I recently caught up with co-owner and marketing mastermind behind Boston co-retail space For Now, Kaity Cimo. She runs the space with friend and business partner Katharine ReQua. They opened a year ago and have played home to over 80 brands in that time.
2019 Guide to Instagram Hashtags for Photographers (200+ examples)
Instagram is without a doubt the best social media platform for photographers looking to share photos and grow an audience. But with so much traffic (over 1 billion monthly users and 500 million daily stories) it’s easy to get lost in a sea of other accounts trying to compete for the same sets of eyes.
In addition to having killer looking photos, there are a few other best practices that can help you stand out: write creative captions, personalize your bio, and leverage relevant and specific hashtags.
This guide is about the latter and we’re going to explore how hashtags can make your content easier to find, boost engagement among your followers, and how to find the tags that fit your photography brand.
We’ve also compiled a list of over 200 of the best hashtags for photographers to help inspire your next post – let’s get started!
How to use hashtags for your photography Instagram account
The issue isn’t that Instagram users don’t know about hashtags, the issue is that too many photographers use the wrong ones or use them incorrectly. When done correctly, hashtags can bring a tremendous amount of exposure, but when done poorly they can waste your time or even work against you.
Choosing the right tag is half science and half art. There are thousands of photography hashtags floating around on Instagram and it’s important to know which ones are best suited for your brand, style, and goals. After all, if you’re using the wrong ones, you may as well not be using any at all.
Here’s how to determine which photography hashtags are going to help grow your Instagram account.
Choose Instagram photography hashtags by niche
Hashtags help expose specific users to your content and choosing the right tag will ensure that you get in front of the eyes you want. Our advice is to always go niche with your tags: #photography might seem like an obvious choice, but it’s pretty vague when compared to something specific like #blackandwhitephotography.
As you can see, there are over four-hundred million (!) other photos using this hashtag.
If we dig deeper, you’ll see that the top posts range from people taking selfies to candid pet snapshots. There are only a couple pictures from actual photographers.
To avoid getting lost in the noise, you’ll want to create a more targeted funnel to narrow down your posts for the right audience. It’s ok to pick a popular photography hashtag but choose one (or several – more on that later) that relates specifically to your content.
That doesn’t mean you have to become a niche photographer – being a generalist is fine if that’s your style. Just choose hashtags appropriate for the specific niche of the photo you’re sharing.
Over twenty million posts is still a huge number, but it’s nothing compared to trying to compete with over four-hundred million.
Keep a variety of hashtags on hand for the types of photos you share most often and use them accordingly.
Choose hashtags you can reasonably compete for
It may seem intuitive to go for the most popular photography hashtags to get your photos in front of the most eyes. And sure, you might get featured – but the actual results won’t be too significant.
In reality, the bigger the tag the more posts that target it every minute – with more posts comes more competition and the risk of getting buried or overlooked.
In addition, bigger accounts tend to perform better when using the most popular hashtags as Instagram’s algorithm favors posts that already have high engagement. It’s one of those, “you need experience to gain experience” catch 22s.
Instead of aiming for highly competitive hashtags, use a mix of popular and niche tags with smaller post numbers. This will increase the length of time your post stays visible and increase your chances of being seen by more people.
A bit of research will go a long way here – spend some time browsing other similarly-sized accounts and you should come away with a solid list of potential hashtags.
A good rule of thumb is to aim for a hashtag with 1000 times the number of likes your posts usually get. So if you’re brand new to Instagram and just building your account, stick to hashtags in the low thousands. If you usually get 50 likes per post, shoot for hashtags with a reach of 50,000 posts.
In this case, it’s better to be a big fish in a little pond than a minnow trying to compete against goliaths. And remember, as your account and engagement grow it’s totally appropriate to scale up to bigger hashtags.
Ready for the fun part? Let’s dive into some of the best and top trending photography hashtags you can start using on your Instagram account ASAP!
Most popular Instagram hashtags for photographers
Five of our favorite popular photography hashtags
Competition is fierce for these hashtags, so check out how these awesome Instagram photographers are using them and explore how you can do the same.
