Instagram Basics

People often reach out and ask how I established a presence on Instagram. Building your audience and creating a cohesive feed go hand in hand, so I wanted to share a few basics that have helped me along the way.

Be consistent. Find your style, and stick with it. This applies to the content you post, as well as how you edit your images. In terms of the former, I share my day-to-day, focusing on travel and lifestyle content. Whether your account is broad like mine, or much more niche, be sure that what you share is consistent in both its look and feel. For editing, I only use VSCO, although Snapseed is another influencer favorite. And while I do play around with 1-2 different filters, I always try to make sure the lighting, contrast and tones are similar throughout.

Natural light. As a rule of thumb, I only post photos taken with natural light. If the quality is not up to par, that’s what Stories or a full blog post are for – ha! But in all seriousness, aim for natural light whenever possible.

Be authentic. As your audience grows, brands will most likely start to take notice and want to work with you. If it isn’t a good fit, and if you do not believe in the product, kindly pass on the opportunity. I have had to turn down some amazing opportunities business-wise, because they were not a good fit. Authenticity is the most important quality when building your own brand, so stay true to your audience, and to what you stand for.

Be original. Comparison truly is the thief of joy, and “keeping up with the joneses” is a one way ticket to unhappiness. There’s only one of you in this world; how amazing is that? Focus on your passions, your goals, your style, your life… it’ll shine through and stand out.

Be the bigger person. The sad truth is that there are some mean and awful people out there, and at some point, you are likely to get some not-so-nice comments. Practice kindness, respond professionally and maturely when warranted, and ignore the crazy, unfounded insults – they need not be validated with a response. And always remember: what others say about you is purely a reflection of them.

Engage with others. When someone comments on your photo, be sure to reply. If someone shares your photo, be sure to thank them. And never be shy when “liking” or commenting on other people’s photos – what goes around comes around!

Get noticed. Two of my biggest “growth spurts” were when Madewell and J. Crew regrammed some of my images pretty early on. I tagged each brand whenever I wore them in a photo, and eventually, they took notice. Be sure to tag all relevant properties in your images, and to include hashtags on each photo as well. I like to create them in Notes on my iPhone, with 6 rows of “#” to collapse them. I then copy and paste as a comment underneath each of my photos. I believe Instagram lets you add up to thirty hashtags, so #gonuts!

Have fun. If it stops being fun, delete the app. It’s just Instagram, after all.

Do you have any other tips that have worked for you? Feel free to leave them in the comments below, I would love to read them!


  1. Thanks for this post, Lauren! I love your feed & the adventures you & your husband are always on. 🙂

    I was featured by Instagram a few years ago so although I have a lot of followers, my engagement is not very high. I don’t understand what happened! I haven’t changed my content. Once in awhile some of my images will receive a lot of likes but not always. Sometimes I get frustrated by it- so your last bullet was a nice reminder. I created my feed to have fun and enjoy photography, not to get likes.

    Looking forward to your future travels!


    | Reply
    • Lauren

      Hi Ryan, This is the nicest note! Thank you so much for following along!

  2. Your feed is gorgeous! What camera and lens do you use?

    | Reply
    • Lauren

      Thank you! I use an iPhone!

  3. Love this post. I’m a new blogger and trying to grow my audience, so it’s helpful to hear this from someone who knows the ropes!

    xo Mackenzie |

    | Reply
    • Lauren

      Thank you so much for reading!