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7 Ways Instagr.am & Travel Go Hand-in-Hand

Bass Hall angel in downtown Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Bass Hall angel in downtown Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

What is Instagram, anyway?

Instagr.am is a free iPhone application that lets you easily post and share photos with other people right from your phone. This simple-to-use app includes a variety of filters which can make your photos more expressive. Check out Using iPhone and Instagram to Create Unique Travel Photos to see how different filters look on the same snapshot.

Instagr.am (IG for short) also makes it easy to simultaneously share photos with friends on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.

And yes, it’s possible to share your IG photos with non-iPhone folks. Here’s a link to my Instagr.am photo stream thanks to Statigr.am.

My Journey from Instagr.am apathy to Instagr.am fanatic

Until recently, I turned up my nose at cell phone photography. Sure, I used my phone for things besides phone calls: GPS, weather, checking email, texting, etc. All that made sense, but taking pictures?

Forget it!

For one thing, as a travel writer, I want my photos to be good enough to include in my articles. Shooting pictures with a cell phone struck me as awkward, low quality, and a general waste of time.

Along came Instagr.am…

Fast forward to May, when my step-daughter showed me some beautiful photos she and her friends had shared with Instagr.am. Although I still didn’t see how Instagr.am could fit into my life, I signed up for it, anyway. I then sat on my account for nearly two months, doing absolutely nothing with it…

My how things have changed!

I now believe that travel and Instagr.am go hand-in-hand, and here’s why:

1. Positive Environment

It can be scary to share your photos with a bunch of strangers online. Maybe that’s why I waited so long to take the plunge. Now, some 200+ IG photos later, my experience is that Instagr.am is a delightfully snark-free zone, where shutterbugs come together to encourage each other’s creativity rather than belittle or criticize.

Crossing the street in Sundance Square, downtown Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Crossing the street in Sundance Square, downtown Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

2. Instagram is Quick and Easy to Use

How quick and easy? The above shot was taken and uploaded while waiting to cross the street in the Sundance Square section of downtown Fort Worth, Texas.

Kimbell Art Museum courtyard. (photo by Tui Snider)
Kimbell Art Museum courtyard. (photo by Tui Snider)

3. Get Recommendations While Traveling

Not only is it encouraging to receive “likes” on your snapshots (often within seconds of posting them) but folks on Instagr.am can also make helpful recommendations for you to act on while you are out exploring.

This process can be helped along by using hashtags for the place you are visiting. Hashtags are simply key words with a number sign tacked at the beginning.  To let people know you are in Fort Worth, Texas,  simply label your photo: #fortworth #texas.

Then, when IG-ers notice you posting photos from a place such as the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, your photos may, for example, get a comment from an IG user, or a pal on Twitter or Facebook suggesting that you try lunch there. (I certainly recommend lunch at the Kimbell Art Museum; it’s both yummy and a good deal.)

4. Instagr.am Takes Readers with You

I posted several IG shots while on a road trip to Paris, Texas. Not only did I get suggestions for things to see and do there, but since the pictures also appeared on my Twitter and Facebook account, it helped generate advance interest in my article, Paris Texas – Come See the Other Eiffel Tower.

Conversely, when I’m stuck behind a desk, scrolling through Instagr.am lets me enjoy vicarious travel, and gives me ideas for places I would like to visit on my days off.

Antler chandelier at  Dinosaur Valley Inn & Suites in Glen Rose, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Antler chandelier at Dinosaur Valley Inn & Suites in Glen Rose, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

5. Visual Note-taking

Although I still carry a camera in my purse at all times, it’s so quick to snap a photo with the iPhone.  I might very well have forgotten about the antler chandelier hanging in the Best Western Dinosaur Valley Inn & Suites in Glen Rose, Texas, if I hadn’t taken time to snap this quick photo before we checked out.

FWMSH Star Party in Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
FWMSH Star Party in Fort Worth, Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

6. Instagr.am Offers Instant Creative Gratification

As a writer, I sometimes need a break from reading, writing and words, in general. Sharing photos on Instagr.am helps me shift gears and relax after a busy day, while giving me the thrill of a quick creative fix.

For instance, I could hardly wait to post this photo of the moon which I took at one of the Star Parties hosted at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History.

Instagr.am also provides an outlet for photos that are too abstract and/or artsy to include in a travel article, but which I know will be appreciated by certain folks on IG.

Longhorn skull for sale at Antique Alley Texas (photo by Tui Snider)
Longhorn skull for sale at Antique Alley Texas (photo by Tui Snider)

7. Making Friends

For me, the biggest surprise with Instagr.am has been all the interesting people I find there! In fact, there are people on Instagr.am I would love to meet in person. I may just have to arrange some sort of north Texas Instagr.am-Arama where we can run around snapping photos en masse. I think that would be a lot of fun!

How to use Instagr.am for your Travel Photos

These days, I can’t imagine taking a trip without sharing photos along the way via Instagr.am. I absolutely love how simple and immediate it makes the whole process.

Have you tried Instagr.am yet?

Have you been bitten by the Instagr.am bug yet? Do you have any tips for using it? If so, please leave a comment below.

Tui Snider
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Published inTravel Photo Essays

10 Comments

  1. […] day in January, and I snapped a ton of photos, sharing some of them on Twitter via my beloved Instagr.am. (How I love that app!) Now I’m going to share a few photos with you, as well as some tips […]

  2. This is a great article! I didn’t know about using hashtags. I’m devoted to instagr.am (do you know why their name is spelled that way?) and webstagr.am both. I actually had to clear out my iphone photos I’d been taking so many!

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      Thanks! I’m one of your Instagr.am followers, btw. I’ve no clue why they spell it that way, either. I have not checked out wesbstagr.am … yet! I need to clear out my phone, too. Thanks for reminding me! :) ~Tui

  3. I’ve seen people using instagram and really, REALLY wish I had an iPhone just for this purpose!

    • mentalmosaic mentalmosaic

      I hear ya, Becky! I had no idea the iPhone would be so fun, to be honest. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. :) ~Tui

  4. Great list of compelling reasons to take Instagram & the like seriously. A great photographer once said, the u00a0best camera is the one you have with you (otherwise the photo would never be taken in the first place!), and I happen to agree with him. Having said that, I doubt I’ll ever do article photos on a phone because of the way my workflow works, but I can totally see myself using a phone for taking visual notes. That bit really resonated with me.nnI’m not on instagram because frankly, I’m too minimalist to have a smartphone! Hahaha. But if you have a cameraphone, it sounds quite useful.Good thoughts.

  5. I don’t know how your able to get such beautiful pictures on your phone! I guess the quality of the camera on the iPhone is way better than on Androids because my pictures very much look like they were taken on a phone! Love yours, great way to document all your travels.n Sarah @ made in usa challenge

  6. I don’t know how your able to get such beautiful pictures on your phone! I guess the quality of the camera on the iPhone is way better than on Androids because my pictures very much look like they were taken on a phone! Love yours, great way to document all your travels.n Sarah @ made in usa challenge

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