Falling in love with Instagram

love instagram

I am a busy guy and I don’t have a lot of free time, especially for another bloody social media platform. But week by week I have been falling in love with Instagram. It offers zero business value, at least the way I use it, and I don’t want it to.  It is just pure, pressure-free, lovely, creative fun.

If you haven’t tried it, Instagram is an exceedingly easy way to share, edit, and view photos. It is only available on mobile devices and is so easy to use, there are literally no instructions. Here’s why I love it:

lauren schaefer

My daughter and I via Instagram

Ultra personal.  I am so very grateful for the many connections I have made through the blog but it is difficult to REALLY know people. On Instagram, people post little intimate glimpses of their lives as an art form.  People snap photos of where they are, what they love, and who they love. I have learned that Kerry Gorgone has a passion for muscle cars and Joel Hughes takes amazing pictures of things in decay and I can see the view Brian Solis has from his hotel room in Europe.  I get to “meet” the parents, grandparents and kids of my social media friends. I see where people live, what they drive, and their favorite places to relax. I feel like the relationships are becoming richer.

I also find that I “open up” more on Instagram and post personal photos that I would not put on other sites.  I’m not sure of the psychology behind this other than since other people are opening up, maybe it feels safer for me too.

raspberriesIt’s an easy way to share photos. There is a modest editing utility on Instagram and after you edit a photo, it saves it on your phone so you have access the “better” picture later. With the push of a button, you can pump the pics on to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr too.

It’s time-friendly. I can scroll through Instagram in a few minutes and be caught up. It takes hardly any time at all. And if I miss the photos of a friend, I can click on their icon and see all of their photos in one place.

It’s a creative challenge. If I’m in an interesting place, I start to look for interesting angles and compositions for my own contribution to Instagram. I only post 1-2 photos a day and I try to make them great. So for example, I was caught in a fierce storm in New York City and saw a scene that seemed surreal. It was an Instagram moment! Moving around life is more fun if you are always looking a little deeper, a little higher, a little wider at a scene to share with friends. It has really invigorated my love of photography and the creative process.

World view. I get to see pictures of people living their lives all over the world. Romania. Moldova. Croatia. Even Kentucky! It’s like a little National Geographic every day.

I hope you’ll give Instagram a try and if you do, please feel free follow me at markwschaefer. I’ll try to make your day a little more interesting and fun!

Why do YOU love Instagram?  Have you caught the bug?

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  • I loveeeee instagram but you probably know that lol. I share too much photos of food lol

    Just love pretty photos of the world that I’m able to get from instagram.

    Thank you for sharing your part of the world

  • yup…ditto for me regarding instagram.

  • Such a great perspective! I also agree with you!

  • I love it too – and you do get to know people a lot better. Have you realised I quite like wine? 🙂

  • Gettysburg Gerry

    Okay, odd man out. Instagram is great agreed. But, Lightbox was 1,000 times better. I miss Lightbox.

  • I love that it can automatically share to Twitter and Facebook too! It’s good pass time, if you want some photos from Serbia, you can follow me 🙂 @011bojan 🙂

  • I honestly just downloaded it to my phone last night – no joke. I didnt realize how easy it was to use and how I could use it without Facebook (yes, I am not on Facebook believe it or not). I have been sending pics via Twitter just by using the camera icon on my status update but Im excited to get in there and try Instagram for all the reasons you shared here. Like you, I really enjoy seeing the ‘other’ side of my online friends.

  • Thanks, Mark for giving me yet another reason to despise my blackberry. As far as I can tell, there is still no version of Instagram for the RIM devices. Boo.

  • I first heard of Instagram about a year ago. I did not use it much for quit a while, but have been using it more lately. It is a really fun tool.

  • I’ve used it for almost 2 years now and love it. Here’s an old one for you 🙂 http://statigr.am/p/256035680_2024349

  • HeleenMills

    All photos look great on Instagram, regardless of composition or colour or lighting! Today is also the world wide InstaMeet where Instagrammers meet up and go on photo-taking excursions! Going to the meet in Cape Town!

  • I saw the title and I just KNEW that you would include that picture of us!LOVE instagram to share journeys!

    Other awesome part of Instagram? The square photos are perfect ratio for full screen photos!

  • As a photographer, who sees life as photos, the ability to use a cell phone or iPad to take a picture and quickly change it, frame it, or just adding a filter is very fun. It takes a process and simplifies it to allow others to see how exciting Photography can really be. If you like Instagram, try taking a non-silver photography class!! i look forward to seeing your pictures…I’m starting to publish mine to …sandraisaac

  • perilouspauline

    Just started using Instagram. Very much enjoyed this post. I will delve into it more now. Thanks!

  • RogierNoort

    Yup, it is a great creative tool, connecting with people in a original environment, meeting people I’d otherwise never meet.
    Curious to see how this post will affect your followers, Mark…

  • Very exciting Mark… Have a digital camera, and looking forward to uploading my photos on Instagram from that device soon. What are the chances of this happening?

  • Yeah – I like it a lot! But what’s people’s reaction to pictures taken with other cameras and imported into instagram? I use both my iPhone, my Olympus pen and my Nikon DSLR for Instagram but some people thinks it’s “cheating”. On the other hand you also manipulate pictures with the Instagram app so what’s the difference? See my pictures on my profile (search for tybjerg) – I ususally tag my pictures with #dslr so people can see it’s not an original iPhone picture

  • I love when people post witty captions on Instagram. As a former paper guy, cutlines gave the photos context and meaning. Photos can tell a story, and words help that picture story along.

  • I’ve been using Instagram since earlier this year when the Android app was released. But I use it to take photos and occasionally share to Twitter/Facebook. There are over 100 people who follow my photos there but I haven’t played with the inner workings enough to determine why, or who, to follow there.

    How do you decide who to follow on Instagram, Mark?

  • Just as I was telling someone about my growing Instagram addiction I see your post in my email – yay! I often find my self going out “Instagramming” which is really running with the purpose of finding a great picture to post. Living on the Jersey Shore, the beach and the sky are my muses along with food and beverages. It just makes life a little bit more fun. To take my love of Instagram one step farther, I’ve started using the Postagram app to send my Instagram pictures in the form of a postcard to my Grandparents. It’s a “tweet” for them. Great post Mark, I love seeing your pictures!

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  • Love using Instagram! Everyone who comments should post their UN and we can follow eachothr. My name is: stephenknuth. I post a lot about food, travel & photography.

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  • I shot you a follow – Mine’s pavelnovel – I post a lot of city photos, graffiti, art, and street performers.

  • I love Instagram for the same reasons Mark! I got into it about a month and I absolutely love it. It’s so simple and it really makes me appreciate the world around me a little more for its artistic beauty. Buildings, graffiti, signs, etc. It’s the only social network that made me more directly connected to the “real world.” I’m starting to follow more people from around the world because I know there’s just so much I want to see! It’s easy to see how Instagram got so popular!

  • I’m definitely a fan of Instagram. In fact, it’s my favorite social network to use without any consideration for my day job 🙂 That said, there are many interesting biz applications, like the thing we did at my MPLS book launch:

    We encouraged people to take photos at the event and post to Instagram with the hashtag #OptimizeBook – then we had someone print those photos off at the event so attendees could see and take them if desired. See: http://lee.to/QNXEkC

  • Barry Wallace

    There are a few examples of businesses using Instagram for marketing their services – in this case a hospital posted pictures of a toddler’s open heart surgery via Instagram:


    “Through streaming live her surgery, the hospital wanted to highlight its
    heart center and give people a behind-the-scenes look at its operating

    Of course, you could do this just as easily with Pinterest or even FlickR but they chose to use Instagram.