This is always a great hashtag to include because it’s one of the most searched. Just remember to use it in addition to other ones so you don’t get lost in the crowd.
This one’s easy to remember because it has “Insta” right in the name, which is also totally on-trend for Instagram. Plus it’s general enough that it’ll get traffic from a lot of niches looking at it.
Another great choice for general photography. And while it’s a popular hashtag, it teeters around 7M posts which is a more achievable number to compete with if you don’t yet have a huge following.
A great option for film photography buffs with tons of potential views!
This one is another extremely competitive hashtag due to the number of posts it gets (almost 700M). But it’s still a great chance to show off your best photo daily (and briefly).
General Instagram hashtags for photographers
Five of our favorite general photography hashtags
These options are great when you’re not targeting a specific niche and just want to get your photography work out there. You’ll still need to pick some more specific hashtags to mix in, but these are all good places to start.
A great option for amateurs and pros! This hashtag speaks for itself and boasts nearly 8M posts.
We love a good opportunity to brag about a new photo every day!
This hashtag is a great option because of its general vibe, and it’s also a nice choice to use for accounts with smaller followings.
Using “technical” photography terms can help you target other photographers and get your peers looking at your best work.
A good choice to brag about your favorite shot, regardless of niche.
Best Instagram hashtags for travel photographers
Five of our favorite travel photography hashtags
We love these hashtags because they double dip into photography and travel businesses. Most of the posts are great for sharing your own photos and getting inspiration for your next photo shoot or trip.
You’ll find a mix of photographers and tourists using this hashtag, but it’s still a great option for targeting that travel demographic.
This hashtag is pretty niche with post number is in the low millions, making it an ideal choice for niche accounts with established followings.
An absolutely great option for travel bloggers and photographers. However, competition is HIGH, so make sure to always pair this hashtag with others for a better chance at visibility.
Another big hitter competition-wise, but it’s definitely worth including if your niche is travel photography.
This one also doubles up as a good option for travel bloggers as well as photographers. Also, the post count sits at a reasonable 10M which means it’s not as out of reach as others.
Best Instagram hashtags for street photographers
Five of our favorite street photography hashtags
These hashtags are perfect for showcasing your favorite architecture, urban, and candid street shots! Because we’re in niche territory, competition isn’t crazy ridiculous and the demographic is pretty specific. You’ll definitely want to check these examples out if you’re a street photographer.
Anytime the hashtags are self-explanatory like this you can expect competition to be high. But it’s still worth tossing your hat in the ring if you’ve got an AMAZING photo to show off.
A haven for beautiful street and architecture images! Pics here can get a lot of engagement if they really stand out.
Perfect for showcasing snapshots of the everyday hustle and bustle in urban areas.
This is a perfect example of a niche hashtag. Don’t pass this one by if you happen to specialize in street AND black and white photography!
If you’re into capturing real-life candids on the street, this is an ideal hashtag to try out.
Best Instagram hashtags for portrait photographers
Five of our favorite portrait photography hashtags
We’ve picked out a good mix of both high and low competition hashtags to try out if you’re a portrait photographer. A lot of these are also ideal choices for inspiration or if you’re trying to get your pieces viewed by other photographers or would-be clients.
This one’s a no-brainer for anyone specializing in portrait photography. But competition is tough, so mix it with a few other portrait hashtags from the list.
We love this one because it’s basically a variation of the previous hashtag but you’ve got a better chance of your photo being seen here.
Your photos should live here if you specialize in lifestyle portraits.
This is a great page to get featured on if you can snag a spot.
Another good opportunity for a feature, but with less competition.
Best Instagram hashtags for landscape and nature photographers
Five nature and landscape photography hashtags we love
Nature and landscape photography go hand in hand so we rounded up our favorite crossovers here. There’s a good mix of high and low competition options for wherever you are in your Instagram journey. We love how these accounts use a good mix of nature hashtags to boost their engagement!
