A simple guide to Instagram

Lynn Wright / 03 June 2016

Share your photos and videos with friends – and even the world – with the free Instagram app for iPhone and Android smartphones.



Instagram is a popular, free app that lets you share photos and video clips from your iPhone or Android smartphone. Owned by Facebook, Instagram offers a simple way to connect to people worldwide via their images. With one tap of a button, you can share photos from your phone on the Instagram website, along with your linked social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr and Foursquare.

How does Instagram work?

Like Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is based around having friends or followers. When you post a photo or video on Instagram, it will appear on your profile and in the newsfeed of your followers. Likewise, you’ll see posts from the people that you follow in your own newsfeed.

Interacting with others is simple – you can tap someone’s photo to like it or add a comment at the bottom.

Click on someone’s profile to see their username, profile photo, how many photos they’ve uploaded, how many followers they have and how many people they’re following.

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How do I create an Instagram account?

Download the free Instagram app onto your smartphone from the Apple Store or Google Play store. Then register for an account by creating a username and password. You can do this with your existing Facebook account or use your email. Once registered, you can add a profile photo and a short biography.

Who can see my Instagram photos?

All Instagram photos are public by default, which means anyone can view them. However, you can make your account private so your posts are only visible to your followers.

Finding people to follow is easy. When you first set up your account, you can add friends from your Facebook network or your phone’s address book. You can also tap Search – the magnifying glass icon – to see recommended photos, videos and people or use the search bar to look for users or posts that you may be interested in.

Tap the Follow button next to someone’s name to follow them. If their account is set to private, they’ll need to approve your request first.

Can I edit my photos before sharing?

One of the coolest features of Instagram is its collection of photographic filters that let you transform an ordinary snap taken on your smartphone into something worth sharing. Each filter is a combination of settings that may adjust a photo’s brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth, sharpness and so on. For example, the Lark filter brightens your photo and intensifies all of its colours apart from red, while the Reyes filter adds a dusty, vintage look. You can also crop and straighten your photos with Instagram before sharing them.

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.