Life In LoFi’s 10 Great Instagram Tips


Instagram is one of the most insanely popular photo apps for iPhone. Within its first year, it amassed over 15 million users. An Android version has been released and the app now has hundreds of millions of users.

It’s by far the most popular social photo app and the number of people who use it as well as the community that has sprung up around Instagram are huge reasons for its continued popularity. It’s easy for people to connect with Instagram. I use Instagram, especially when I travel. You can find me on Instagram/@martyneardfw.

By opening up its API to other photo apps, Instagram has made it easy to be as creative as you want, whether it’s using one of the app’s built-in one-click filters or using one of the many Instagram-ready photo apps. Here are ten tips to help you get more out of Instagram. >>>

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1. Save Your Original Photo

If you often use Instagram to shoot, be sure you are saving your original photo to your camera roll as well. Having the original lets you rework the image later in Instagram or other photo apps. It’s hidden away. In the iPhone’s Settings app, scroll down to Instagram’s settings, open, and be sure “Save original photo” is turned on. To save a high-res version of your Instagram-processed image to your camera roll, be sure that “Save filtered photo” is turned on as well. Instagram itself only saves a 612×612 pixel image to the web.

2. Take Multiple Shots

Taking multiple shots or “safety shots” helps ensure that you capture the image that you see. Change up the angle or the in-camera composition slightly. Move the camera around by repositioning yourself if possible. Shoot the photo wide and crop it down. Sometimes the capture you see doesn’t translate well in-camera. Having multiple shots not only gives you more creative choices, but gives you more options in case of camera focus or exposure glitches. I use Camera or a third-party camera replacement to save multiple shots to my camera roll and then share the best photo for Instagram. It’s a few extra steps, but often produces a better photo.

3. Get More Filter Options

Instagram has a much-beloved (or oft-maligned) set of 16 retro photo filters that you can apply to an image. These one-click filters can make shooting and sharing to Instagram a snap. for a much greater variety of filter options, a lot of third-party apps now share directly to Instagram. Apps like Camera+ by tap tap tap, MacPhun’s popular FX Photo Studio, Pixlr-o-matic, Mextures and many others give you many more effects options and then export your image directly to Instagram already cropped and centered — ready to go!

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4. Zoom In Instagram

The iPhone Camera app has a built-in 5x digital zoom. Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t. To use zoom in Instagram, first shoot your image using Apple’s Camera using zoom, then import your photo into Instagram. Shooting with your iPhone held sideways will help you get a better top-to-bottom crop.

5. Add Text

A picture is worth a thousand words. If you want to add a few more (right on top of your image), two excellent apps for adding text and other flair are Typic Pro and Over. Both apps let you add text in a variety of fonts and colors. The both let you crop square in the app, and both export straight to Instagram. Typic and Typic Pro and saves full-res square format images to your camera roll. Over saves at a very usable 2048×2048 4 MP resolution.

6. Posting Non-Square Photos to Instagram

Sometimes a photo needs more image than square. Sharing an uncropped tall or wide image into Instagram adds unsightly black letterboxing to the extra space. I highly recommend the excellent free app Squaready to crop my images for Instagram. It easily preps tall or wide images for Instagram by adding white letterboxing that seamlessly blends with Instagram’s background.

7. Print Your own Instagrams

The latest versions of Instagram saves high-res versions of the processed images to your camera roll — around 1920×1920 pixels on an iPhone 5. That’s large enough to make 10″x10″ enlargements from your Instagrams. Grabbing one of your Instagrams from the web will get your a much smaller 612×612 pixel image, but that’s still enough resolution to get good quality enlargements up to 4″x4″. Check out our post on making iPhone photo prints for great info on making enlargements.

8. Use Hashtags

Use relevant hashtags on Instagram to help your images show up in searches, helping get your images seen by more users. Want to browse some of the 25,000 images of Dallas? #dallas. There are over 44,000 Instagrams of #superbowl. Party. I’m an airplane geek. Nice to know there are 127 Instagrams of #dc3. Got your Instagram account connected to your Twitter account? Your Instgram hashtags also show up in your Twitter feed as well.

9. Check Your Stats

If you’re an Instagrammer and also love analytics as much as I do, Statigram is a very cool free website to check out. Statigram provides metrics for your Instagram account, including your Top 5 most liked and followed photos, how often you use filters and which are your favorites, and your most engaged followers. Log into Statigram using your Instagram credentials. Stats are refreshed at each login.

