Sharing your photos with Instagram

Sharing your photos with Instagram is a great way to show off your skills and keep friends and family in the loop. Here's the best way to do it

17 Jan 2013

Instagram is a phone-based social networking service dedicated to sharing photos with followers. Although you can view photos online through the direct links to the Instagram website, you only get the full benefit of its following and subscribing features if you access it through the iPhone or Android client.

It’s now owned by Facebook, but the fact it's been snapped up by an enormous social network hasn't done much to change the features that its loyal subscribers appreciate - although there has been some controversy over terms and conditions.

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It has always had a rather low-fi feel, and that persists in the latest updates. Any image you post to the service is cropped into a square format that is highly reminiscent of the picture shape in the output of an old-fashioned instant camera (hence the name).

You can go further than this, though, and also apply a series of old-school retro filters that make your image look a lot older than it actually is.

The idea is that you follow other people, and they follow you, and that in just the same way that updates other people post to Twitter show up on your timeline, so photos posted to Instagram appear automatically in your client. In reverse, your pictures also show up in the client apps of those who are following you.

It’s worth downloading even if you don’t know anyone else on Instagram, though, as the effects are fun to play with, you can post links to your Instagram feed simultaneously to your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

How to post photos to Instagram

Part of Instagram’s popularity is the fact that it’s very easy to use. Posting an image is therefore a simple process of walking through just four steps, as we’ll outline here.

Step one: By default, Instagram expects you to take a new photo, but you can also use one that’s already in your library, as we are doing here, by tapping the double overlaid squares at the bottom of the opening screen.


Once you have selected the image you want to post, pinch and unpinch until the section you want to use fits neatly in the square at the centre of the screen, and then tap the Choose button.


Step two: You can now apply some pre-set adjustments to give it a bit of style. Scroll through the style options at the bottom of the screen until you find one you like, tap on it and then tap the tick to apply it to the image.


Step three: Apply your final adjustments. The sun icon on the bottom toolbar balances the tones in the image and the frame icon top left applies or removes a frame to your image.

Here we are adjusting the level of focus in the image. We've tapped the droplet icon on the top bar and selected horizontal focus control, and are in the process of dragging the focal zone up and down the image to direct our viewer’s attention.


Step four: When you've finished editing your image, it’s time to post it. Tap the tick, then add a short caption, decide whether or not you want it to be located on your Instagram map, and optionally set it to share simultaneously to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other networks.


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