bit of fun. No one thinks people are searching for #thingsIthinkaboutwhenImstuckintraffic – it’s just a bit of a giggle!
There are images and videos you want to keep, and then there are the ones you want to use just to keep people across things you’re doing but don’t really care to keep. That’s where stories come in.
Stories basically let you share photos and videos in a slideshow format, and also enjoy those of people you follow, stories disappear after a 24-hour period unless you delete them before they expire. Stories can be found at the top of your news feed.
Ahhh, the reason so many of us joined Instagram! Filters are effects you can apply to your images, and while some of them are designed to make you look 10 years younger (BTW, no one is ever fooled!), others can add a certain feel or make an ordinary shot look extraordinary.
There are black and white filters, filters with a 70s feel, filters to make your images look brighter, filters that add stars – the list is long, have a play around.
IGTV is Instagram’s app that lets you watch videos from the people you follow. Videos aren’t limited to one minute like they are in posts and stories and can be up to an hour-long. Videos made by people you follow on Instagram will show up for you to watch.
New features and tips
Instagram is constantly adding new features–here are the latest ones we love:
1. Go straight to your camera roll
If you want to save time and get straight to uploading a photo whenever you open Instagram, just hold down the camera tab and the camera roll will immediately open for you to make your selection.
2. Save drafts of photos
Sometimes it’s just not convenient to take a photo and then spend the next 10 minutes editing it and trying out filters. This new change means Instagram now prompts you to either save or discard your draft before you even leave the editing screen.
3. Turn off comments
It could be that you’re posting about a sensitive topic, or it could be that an argument has broken out in your post comments between followers. Whatever the reason, you can now turn off comment on any post – simply tap the three-dot button above your post and select Turn Off Commenting.