There are 63,576,987 hashtags on Instagram. I just counted them all before I wrote this blog. This is of course a big fat lie. But the point I’m making is that there’s a myriad of hashtags on the Instagram app and they can be very useful to you.
Personally I use hashtags for three main reasons. Firstly I use hashtags to locate specific types of photography that I am interested in. Typing in obvious tags such as #minimal can then lead you to more niche ones like #candyminimal and I can spend ages scouring the images under various headings. Scrolling through you’ll begin to see several shots appearing from the same account and this helps you find like-minded photographers to reach out too and, if the fancy takes you, to follow. I’ve found many of the people I follow this way.
Obviously the second reason is the opposite of the first point – to attract people to my gallery, hoping they do the same as me and trawl through a hashtag looking for interesting images and accounts. When I first joined Instagram and started tagging I went a bit crazy. In fact, once I got a taste for it and a few extra likes on my pics, I went too crazy. I tagged every word that related to my photo without any filtering. With experience, and having read articles about this, spamming photos with a tonne of hashtags isn’t productive and apparently, according to Insta-experts, results in fewer people taking the time to view your gallery. I understand this concept – too many tags can look desperate for attention and it takes the focus away from the photo itself in my opinion. It’s also worth pointing out that it tends to frustrate me, and I know others who feel the same, when people use hashtags which aren’t relevant to their image so I avoid doing this myself.
Thirdly, tagging can work in your favour to be selected for features on curated accounts. I’ll be writing about curation on a later blog post so I won’t say much more here.
During my Insta-life I have created two hashtags. Alongside my Insta-buddy and genius real-life artist @blakebyers we created #minimalgangsters. Obviously this is a place to view minimal images (the gangsters part was clearly an attempt to make us sound cool, Blake certainly is, I’m certainly not) and 68,158 photos have been included so far. Check it out and join in – it’s a great place to find fantastic minimal images and minimal-based accounts to follow.
The second hashtag I created was #mcminimal. I visit McDonalds every so often (Big Mac meal, banana milkshake, curry sauce to dip the fries in) and when I do I try to create a minimal image using the golden arches. It’s not proved as popular as #minimalgangsters as clearly it’s more niche – but people have joined in and it’s proved fun.
I think it’s worth saying as well that the simpler and clearer the hashtag the better. On Instagram you’ll see on #mcminimal that people don’t quite understand the idea behind it (and why should they as I’ve never explained it properly to anyone!). I should learn a lesson from my Insta-friend @blakebyers who also created #buildingsthatlooklikespaceships. There’s no confusion there obviously.
Finally, I thought it would be good to point out four of my favourite hashtags at the moment to tempt you and inspire you…
#thelegcollection created by @_mattsteele_. Lots of legs in lots of crazy places. Matt is so creative with hashtags and a flick through his gallery will take you on a laugh out loud journey of hashtag fun. Try Matt’s #theittybittylegcollection too for even smaller legs! (Photo courtesy of @_mattsteele_)
#linemeetscorner created by the uber talented duo @slowjam98 and @poeticwordvomit. Pretty self-explanatory title for ultra cool photos of architecture and other stuff where a line meets the corner of the square frame. (Photo courtesy of @slowjam98)
I’m Tony Hammond. I’m UK based. I’m a total Instagram-addict. I love the film Ferris Buellers Day Off but I hate brussel sprouts. Find me on Instagram at @iamtonyhammond and say bonjour.