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Five Tips for Using Instagram as an Online Portfolio

Instagram is one of the most popular applications for following the lives of friends, family, and even celebrities through their pictures, but the service is also a powerful tool for artists and photographers wanting to showcase their projects, personalities, and visual aesthetics as a whole.

For a closer look at the platform as a branding tool we spoke with Digital Media graduate Amon Focus and instructor Lesley Silvia (Course Director for Digital Photography), who have both found a number of uses for Instagram as a compliment to their online portfolios.

Lesley leans on Instagram to showcase her processes while creating personal and professional projects, while Amon utilizes it as a networking tool for his company Life is Digital Media, and has gained a number of clients just through the quality of the work on his feed.

Here's five tips we got from Lesley and Amon for taking better Instagram photos and managing your account like a visual artist.

  • I feel like anything I put online is strategic. I have clients in my feed, and you have to remember that you’re associated with every piece of content you’re putting out. Make sure that what you post represents the image of yourself that you want out there. - Amon
  • Being careful with your hashtags is a major one because you want people to be able to find your work. They can also get you hit with a lot of spam, and the main time this was a problem for me is when I was using very general hashtags like 'Halloween' or 'winter.' Really try to be much more descriptive with what you write. – Lesley
  • Be mindful of light and the shortcomings of your phone. If there’s not much light you’re going to have a lot of grain in your photos because it's doing all these mathematical equations to pull in what it can. So if you’re taking a picture of an object, put it by a window, that is the best light you can utilize to make your stuff pop and bring out the colors. Also, never use zoom, the zoom on your camera phone is terrible. If you want to zoom, move closer. – Amon
  • Filters allow certain aspects to come out in the photograph, and I would encourage people to experiment with each of them and see how they change the overall appearance and mood of the photograph. I use an app called Magic Hour which allows you a lot more freedom with your filters, and you can import straight into Instagram. - Lesley
  • Bad things have a way of making it through different channels on the Internet, so you have to watch what people say on your posts. I’ll even ask friends to remove inappropriate comments because you get associated with them, and have no idea what will rise to the top of a search engine. Be proactive about your name and work being out there for people to see. - Amon

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