Designed by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram initially came as a free photo-sharing application that has eventually evolved into a social networking magnet with more than 75 million daily active users. Quickly gone from a trendy mobile app to an enormously popular social network, Instagram now allows both newbies and pros to capture Polaroid-like images as well as create mind-blowing pics and post them for the world to see. In reality, the functionality of Instagram doesn't lie within a single photo-sharing feature – the service has much more to offer.
Today, we've rounded up the most essential Instagram tips and tricks that will change the way you look at this notorious application and take your Instagram experience to the next level.
Save your original photos
Save Originals option
As a rule, any media-sharing app does its job by compressing our files for less data usage. Instagram is no exception, so before uploading any of your photos to its network the app scales it down to 612 x 612 pixels. If you don't want to part with your higher resolution versions, you can easily make Instagram save your original images to always have access to the one you started with. Go to the Settings Page and make sure that the Save Original Photos option is activated. By turning it on, you tell Instagram to save an unedited version of your captures to your camera roll. But bear in mind, the maximum resolution the app can keep is 2048 x 2048 pixels, irrespective of your camera's capabilities.
Use the best Instagram filters to get more likes
The latest research by Yahoo Labs and Georgia Tech discovered that photos adjusted with Instagram filters tend to get more likes and comments than pics with the #nofilter hashtag. The study indicated that 'filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on'. The researches also marked a couple of filters that are pretty helpful to gain more Instagram followers and appreciations. Thus, while the warm filter and exposure effect will increase the number of comments and views of your photos, saturation and age effects are tied most tightly to lower user activity.
How to add hashtags to the posted photos
Unlike Facebook, Instagram doesn't allow editing what we've written in our post, so if you forget to add a hashtag to your pic, there's no turning back. Still, instead of getting upset, just post the hashtags you have missed in a comment to your post, and that would work exactly the same as hashtags in the description do.
Geo-tagging or how to manage your photo map
Geo-tagging is nothing but a way to let your followers know where exactly each of your photos has been taken. Sure enough, you should be extremely wary when sharing the location of your photos, but the option can be rather valuable to sort several pics together or chart your trips. To tag an image with the place where you have captured it, turn on the Add to Photo Map option whenever you share it. Once the feature is enabled, your photos will be shown on the map, where you will be able to edit or remove the location information.
Mention other Instagram users
Actually, there are two ways you can mention other Instagrammers. The first one is to tag someone in a caption: just type @ followed by a username and your friend will receive a notification that he or she has been mentioned. Another way is to reply to someone in a comment by tapping and holding their username until the app offers you to 'mention user'. Tagging persons makes their names clickable and enablesyou to reply directly to particular user's post or comment.
How to send a private Instagram picture
Once you create your Instagram account, anyone can see the pictures you post. However, if you wish to send a direct or private photo to your friend, there's a perfect solution the application has to offer - Instagram Direct. To apply the built-in messaging service for photos and videos, open the main screen of your Instagram and tap the Direct icon on the upper-right corner, which resembles a drawer image.
Create a poster out of your Instagram photos
With Instagram's unrivaled reputation as the greatest way to create dreamy camera-phone images, the number of services ready to make your photo memories permanent is rapidly growing day-to-day. You can get your Instagram captures printed as greeting cards, magnets, photobooks, wearable arts or posters. Just visit one of such printing studios, like My Year Printed or Prinstagram, connect them with your Instagram account, and choose the photos andthe printing format you like the most. For your reference, 48 Polaroid-style miniprints cost $12, while posters come from $25.