10. Send a Postcard

You can’t tape the web to the refrigerator. While email is immediate, many people still love to get real postcards via snailmail. Postagram Postcards is an Instagram-focused app that lets you create and send real postcards using your Instagram feed. The ship a glossy photo postcard both US and international. Your Instagram arrives as a pop-out 3″x3″ print. You can include an optional 140 character message. The app is free but each postcard costs $0.99. It’s worth a buck to send a personal memory.

Got some Instagram tips of your own? Share them in the comments below.



Related Post:

Miss the old Instagram Gotham filter? Check out our past post, Instagram: Recreating Gotham Using Camera+

About Marty Yawnick (1783 Articles)
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Gaston Graf


    apps that I love in combination with Instagram are:

    – Instaplus, ClassicINSTA and Instacam, commercial clones of the free Instagram which I love because of the additional filters they provide.
    – 6×6, for clean shots in 1:1 format which I edit in various apps. Shooting in 1:1 format saves cropping time.
    – Squara, qbro, Lomora2, ScratchCam and PhotoToaster are some more of my favorite apps to use with Instagram.
    And yes, pictures made with the great Hipstamatic can also be used with Instagram.

    Tip: to use more than one of the Instagram effects on the same photo I switch my iPhone to airplane mode. That way, Instagram won't be able to connect for uploading your finished photo but saves a copy to upload it later. I then cancel the planned upload and reload the picture to apply a second effect. Because that crop and adjust frame in Instagram is a pain in the ass I prefer opening my photos with Squara, then transfer them to Instagram to make them fit in the frame just perfectly.

    You can find me on Instagram under #quaffit. My Blog about iPhoneography is at

    Many thanks for your newsletter which is always a pleasure to read. I discovered already some cool apps and tricks thanks to you so please keep up the good work ;-).

    • lifeinlofiblog

      Great tips! Thanks, Gaston. I forgot about 6×6 — it's a very good app for shooting clean square format.


  • Gaston Graf

    Btw: I forgot something. You recommend Phonto to add text. I took a look at it. Because I use A+Signature, Phonto is not needed for me but I'd like to bring your attention to A+Signature because it's really a cool app to add all sorts of hand drawn and hand written things to a photo which are all scalable and which can be saved in a library. You can change the level of opacity, line strength and color, outlining, shadow, and so on, plus A+Signature saves your photo in full resolution even if it's higher than the regular 3264×2448 of the iPhone4S. I personally prefer using A+Signature to add my copyright watermarks to me photos before publishing them on my blog. It might be a bit tricky to place such copyright info in a corner of a picture on the tiny iPhone screen but it's easier in landscape mode and a pleasure to use on the iPad.
    Enjoy 😉

  • Jeremy

    Thanks for the tip on SquareReady – that has been my biggest complaint about Instagram (and I never thought to look to see if "there's an app for that" :) ). I love the social aspect, definitely.

    Thanks again for the useful post Marty – greatly appreciated.

  • Rob

    6X6 and Magic Hour really make a great combination.

  • The CheapSkirt

    My #1 Instagram tip is to NEVER use the in-app camera. Invariably it WILL crash–right when you have that once-in-a-lifetime shot.

    Besides, it is soooo slow since the past few updates. meh.

    • lifeinlofiblog

      Great tip about the camera. I agree. Using the more reliable Apple Camera (or another camera replacement app) can definitely save some grief. Thank you for sharing this one.


  • Nola

    " it’s continued popularity"
    it's= contraction for it has/it has
    its= possessive

    • lifeinlofiblog

      Grrrr. I hate it when I do that. I promise I know better. Thanks for the catch. Its been fixed…. 😉


      • Noel Chenier

        I love it when people correct my spelling! :)
        I had a woman who went through my entire app and sent me a list with all the mistakes…which I have corrected for the updates!


    • Terry

      It’s = contraction for it has or it has? That’s an embarrassing correction. By the way that’s = contraction for that is….

  • Kim

    Awesome. I can’t wait to use squaready. I also love gramscape for sharing my Instagram feed on my blog.

  • al_lea

    try InstaClip – auto crop instagram photo by taking screenshots.

    AppStore Link: