I’ve been meaning to use Instagram more for promoting my work, especially in the run-up to the publication phase, but had been putting it off for a while for some practical reasons that I recently decided to tackle.

What I mean by this is that the type of images in my body of work and Instagram’s presentation format are not the best fit with each other:

  • Instagram is fundamentally a mobile-first viewing platform
    • It was created as a smartphone-only app and retains this ethos (there isn’t even a tablet version of the app)
    • Images are usually viewed on screens that are only a few inches wide
    • Optimal image size is only 1080 pixels wide
    • So it suits images where you can see the pertinent details at a glance
  • My images benefit from being seen at much bigger size
    • My prints for assessment were A3 paper size, and if I were to do a physical exhibition they would be A3 or maybe even A2
    • The text on the bottom border needs to be legible for the image to ‘work’
    • Text is the trickiest thing to make clear and sharp at smaller resolutions

So I resolved to find a way around these limitations in order to make best use out of the platform and my follower numbers (about 400 at present).

My solution

I resolved the challenge by using Instagram’s multiple photo feature. This basically allows you to have up to 10 images in a single post, and the user can swipe between them.

I did a version of each of my final 20 images in each of the following formats:

  1. Full image
  2. Text fragment crop
  3. Image detail crop

Example as follows:

I also added a fourth image to each post to trail the forthcoming virtual exhibition:

Below is a set of screenshots to show how an example set of images looks on the Instagram app:

I have posted one or two images a day for the last week, with the same text apart from the image number and title.

So far I’m getting between 20 and 40 Likes per image, which means between 5% and 10% of my followers. I have no idea whether this is good or not, and have resolved not to worry about it too much.