Instagram can be a difficult app to master, and with the recent algorithm changes, it’s harder than ever to get your photo creations seen. If you have dreams of being a top beauty Instagrammer, we have all the tips for you from our interview with Hayley Hall, formally London Beauty Queen. We’ve also scoured the internet to bring the best Instagram tips together in one place. You too can be a top beauty Instagrammer – you just need to do it one image at a time.
Tips from Hayley Hall
Which of your beauty Instagram posts do you find gets the most interaction - photos of you or photos of products?
Hayley Hall: It always used to be photos of great products or an awesome flatlay, but it has definitely changed; my best photos are always of me, which is why I've switched my account up in the last couple of months to split the ratio of me-to-product 50/50. With the algorythm the way it is, I think people want to see faces and humans - rather than scroll through endless inanimate objects that are hard to differentiate.
What lighting setup do you use to take your Instagram posts?
HH: I have a corner of my office set up with two light boxes, meaning I can take photos any time of day and not have to worry about the lighting. I have a number of different backdrops (printed paper, plastic coated designs and even sample marble tiles!) so I can switch it all up and work with the colours of what I'm featuring, the story and the warmth of the light. If they're more lifestyle shots, it's all about capturing great light and playing with shadows too.
Do you have any image editing/filter apps for Instagram that you can recommend people check out if they want to up their Instagram game?
HH: Personally, I'm not a big edit-er; I prefer to take a great photo in bright light than spending an hour editing afterwards. I do use Mosaico to plan my grid and ensure everything looks good next to one another, but in terms of editing my knowledge is quite basic! I do have FaceTune to help whiten dark areas or to smooth out marks or scuffs, as well as Lightroom when I've taken a picture on my phone (vs my camera) and I want to play around a bit with the structure. I would definitely suggest not relying too heavily on apps and instead trying to hone your photography skills.
What beauty Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration for your feed?
HH: Obviously, the queen of beauty blogging @britbeaautyblog, for first looks and news from the industry; she's always the first to break an innovation or showcase a new collection. I also love @beautsoup for amazing makeup (that I'll never recreate, but it's great to look at) and @hairromance for the most creative, but easy to follow hair styles and looks; she's a genius.
What are your tips for taking a good, clear makeup look selfie on Instagram?
HH: It's all about the light and angle. Don't even try to take a decent one after the sun has gone down, as it'll just look grainy! Try to stand directly under or in front of a light source, with it shining on you not from behind you, to get the most flattering effect; ideally use the rear camera, as the front camera reduces the quality significantly. Angle the lens down towards you and don't feel like you need to look straight in the lens - play about and have fun with it.
Do you think people need a theme on their Instagrams? How do you organise your feed and choose what to post?
HH: I don't think you necessarily need a 'theme' - some of the most successful accounts look like a brain dump, but it's just a reflection of who they are and what they get up to. It's down to personal preference and what you enjoy creating, because as soon as it's a chore and no longer fun you won't want to put the effort in. Personally, I'm a bit 'over' all white marble and pink feeds, or endless flaylays; I like to see a bit of personality or uniqueness, so discovering what you can offer is key.
Do you have any other Instagram top tips?
HH: Utilise hashtags for discovery (you can use up to 30) and follow hashtags to find new inspo in your feed. I'd also highly recommend investing some time responding to comments and engaging with your community, as well as embracing Insta-Stories - it's such a quick and easy way to share.
Tips from the internet
Buzzfeed recommend that you be consistent in what you’re posting and how you’re posting it, so that people know what to expect from your feed. This makes it easier for people to gauge whether you are someone they want to follow. Have a consistent look, so that people recognise when a photo is yours. Buying a few backdrops for your photos can help your feed to look consistent.
Beautiful makeup done on me by the @makeupforeverofficial team - @laurawilsonxxx - at @debenhams #Glasgow 👄 Hydrating Primer, HD Stick Foundation in y215, HD Concealer in y23, Aqua Brow Gel #25, Artist Shadows Palette, Graphic Liner, Artist Rouge Lipstick in M101, Plexi Gloss 300p 💄 #makeupforever #makeupforeverofficial #makeupforeverhdfoundation #makeupforeverlipstick #debenhamsglasgow #motd💄 #motdujour #motdamour #motd💕 #motd💋#makeuplookoftheday #makeuplooks #pinkeyeshadow #pinkeyelook #browsonpoint #browsgoals #bbloggers #bbloggersuk #bbloggeruk #ukbblogger #ukbbloggers #beautybloggeruk #ukbeautyblogger #lbloggers #lbloggersuk #scottishbloggers #boldmakeup #boldmakeuplook
The Guardian recommend that you use hashtags to reach more people. You can use up to 30 for every post; allowing you to reach a wider audience. Ideally, choose hashtags that have been used under 50,000 times for a greater chance of being seem amongst the masses.
Your bio counts
Cision recommend that you pay attention to your bio. This is actually very important on Instagram, and can be the deciding factor in whether people follow you or not. If you want to get your bio formatted with different lines, compose it first in Word, then copy and paste.
Instagram expert Sara Tasker, aka Me and Orla, recommends that you utilise Instagram Stories to its full potential. She says that it has its uses as a place to dump content you don’t think is good enough for your main feed; but that there is also so much more you can do with it. She says that it’s a great way to tell people when you’ve added a new image to your main feed, that it’s a great place to share screenshots of your content on other social media platforms, and that there is so much to be said about going ‘live’ from an interesting event you’re at. Think about the clever way that you can use Stories to your advantage.
Captions are important
Elle Magazine spoke to fashion guru Eva Chen, and she said that it’s important to have a voice on Instagram. Use your captions to show off some of your personality – it’s not just all about the photo itself. Captions can also help you to build a connection with your audience.
Engagement is key
The Debrief spoke to the CFDA’s Fashion Instagrammer of the Year Patrick Janelle aka @aguynamedPatrick, and he suggests that you should think of Instagram as a community. Make sure you engage, as well as post – get into a conversation with the people who comment on your posts, and make sure that you comment on images that interest you from other people’s feeds. Follow people who genuinely inspire you too. This, he says, is how to make your following grow naturally.
Not matter how you take on the Instagram challenge, make sure that it’s fun for you. The only way you are going to excel at Instagram is if you enjoy doing it. It’s time consuming, so make sure it’s enjoyable.
Main Image - Hayley Hall