Are you using Instagram for business?
Are you looking for inspiration for what to post on the platform?
This article will seek to give you all the inspiration you need to succeed…
- 90 Instagram photo examples
- 50 stock photos you can download
- 10 photography strategies you can use to create beautiful images
- 50 sites where you can source beautiful photos if you don’t have the time or inclination to take them yourself
Instagram has some of the fiercest competition of all the social media networks out there. There are thousands of brands, influencers and selfie-takers out there vying for the attention of your prospective audience.
Let’s see if there’s anything you can do to to win that audience over with these 200 Instagram photos.
Instagram Photo Examples: Building Community
Instagram isn’t always about selling your products. It’s (more often than not) more about selling your brand.
Post photos which create a relationship with your Instagram fans. Show that your brand is made up of normal people who are similar to your target market.
Instagram Photo Examples: Hashtags
To spread awareness of your brand, use hashtags within every one of your posts.
Frame your hashtags around the content in the post as well as what’s currently trending.
Instagram Photo Examples: Employees
Continuing with the “build your brand” concept, sharing posts which feature your employees is a great way to show off who you are behind the corporate mask.
Instagram Photo Examples: Pets
Nothing gets social media users going like a cute pet. If you don’t have a real office mascot, I genuinely recommend you go get one simply for the brand awareness boost you’ll get from posting a photo of him or her on Instagram.
Instagram Photo Examples: Polls
People love to share their opinions online. Prompt them to do so by creating a photo split down the middle and asking your Fans “Which do you prefer?”
Get creative with this, and watch your engagement skyrocket.
Instagram Photo Examples: Product
Why are you on social media except to drive sales? Even if you’re also driving brand awareness, community and trust, you are (ultimately) about making money, right?
Feature your products, from time to time, in an Instagram photo. Just be sure you do it in a visually appealing and non-salesy way.
Instagram Photo Examples: Quotes
Social media was built to inspire people, and quotes are one of the best ways to do that.
Many businesses (@Postplanner is one of the top, if you want examples) drive a significant portion of their Instagram engagement from quotes overlaid on photos. People just love to share and agree with quotes!
Instagram Photo Examples: Partnership
Partnering up with another brand (so long as they have a similar target market as you) is a great way to introduce yourself to a new audience.
Identify those companies with whom you can create a mutually beneficial relationship, then run campaigns together. Cross-promote and put them in front of your audience, while they put you in front of theirs.
Instagram Photo Examples: Seasonal
Posting an Instagram Photo is as much about the context of the photo as it is the photo itself. Tap into what people are thinking about as much as possible.
A great way to do this is by using the seasons (always a favorite topic of conversation) within your Instagram photos.
Instagram Photo Examples: Giveaways
There’s no better way to drive Instagram engagement and increase your Fans than through an Instagram giveaway.
My recommendation is to offer a Fan-only discount. Non-fans get incentivized to become Fans, and existing Fans get incentivized to buy from you!
To learn more about Instagram giveaways, download our complete guide.
Instagram Photo Examples: High Quality Photos
It should go without saying that you need to be posting high quality Instagram photos.
But somehow, I still see unoptimized, poor-resolution images on brand Instagram profiles.
If you don’t want to invest in a DSLR and photography lessons, read below for free, online photo resources.
Instagram Photo Examples: Holiday
Continuing with the “tap into what people are thinking” strategy, holidays are a great time to pump out some winning Instagram photos.
And it doesn’t have to be Christmas or Easter, either. Get creative with National Donut Day or National Pet Day as well. Sometimes the best results come from the most unexpected places.
Instagram Photo Examples: User-Generated Content
People love a bit of fame, and a great way to give them that (and get a little love in return) is to share your Fan’s Instagram photos on your profile.
The best way to source these user-generated photos is to prompt your Fans to share their photos with a specific hashtag. Then, if you get a submission that you want to post (especially if the original user has a sizable following themselves) direct message them, ask for final permission and go ahead!
Instagram Photo Examples: Behind-the-Scenes
Your customers and Fans love to find out what goes on behind the scenes at your office. This strategy can be about showing how your products are made, who they’re made by, or what your office does to celebrate on a Friday.
Instagram Photo Examples: Themed Posts
Themed posts are a great way to provide continuity within your Instagram profile. Stylistically, they’re also very visually appealing and add a level of professionalism to your presence on Instagram.
Instagram Photo Examples: Celebrity
You don’t have to know Justin Bieber to tap into celebrity with your Instagram photos. There are “celebrities” within your industry as well. Target them with an @mention and thank them for something they’ve done.
Alternatively, mention Justin Bieber anyway, and try to tap into their fanbase to increase your own.
Instagram Photo Examples: Current Events
The things that are going on in the world touch your business, and ignoring them is rarely a good idea.Movie releases, sport playoffs, long weekends and more can be used to drive Instagram engagement.
One thing to note, however, is how dangerous it can be to bring politics or religion into social media. So be careful.
Instagram Photo Examples: Educational
Your Instagram page and posts need to be providing something valuable to fans and prospective fans. There are three primary options here: entertainment, an insight into your brand, and education.
