There. I said it.
This might not be a big deal to some of you, but for a photographer who sees the world through my mind's lens, it's a bit embarrassing.
Honestly, I didn't want to do Facebook either when it first launched. I reluctantly signed up once I realized I could connect with friends and family living all over the country and the world (thanks Lori for keeping on me to do that). I had never been very good about keeping up with people after they moved away and had always regretted that. Facebook would solve that, so I signed up.
And then, I was hooked.
I found friends and co-workers that I hadn't heard from in years! I could get updates about what they were up to and even see pictures of their new adventures and adorable kids. It was great! And kind of weird in a way, you know? I mean, I recognized people's children when I was out and about and I had NEVER MET THEM! So, with the power of Facebook, I could keep up with old friends and connect with a few new ones that I didn't see on a daily basis. So, why would I need ANOTHER app that does the same thing with the major stipulation of having to post an image?? And I have to open up another app? What? It's not even on a desktop!! Anyone with me on this??
I finally got over it and embraced the art of Instagramming. It's focused more on making eye-catching beautiful images than it is about information and updates. It's easier to scroll through and prettier to look at than Facebook. There are some seriously amazing Instagram accounts that won't disappoint if you want to follow them and add them to your feed (see my recommendations below).
You don't have to mutually follow each other. If you follow someone, they will get a notification with a button to follow you, if they choose to do so. But they don't have to, and you don't have to follow back either. Making it super easy to control what is in your feed and what you show to others.
There are no sponsored ads. You only see posts from users you follow.
For those of you who feel the burden of having to manage more than one social media platform, you can link your facebook account and have it post it in BOTH places! Yep, just post it to Instagram and select the facebook button to have it automagically post to Instagram and Facebook! That is WINNING, friends!
Bottom line. Instagram is here to stay. So quit your excuses and join in the fun.
We head out on a long adventure out west very soon and I'll be posting a lot to Instagram (with the duplicate on Facebook). We'd love to have you follow along with our family adventures in Yellowstone National Park and beautiful Montana. We'll be using the hashtag #cartwrightsgowest and #cartwrightcrew to track our trip, or you can follow me directly @katie.cartwright or my husband Keith @keithcartwright. He actually got a selfie-stick from my parents for his birthday, so that should come in handy (#seewhatididthere)!
A few quick answers to some basic questions you might have about getting started.
Can everyone see what I post or can I keep it private?
You can choose to keep your account private. This means that no one can see your posts unless you accept their follow request. For some that's a nice layer of protection, but if you're trying to gain followers, you'll want your images to be visible to the public. No one wants to follow a blank grid!
How do I browse for interesting people to follow?
Instagram will show you suggested "photos" and "people" when you click the magnifying glass on the bottom toolbar.
How do I find and follow someone specific?
If you know a person's username, click on the magnifying glass at the bottom of the app to pull up the search page. Type the username in the search bar and make sure you've selected "users" and not "hashtags". If you don't know their username, just ask them!
How do I view photos using a specific hashtag?
Same as above for find and follow someone specific, just make sure "hashtag" is selected and not "users". You may even find yourself at an event or social gathering with it's very own hashtag! A cool way to get all the photos gathered up in one place. It's genius, really.
If you have more questions, feel free to ask in the comments. I'd be happy to help!
To wrap things up, here are some recommendations for how to use Instagram to see our great world, be humbled and inspired.
Follow someone who posts from an entirely different place in the world. Here are a few of my favorite Instagram usernames and hashtags for any of you who'd like to spruce up what you've got in your own feed with some travel and adventure photos. Beware - some of these are downright crazy good! And if you're not using instagram just yet, I hope you're reconsidering things.
@go.photography_ (don't forget that underscore at the end)
@mustafaseven (From Istanbul/Turkey)
@wanderingwayfarers (people in amazing landscape scenes)
Hashtags were a great invention. They make it super easy to find a collection of images based on location, subject, or event. Whoever invented these hashtag things is genius!
Favorite Hashtags to search:
#gopro (all from GoPro cameras)
#macro (close-up photography)
#WeEatWorld (food around the world)
#wymtm (what you missed this morning)
Got any favorite Instagram user or hashtags you'd like to recommend? Leave a note in the comments, we'd love to hear from you and find someone new to follow!
And don't forget to follow us directly or follow our hashtags: