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Want to get started with your own Instagram? Here’s how

Posted 8:47pm on Wednesday, Sep. 25, 2013

Check out our story on a local group of DFW Instagrammers who met through the app, and forged a flesh-and-blood community of friends. Plus: Be sure to enter our State Fair Instagram contest!

Maybe 150 million people a month use Instagram, but that means that millions still haven’t tried the app or haven’t ventured into the digitally-filtered waters just yet. Want to get started? Read on.

1. Download the app for your phone

Instagram works for Apple and Android devices, meaning you can download the free app in either the Apple App Store or Google Play store. Just search for ‘Instagram.’ Also, Instagram has web profiles for all users. Once you’ve created your account, you can view it online, too. For instance, my @bynickdean feed is at Instagram.com/bynickdean

2. Taking photos/videos

Instagram lets you take photos/videos right inside the app or use photos/videos on your phone. It seems most common for Instagrammers to take a photo using either their phone’s built-in camera app or a third-party camera app (like Camera+, $1,99) and then uploading to Instagram. You’ll quickly find which method you prefer.

3. What to shoot?

Some feeds are completely black and white. Others are all portraits. Some Instagrammers love action shots ( Jumpstagrams, or Instagram posts of people mid-air) are popular, too. Find a niche or explore several different styles to find what really interests you. It seems fairly common for feeds to be a hodge-podge of posts capturing life moments and artistic photography. Check out the InstaDFW feed or tag to see what locals have used as inspiration. From skylines and lakes to gritty streets and graffitti-filled walls, Instagram posts really are in the eye of the beholder. Each weekend, the Instagram headquarters announces a Weekend Hashtag Project, too.

4. How do I edit?

You could argue that the artistic process is all in the editing for most Instagrammers. Some create several different looks of the same photograph before posting onto Instagram. You can edit your photos with Instagram’s built-in features, like automatic brightness adjustment and blurring, and digital filters that you can easily scroll through. There is a myriad of photo editing apps, some free, which will let you fine-tune your smartphone images. Popular free editing apps include VSCO Cam and Google Snapseed.

5. How do I gain followers?

Starting out, you’ll likely see your friends as your first followers (Instagram lets you connect your account to your Facebook and Twitter accounts). Don’t post too often. Popular theory seems to say 3-4 posts per day is best. You can use hashtags to include your posts in other feeds. You could tag a photo’s place (#FortWorth), its style (#portrait) or you can enter it into other feed suggestions like #InstaDFW, which means you and your photo could be featured and attract more followers.

On that note, follow @dfw_com and @bynickdean on Instagram today!

Nick Dean, 817-390-7856 Twitter: @bynickdean

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