Instagram tips for artists

Everyone knows now that Instagram is a real game-changer for emerging artists. Because it allows artists to build a large follower base, potentially collectors, cutting through the structures of the art market. As it became an obligatory step for artists we needed to work on a list of Instagram tips for artists:

  1. Instagram mistakes artists need to avoid
  2. Photography tips for IG
Mo Li Very Private Gallery

by Mo Li – Last updated: August 28, 2019 at 21:08 pm

Instagram mistakes many artists make

Now I will show you how to take better Instagram photos apart from basic photography mistakes, such as underexposed photos, image noise, blurs and low resolution. There are plenty of other mistakes artists make without knowing (this chapter can be viewed on our YouTube channel). Let’s see some examples:

#1: Partial

Either it can be cropped wrong, or the photo was taken like this. Sometimes the missing part is so small, you might not even notice when you take the picture. Show the whole thing and only then you can share details.

#2: Messy composition

Showing your dirty laundry or random items on the background can be distracting. Don’t include anything that does not help you transmit your message. Don’t rely excessively on photo editing tools to take care of the mess. It’s always better to get it right at the beginning. (would you wanna be born pretty or through plastic surgery?)

#3: Glare

Take your art out of the frame so you can avoid reflections from the glass surface.

“So if anything I’m more confident as a woman now. The most beautiful thing to me is confidence. Female or male, I really relate to people best when they’re honest and genuine. The most important thing is to love yourself. I love myself so much. It’s allowed me to create the best version of myself. I enjoy being confident and powerful.”

#4: Instagram filters

It’s cool to take portraits with filter, but not your art. You need to show your art as it is. The main reason is that if someone buys it, he will need to get what he saw.

#5: Co-Starring

Showing your art among other things, or showing too many pieces of art at once can also give this confusion like ‘where should my eyes land?’ Make sure your art is the star, not the co-stars competing against each other for attention. Publish the other artists’ artwork you shoot  or repost on a different account.

#6: Watermarks

Don’t put big ugly watermarks! If someone steals your work but you communicate it well, it will be easy to find you via reverse image search. So this is a free advertisement.

#7: Awkward angles

Try to avoid shooting your main image with awkward angles (actually any angle at all). It doesn’t faithfully render your art. Especially if you have a dark frame, it shows very well how unnatural it looks. Take your main photo square on like a passport photo. It might not be the most creative way to show your work, but it’s the safest way.

Instagram photography tips

‘My 570 posts on Instagram only got me 520 followers. What have I done wrong? Can you give me some advice on my photos?’

This kind of question pushed me to write these tips: I’m going to share some good practices and give you… (Instead of reading you can see this topic on our YouTube channel)

9 tips on how to take better photos of your art on Instagram

#1: Aspect Ratio

When you frame your shot, think about aspect ratio. You can take 1:1 or 4:5 (slightly longer photos, 1080px by 1350px) depending on your art. If your artwork is slightly longer, it’s even better because it occupies more areas of the screen. However, if your artwork is horizontal, don’t publish like that. Among other square photos, it looks like a banner. Make a ‘passepartout’ white space around it, and upload as a square photo.

#2: Show multiples

You can upload up to 10 photos in the same post. It allows you to show some details, such as close-ups of your painting, as one of these multiple photos. However, make sure your main image is the ‘passport photo’ of your painting.

#3: Use props

Use items to tell your story alongside your painting. It is ok to include some fine art supplies, plants or anything really. For example, you can use seashells to decorate a painting of the sea. Use color or light contrast for example, and make the image pop, and play with the composition. Just don’t overdo it. If the props are too attention-seeking, your views can be distracted.


“I believe that the desire to create must be instilled very deeply inside you. It’s this desire that encourages and supports me when the realities of freelance life – the hustle, the invoices, the deadlines, the demands – begin to seem like too much.(…) Talent doesn’t separate successful people from unsuccessful people, but lack of tenacity can.”
-Meera Lee Patel

#4: Include yourself

After seeing your art, people would like to know you. It’s great to show yourself making art in the photo, either in front, behind, next to it, holding it… Try to find a stylish way to present yourself. Imagine this is the ‘behind the scene’ photo of your art creation. If you are a bit shy, put it as the second photo in a series of multiples. You will get used to showing yourself later!

#5: Background texture

It’s ok to have textured background like wood, sand, concrete or fabric as long as it helps to reflect the work.

#6: Use a Frame


Frames can make your work look more expensive. Include a frame especially if you give the option for the collectors to buy framed art. Also it helps you to convert a horizontal image into a square one, in an elegant way. Just make sure you take out the glasses

#7: Use Grids

Use 9 photos to showcase a large canvas. Make sure your original photo is at least 3240 pixels on each side. You can do it in Photoshop, also there are some Apps for mobile. Most of these Apps come with a watermark. There is a free one called 9 Square is free, on Android.

#8: Steal like an artist

Look at the top ones in your niche and see what they do.

#9: Create your style

Research, experiment and find your style. It can be a certain theme, look, or vibe. Once you find your visual identity, be e consistent. Imagine your account is like an art collection, you are the artist and the curation of this collection. You want to show your progress but stay within the same line of work. You can achieve this by customized presets in Photoshop, so you can achieve the consistency by just a click of a button.

# Bonus tip

Send your work to an influencer (that you know) with a handwritten note. Or just get a local influencer to stand in for a shoot so you can tag them and get their followers.


Instagram Tips for Artists
Article Name
Instagram Tips for Artists
9 Instagram tips for artists: Good practices, 9 tips on how to take better photos of your art on Instagram. And the mistakes to avoid.
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Very Private Gallery
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