The reasons for wanting to get featured on Instagram could be many, the most obvious being that it's such a good opportunity to get your photo in front of huge amount of people.
If you're trying to get more visibility for your creative work a feature on Instagram could be just the trigger that sets you on your path to success.
In this post I wanted to share some of the thoughts and ideas that have worked for me in getting featured, so that you can go out there and take your *cue cheerleader pompom routine* BEST weekends hashtag project photos EVER!
If you're not already familiar with the weekend hashtag projects it's a weekly themed photo challenge that Instagram announces on their own account each Friday. Every weekend there's a different theme, it can be anything from #WHPmini to #WHPhome, and every photo taken that weekend with the hashtag included is eligible to get featured on Instagrams account next week.
I've gotten featured via these projects 3 times, which is sort of insane and although I worked for my photos, I'm sure there was some luck with me too (well, I also have the cutest cats=Instagold).
Just to give you an idea what getting featured could do to your account I'll share with you how mine has grown with each feature.
- #WHPmadewithlove (September 2017)
From around 2,000 followers to 6,000 followers in just one day.
- #WHPmyeveryday (October 2017)
From roughly 7,000 to 11,000 in a couple of days.
- #WHPspontaneous (January 2018)
Went from 15,500 followers to 19,500 followers.
Taking part in these projects is such a good way to challenge your creativity and work on your photography.
It's really fun to see what others have created within the same frame under the hashtag and discover new like minded passionistas and whimsical Instagrammers.
So, I'll end my pitch on why you should also take part in these right here, and continue with my 4 tips plus the secret sauce to create you absolute BEST Instagram weekend hashtag photos.
1. Use what you already have
Use an already existing idea you have for a photo and tweak it for the #WHP. It can be quite the challenge to create something from absolute scratch in only a weekend, and to do something that both fits the theme and also feels like you.
Especially in the beginning I did the mistake of taking photos that I probably otherwise never would have, and created & posted them just for the sake of the #WHP.
It was a great learning experience but those photos would always leave me feeling a bit meh.
This was not the right path.
So instead I started using things that had worked for me before and do variations on those, OR take an idea I had in the back of my head and make it fit with the #WHP.
That way it becomes more about challenging your own original ideas and taking them further and less about selling your soul in the hopes of a feature.
Being authentic is the only thing that works.
2. Think differently
Okay, so the whole “think outside of the box” concept is easier said than done, but what it really boils down to is having an idea.
The idea doesn't have to be the most genius never-before-seen visual firework, but having some kind of thought behind your photo is definitely key to grabbing peoples attention.
What this practically means is to sometimes not go with the first idea that pops in your head, but instead maybe choosing the second or third or maybe even seventh idea!
An example of a photo that really made me stretch my own creativity and think outside of the box was this one for #WHPstripes. It didn't get featured but it was so much fun to do!
I was super excited about the concept of cutting the photos to create the stripes, and I would probably never have come up with this idea unless I would've participated in the weekend hashtag challenge.
3. Give them something worth making a remark about
This is a thought I stumbled upon by in Seth Godins Ted Talk “How to get your ideas to spread”:
The thing that's going to decide what gets talked about, what gets done, what gets changed....is: "Is it remarkable?" And "remarkable" is a really cool word, because we think it just means "neat," but it also means "worth making a remark about."
I think this is a nice little reminder that nudges us to choose a path of weird and whimsical ideas instead of the safe and comfortable ones.
When I look back at my photos that have gotten featured they've all had more than one “thing” going on in them. For example the one that got featured for #WHPspontaneous (first pic in this post) have both the noodles that look like a knit project and Bella strutting towards the camera, two things worth making a remark about right there.
What can you add to your photo that makes it worth making a remark about? Is it a surprising angle, a surreal juxtaposition or an interesting pattern?
Composition basically means how you put everything together in your photo. Without a clear sense of composition a brilliant idea is useless.
This doesn't mean you have to stage or style a photo, snapping pics from very real and everyday life moments also require you to choose your subjects and angles carefully. It's all about finding the right balance and rhythm in your photo to support what it is you want to express.
For example I often tend to make sure that I have a very clear point of focus in my photos and try to avoid too much clutter.
One test to see if I've achieved this is to look at a photo I took in that tiny thumbnail size on the phone screen, and see if it's still readable in such a small size.
Learning about the rule of thirds is a great basic guideline when you're editing your photos, and in the end it's all really about finding what works best in bringing out the things you want in your photo.
If your story is about minimalism, then having a lot of negative space is a good guideline. If you're all about dreamy atmospheres, then focusing on the mood and colors become vital elements. If you're all about fun and unfiltered, then go ahead and be crazy and messy!
5. The secret sauce
The final and probably most important thing, which I like to call the secret sauce, is how your photo makes people feel.
We're emotional creatures -who all crave love and to be seen- and the power of emotions is not to be underestimated when creating visual content.
What is it that you want to make someone feel when they see your picture? Will it spark some kind of emotions or curiosity or will your photo be easy to ignore and skip over?
Giving some extra attention to considering how the viewer will perceive your photo is a good idea when creating photos for the #WHPs as you are also trying to reach out to people who aren't already following you.
If you can make someone smile or feel a spark of excitement or inspiration when they look at your photo, you've seriously kicked ass my friend and done something very important *clapping*.
The world needs to see your good stuff.
Ok, so there you have my tips, I hope you've enjoyed them :)
Here I complied a little list of tasks and questions for you to do if, like me, you're a geek who loves a bit of homework (especially if there's lists involved *wohoo*).
- Write down or sketch out ideas you have for photos so that you'll have a list handy for future WHPs
- Go back and take a look at photos you've already done that worked. Analyze them and break them down to the things that were part of making that photo good in your opinion. Is there a specific corner in your home with really good light you could use as a backdrop again? Is there a concept you were excited about that you could redo? Do you have an object or texture (I use my knits all the time) that you get inspired by that you could use in a photo?
- Articulate what you want the viewer to feel when they look at your photos. You can make a list of words that you would like people to associate with your pictures.
- Make a Pinterest board with ideas for interesting concepts and ideas for the future. To get started you're welcome to have a look at some of mine :)
Have you taken part in the weekend hashtag projects before? What was your experience of creating something within a specific frame?
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