New to building your nature photography Instagram account? This is definitely the hashtag for you.
If you like a mix of nature and landscapes, you’ve got to add this hashtag to your repertoire.
This is one of the more popular hashtags for nature photographers and we couldn’t help but include it.
Another really cool hashtag to post to if you specialize in landscapes or travel.
Use #viewpoint for those really breathtaking nature images.
Best Instagram hashtags for wedding photographers
Five of our favorite wedding photography hashtags
Wedding photography on Instagram is a big niche, and for good reason. Not only is it a chance to show off your work, but it’s a huge opportunity to land new customers. Use these hashtags if you’re trying to get your pics in front of potential clients.
We probably don’t have to tell you this is a highly competitive hashtag. However, if you can manage to get featured the payoff can be huge!
Believe it or not, this hashtag has more posts than the previous one at almost 50M! If you can land your photo here you’ll be on the right track for attracting soon-to-be brides to your page.
Another hotspot for catching the attention of brides-to-be!
If you specialize in capturing those specific little moments and details of the wedding, this hashtag is for you.
This one’s a sneak attack aiming at brides-to-be. Wow them with your photography while they’re shopping for dresses.
Best Instagram hashtags for black and white photographers
Five of our favorite hashtags for black and white photography
Black and white photography is already pretty niche and there’s some amazing talent on Instagram do it really well. If you’re ready to join the ranks, add these hashtags to your collection. Most likely your photos will be seen by other photographers and people looking specifically for people who specialize in this niche.
Here you’ll find a mix of mediums. Just know that everyone browsing this hashtag is specifically looking for black and white art.
Extremely highly competitive for black and white photos but you’ll have the chance to be seen by peers in the field.
Another niche hashtag if you’re looking to show off your monochrome photography skills.
We love any opportunity to show off your favorite photo each day.
If you’re looking for black and white photo fans, you definitely want your pictures showing up here.
Best Instagram hashtags for photographer tools
Five of our favorite photography tool hashtags
Sometimes the equipment and software you use are just as much a part of the experience as the end result. If you have a favorite tool or technique you should be proud to show that off, too!
We’ve gathered some of our favorites to help you zero in on your target demographic and show off your skills!
One of the best hashtags to use f you specialize in 35mm.
Post here if you’re trying to target people looking specifically for film photographers.
Getting featured here is a must if you have an awesome photo that utilizes a long exposure. This hashtag is great for browsing or getting other photographers to view your work.
Take advantage if you use Lightroom and add this hashtag for some extra views and to show off your skills with the software.
The classics are classics for a reason. If you’re a fan of Kodak this is a great way to find other like-minded photographers and customers.
Best Instagram hashtags for photographers with 1M or fewer competing posts
Five of our favorite hashtags with fewer than 1M posts
We keep talking about the importance of using hashtags that you can compete for, so this list is for the photographers just starting out on Instagram. Use these hashtags if your usual post engagement is in the low thousands or fewer, or you’re trying to scale up. Also notice how these accounts mixed both high and low competitive hashtags.
A great general photography hashtag for ramping up engagement.
A great option for niche portrait photographers trying to scale.
Nature and landscape photographers trying to grow their Instagram photography accounts should definitely add this hashtag to the rotation.
If you’re slowly building your wedding photography Instagram, build your following with this hashtag.
Specialize in mobile photography? There’s a hashtag for that!
Best Instagram hashtags for photographers with under 10k competing posts
Five of our favorite hashtags with fewer than 10K posts
Everyone starts somewhere and it’s incredibly hard to compete with pages that have millions of followers. If you’re brand new to building your photography Instagram account, make sure to use plenty of these hashtags to get started and then build up when you’re ready.
This hashtag is a great choice for travel, nature, and landscape photographers new to Instagram.
Trying to build your black and white photography Instagram? Start here.
Post here when you’re ready to start building your portrait photography Instagram account.
New to lifestyle photography? Post with this hashtag to start building that following.
And of course, we couldn’t leave out a general photography hashtag to help get you started.