  • Hi Mark,
    great article & thanks for including me in the shout out 🙂

    I certainly find Instagram is an outlet for me which the other networks don’t cater for – this means that people can engage with me in a particular way. If they are not visual people and don’t like my shots of sheds (yup!), that’s cool, perhaps we can hook up on Twitter instead (I don’t let all IG photos flood through to Twitter).

    As s passing point, a funny difference between IG and Twitter is this: once you tweet it is pretty much cold within minutes – you don’t get RTs and faves from last month’s tweets. But you DO get comments/likes from stuff which is ages old on IG (I got likes for stuff over a year old the other day). The content on Instagram ages like a fine wine 😉


  • there’s some pretty funky iphone apps for adding labels onto photos. Labelmaker is one I think…

  • I’m not a fan of the Niels to be honest but, if the photo is clearly labelled as #dslr then I suppose it’s ok


  • …I’m not sure that *all* photos look great in IG Heleen!

  • Thanks so much for the shout out, Mark! I started taking muscle car pics for my son, never thinking anyone else would be into seeing them. I’ve really loved connecting with other car aficionados via Instagram! Also, thanks for not outing my cloudporn addiction. 😉

  • Yeah, I almost mentioned the whole porn hashtag thing. Everything on Instagram is porn. #cloudporn #foodporn #carporn. I suppose there is even #pornporn somewhere. Just makes sense i think : ) Thanks Kerry!

  • Very good point. Interesting nuance! PS Joel is the king of rust. And I love it.

  • I’m thinking I will avoid the corporate accounts. I just want to see people, not people with their chests open. I really like the simple beauty of garden flowers, a smiling child or a beautiful beach scene from the lives of my friends. Thanks for adding a new dimension to the conversation Barry!

  • Oh that is cool. I heard the launch was a big success by the way. Congratulations. I love the book!

  • I need to check you out!

  • Yes, recently learned that insatgramming is a verb!

  • I am kind of addicted to following people from different countries. I like seeing where they live and how they work and play. So finding somebody in Croatia was so much fun for me because i want to visit there! I also look at the pghotos they are posting first. If all they post are pictures of their dog, I probably won;t follow. But if they mix it up and post truly beautiful shots, I will follow. I don;t want to follow thousands of people. That would it make it boring. So I plan to be selective! Always an honor to have you stop by Ari!

  • Nice addition and I agree!

  • That is so interesting. Have never really thought of that or come up against that. I always do iPhone simply because I’m on the go all the time and i post in the moment. But as long as it is beautiful, who cares? I wouldn’t. Besides, in five years iPhones will be of the same quality as an SLR anyway.

  • Oh, you can already do that from some cameras.

  • To be honest, I wouldn’t know. I have not even looked to see how many people follow me. Have no idea. I know that sounds dumb but Im not one to be swayed easily by numbers : )

  • Well said!

  • Agree. Not a fan of people’s feet.

  • Quite. : )

  • One of my favorite pictures EVAH!!!!!

  • Ooooh! Serbia! Yes! But I could not find you with that handle.

  • Good to know, thank you Mark! Is Nikon CoolPix one of those cameras? Google… here I come 😉

  • Thank you Niels for giving me some hope that my digital camera Nikon CoolPix may also be used with the Instagram app. Your thoughts on this are welcome…

  • What’s you handle on IG? I’ll shoot a follow too! I’m PavelNovel on it

  • @LadyEleanora

    I totally agree with you, Mark ! I see IG as a brother to twitter, but the ” photography” kind. Easy and friendly and personal 🙂

  • Thanks Mark! AZ is finishing up yours and then I get it next 🙂

  • I don’t have an iPhone or Android yet, so Instagram for me isn’t so instant – I have to email myself and then upload via my iPad! Oh well, two months or thereabouts left…

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  • Lori

    I went down a rabbit hole and somehow ended up on this older post. Your photos grabbed my attention. Any chance they were taken in Destin, FL?

  • Yes, exactly.

  • Lori

    Ha! I can recognize my home from a mile away. I hope you enjoyed it!

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