Teaching your Fans/Instagram users something which helps their lives places you in the “trusted, knowledgeable” camp of people in their lives. And that’s not a bad place to be when you want to promote a product…
Instagram Photo Examples: Entertaining
So you’ve got several “insight into your business”-style Instagram photos and a few educational. Now it’s time to get creative. Let’s entertain our Fans and prospective fans.
Being funny or entertaining is harder than giving insight or providing education. But it can pay off in far larger ways: An entertaining Instagram photo can go viral. People just might say “Oh my god I love this!” and share it with their friends.
Instagram Photo Examples: Customers
I love this kind of Instagram photo – the one that shows off the appreciation you have for your customers. It’s a powerful way to say “we value you,” as well as show prospective customers how you would value them as well.
When someone comes into your store or office (or when your SaaS business creates a new case study), try to get a fun and easy shot of them. Nothing super professional. Show off their genuine happiness at receiving the product they bought or working with your business.
Instagram Photo Examples: Influencers
It’s not always easy to tap into influencer marketing, but if you can make it work it’s an extremely powerful way to increase awareness about your business.
For more on Influencer marketing on Instagram, check out 6 Growth Strategies to Maximize Your Influencer Marketing Efforts. Alternatively, read How Influencer Marketing on Instagram Became a $1B Market (Infographic).
Instagram Photo Examples: Lifestyle
Selling with an Instagram photo is as much about showing off your products (though that’s definitely part of it) as it is about showing off the lifestyle which your products make possible.
Some of this can be a shot of your customers (above), but it’s also about the world around your brand. This can be inside your office or out of it. Many businesses (particularly in the outdoor retail market) find success with Instagram simply by posting inspirational photos of beautiful places – prompting their Fans to infer that getting to that place is only possible by buying the poster’s product.
Instagram Photo Examples: Stylized
Put a bit of style into your Instagram photos to stand out. Everybody (and their mother) is posting pictures of their lunch. Be the brand that takes a photo of their lunch made out of playdough.
Show your fun and creative side in the style of your Instagram photos as much as in their content.
Instagram Photo Examples: Days
This one ties back into the “what people are thinking about” paradigm I’ve spoken about before. Essentially, people love commiserating over the fact that it’s Monday; or celebrating the fact that it’s Friday.
Tap into this natural phenomenon of the modern world with your Instagram photos.
Instagram Photo Examples: Testimonials
You talking about how awesome your products are is all well and good (that’s marketing, after all), but far more powerful is to let your customers speak on your behalf about how much they love what you do.
One of the best Instagram photos would be a smiling customer playing with a dog in your office, surrounded by your friendly staff, with a quote from them above their head which recommends you.
Get that photo and you’ll win Instagram.
50 Quote Background Images
A few examples from the downloadable image resource:
10 Instagram Photo Ideas
Success on Instagram isn’t just about knowing what photos to post, but about being able to capture those photos effectively. Here are a 10 top ideas from Christina Harman over at the Contrastly blog.
- High-Speed Photos: To take high-speed photos you’ll need a tripod, a flash and a narrow aperture.
- Night-time Photos: To take night-time photos you’ll need a super-slow shutter speed and a solid foundation.
- Motion-Blur Photos: To take motion-blur photos, you’ll need a slow shutter speed. Hold your camera still as whatever you’re photographing moves.
- Black and White Photos: Test out the filters within Instagram itself to see what results you can get.
- Monochromatic Photos: Again, see what the filters within Instagram can give you in the way of single-color photos.
- Macro Photos: The “Stylized” photo example above uses a macro strategy to get super zoomed in on an object to bring it to life.
- Traffic-blur/light-trail Photos: To take light-trail or traffic-blur photos, find a high-traffic area with little external light. Set up your tripod (or find a solid foundation) and use a slow shutter speed.
- Silhouette Photos: To create the silhouette effect, position your subject in front of the sun, and shoot into it.
- Lens-flare Photos: To take photos with intentional lens flare, try shooting towards the sun and adjusting the angle of your shot.
- Vintage Photos: If you don’t like Instagram’s own vintage-style filters, try putting vaseline on your lens to get this stylized look.
For more photography strategies, check out Contrastly’s Photography Techniques Post.
50 Image Resources
Don’t want the expense of a new camera? Or don’t have time to get out into the world to take beautiful photos?
Here are 50 online libraries where you can download professionally-taken photos:
- Death to Stock Photo
- CG Textures
- Flickr Creative Commons
- The Pattern Library
- Pexels (my personal favorite)
- Life of Pix
- New Old Stock
- ISO Republic
- Crow the Stone
- Smithsonian on Flickr
- Free Nature Stock
- Free Stock Image Point
- Jay Mantri
- Foodies Feed
- Little Visuals
- Burst (from Shopify)
- Every Stock Photo
- Photo Everywhere
- Free Range Stock
Wrapping it Up
Hopefully this resource has provided you with everything you need to succeed on Instagram with your next photo or post.
If you have any questions about marketing on Instagram or what to put in your next Instagram photo, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comment section below.