Instagram has skyrocketed to popularity ever since its inception. The recent launch for Android platform has only added to its user-base. From what they say, “It’s a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family. ”. One can say, its a Twitter for Photographers. However, most of the photos I see being uploaded are nothing more than snapshots. They are degraded further by rowdy application of the filters found within the application. Most just use the filters since they are present without caring a bit about how the final photo will look. Its like making a fun of photography as an art. In reality, Instagram has a huge potential of improving you as a photographer. Not many know this. It can be a great tool in the hands of a capable photographer. As Chase Jarvis says, “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You”. Lets begin.

# Instagram photos can only be taken in a square format. This forces you to compose your photograph than you would normally would on your DSLR or compact camera. You’re forced to think of compositions which will work better in square format. This will not only makes your photographs look different but also improve your compositional skills immensely.

# The limited set of processing options(limited filters in application) further forces you to create a compelling photograph since you know you won’t have any room to play in post processing like you would do for photos taken with your camera & edit them extensively on your computer. This will help you learn to get the photograph as close to perfect as possible in the camera itself. It will also save your time in post-processing. That means you’ll in general spend more time actually shooting than on computer processing photographs which is what you should be doing anyway to become a better photographer. Off-course, you’ll benefit from this exercise only if your remain honest. I’ve seen some people take a photo on their camera phone, edit it on computer & then upload it on instagram.

# Due to the large user-base, you have a huge community to gain experience & valuable advise on your photographs. This will help you increase your knowledge & improve yourself as a photographer. It will also keep you inspired. But do contribute to the community. Being selfish, will get you know-where.

# A great application of Instagram is to begin a 365 Project. 365 Project is where one shoots a photograph everyday & uploads it online. This exercise helps the photographer to become better with practise & to force him to shoot at-least once in a day. I’ve began one this year(not with Instagram) & I strongly recommend you to do so. The greatest thing about pursuing a 365 Project on Instagram is convenience. You always have your phone with you. Simply snap a photo, process it with limited filters in Instagram & share. No hassles of carrying your bulky camera with you, downloading photographs to computer after the shoot, wasting more time in processing them & eventually uploading them. According to me, this is one of the most untapped area of Instagram which holds a huge potential for budding photographer.