Instagram hashtag best practices
Ok, so we talked about why hashtags are important to improve visibility on your Instagram photography account and how to pick the ones most likely to work for you. And we’ve just loaded you up with over 200 hashtags (although if you’re still struggling, check out RiteTag for more ideas) that you can start using immediately.
Now you just need to know the best practices for Instagram hashtags!
Remember, social media marketing is a strategy. You just can’t go in guns blazing and hope for the best. You need to optimize your bio, figure out a content plan, and leverage Instagram’s mechanics to get the most out of your account. The latter point is where knowing those best practices come into play.
Here’s what you need to know about using hashtags to boost your photography Instagram account.
How many Instagram hashtags to use per post
We’ve spent a lot of time singing the praises of hashtags, and for good reason. But it is possible to have too much of a good thing. It’s important to keep in mind that you CAN use too many hashtags, and if you do it’ll do the exact opposite of what you want.
Fortunately, there’s a sweet spot you can stay in that will give you a maximum amount of visibility without angering the Instagram algorithm.
Instagram caps the number of hashtags to 30 per post. If you try to use any more than that your post just won’t appear. But remember, even 30 may be too many. According to TrackMaven, posts with 9 hashtags receive the best engagement.
If you have a handful of great hashtags that are doing wonders for your engagement but you’re using 12 each time, that’s great – it’s not a deal breaker. The point is, don’t think that you need to stuff each post with 30 hashtags. Ultimately, that’ll probably do you more harm than good.
Mix up your photography hashtags on Instagram
Remember, Instagram frowns upon spam. A common exploit is overusing hashtags and Instagram is cracking down on it. In fact, their community guidelines clearly indicate that they consider posting repetitive content and comments spam. That includes posting the exact same group of hashtags on every. Single. Post.
There are a plethora of great photography hashtags swimming around Instagram, so use that to your advantage. Since that magic number is around 9 per post, you should be able to find 30-40 relevant ones that you can keep cycling through with each new photo.
Use appropriate photography hashtags for each post
While we’re on the subject of spam, let’s talk about using appropriate hashtags as users can and will report if you’re using hashtags that aren’t relevant to your post.
No, using irrelevant hashtags won’t get you banned or your account removed. It will simply lower your reach or stop showing your posts altogether.
To combat this, use a mix of general and niche hashtags relevant to your photography. For instance, if you’re a wedding photographer, go ahead and use #photographer, #weddingphotographer, and even #bnw if you post a black and white photo. But don’t start throwing in nature photography hashtags or other unrelated ones just to boost your posts. It won’t work.
Post your photos to Instagram at the right time
Android users alone spend close to an hour per day on Instagram and it’s no secret that traffic peaks at different times of the day. Posting during those time frames will give you the best chance of receiving the highest number of views.
Different demographics will be active at different times. Teens are more likely to be on before and after school, while stay-at-home-moms tend to browse during the middle of the day, and people who work 40-hour weeks explore the app during lunch breaks and when they get home.
If you have a specific demographic that you’re targeting, try and use that to your advantage.
According to SproutSocial, these are the most active times in general:
- Sunday: 10 am – 2 pm CDT
- Monday: 11 am – 5 pm CDT
- Tuesday: 5 am, 9 am – 6 pm CDT
- Wednesday: 5 am, 11 am, 3 pm
- Thursday: 5 am, 11 am, 3 pm – 4 pm CDT
- Friday: 5 am, 9 am-4 pm CDT
- Saturday: 11 am CDT
It seems like a lot to take in, but these tips are designed to take your Instagram photography hashtag game to the next level. Once you start using them on a regular basis, they’ll become second nature and you won’t even have to think about it.
Before you get started with your strategy, go through our hashtag list and pick out a good handful of the ones that’ll work best for your account. Make sure to consider your photography niche and current engagement stats. And of course, do some trial and error to find what works best for you.
To save yourself even more time, you can schedule your posts in advance so they’ll go out during those peak traffic times.
Do you have a favorite Instagram photography hashtag that isn’t on our list? We’d love to hear it!
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