The Best Hashtags to Get Your Photos Seen on Instagram in 2018

The Best Hashtags to Get Your Photos Seen on Instagram in 2018

Hashtags are a lot more than fodder for your social media posts. You need to use them and do so correctly in order to be noticed being one small fish in the giant ever growing pond we refer to as Instagram. 

Hashtags are a user invented and community adopted keyword search excelling in simplicity, speed, and accessibility. They were born on Twitter in 2007 after a simple tweet suggested using a pound sign in front of a subject.

After needing to manually search the tags for a while, Twitter implemented a clickable search in 2009 and the rest, as they say, is history. Their usefulness and approachability could not be denied. Pretty much every social network followed suit and users have been keeping their posts effectively sorted ever since.

While the idea of hashtags was widely understood, no network embraced the culture and potential of them like Instagram. When their version of clickable hashtags launched in January 2011, the company suggested users go beyond generic hashtags like #photo or #good and make them more specific and targeted to reach other like-minded users. This small push of direction from the top helped a number of users stand out from the crowd and almost created a gold rush scenario where certain hashtags used at the right times could lead to a number of new likes and followers.

There are a ton of accounts dedicated to the promotion of photographers. Our Fstoppers Instagram has almost 400,000 followers and exists as primarily a showcase of exceptional work from our readers and writers. Like other feature pages, to be included when the results when the page admin is looking for new photos to share, you only have to include #fstoppers as one of your hashtags. Most feature pages will include their rules and instructions to be featured right in their bio. Recently, Instagram even added the ability to have clickable hashtags right on an accounts profile.

People will argue about exactly how many hashtags to include but keep in mind that the maximum is 30. Unlike Twitter, you can edit posts on Instagram to add or change hashtags. You can even just add a hashtag to a comment and get the same result.

One thing I suggest is to also include some local hashtags from your area. It is a great way to support and promote the surrounding community you live in. The hashtag #buffalove comes to mind, which has been universally adopted where I live here in western New York.

Photography Hashtags to Include

Adding hashtags to your Instagram post can be done on the fly using auto-complete, but the pros use copy and paste to quickly boost their visibility without taking too much time or effort out of an already busy life. Whether you use a cloud solution like Google Docs or your phone's notes app, here are some discipline-based hashtags to try on your next Instagram share. Please note that some of the groups have more than the limit of 30 hashtags. This is simply due to the popularity of the genre. Feel free to choose the ones that apply best to your style. There is a line break for reference at the 30 tag limit.

Like our previous guide, we will group them by genre with the number of tags in parenthesis. Thanks to Nick Pecori for such a great initial list of hashtags to build off of.

General Photography (29)

#composition #exposure #foto #fotografia #ig_shotz #instaphoto #instaphotos #instapic #photo #photograph #photographer #photographers #photographie #photography #photographyeveryday #photographyislife #photographylover #photographylovers #photographyoftheday #photographysouls #photooftheday #photos #pic #picoftheday #pics #picture #pictureoftheday #pictureperfect #pictures

Animal/Wildlife/Nature (29)

#animal_captures #animal_fanatics #animal_sultans #animalelite #animalphotos #animalphotography #animals_captures #animals_in_world #birdphotography #earthfocus #natgeo #natgeohub #natgeopix #natgeowild #natgeowild_hd #natgeowildlife #naturephotography #naturelovers #naturelover #naturegood #splendid_animals #wildlifeaddicts #wildlifelovers #wildlifeonearth #wildlifeperfection #wildlifephoto #wildlifephotography #wildlifephotography #wildlifeplanet

Astro (23)

#astro_photography_ #astrographer #astrography #astrophoto #astrophotography #awesomeearth #fs_longexpo #ic_longexpo #landscape_captures #longexpo_additction #longexposure #milkyway #milkywaychasers #milkywaygalaxy #milkywayphotography #natgeospace #nightscaper #nightsky #spacephotography #starphotography #starrynight #starscape #udog_sky #universetoday

Landscape (25)

#ig_exquisite #fantastic_earth #nature_wizards #landscape #landscape_capture #landscape_captures #landscape_hunter #landscape_lover #landscape_lovers #landscape_photography #landscapehunter #landscapelover #landscapelovers #landscapephotography #landscapephotomag #landscapephotos #landscapes #landscapeshot #landscapeslovers #landscape_specialist #natgeo #nationalgeographic #naturephotography #nature_prefection #ourplanetdaily

Long Exposure (19)

#long_exposure #long_exposure_pics #long_exposure_shots #longexpo #longexpo_addiction #longexpoelite #longexpohunter #longexposhots #longexposure_kings #longexposure_photos #longexposure_shots #longexposureoftheday #longexposurephotographer #longexposurephotography #longexposurephotography #longexposures #longexposureshots #longexposureworld #ndfilter

Portrait (30)

#portrait_ig #portrait_mood #portrait_page #portrait_perfection #portrait_planet #portrait_shot #portrait_shots #portrait_universe #portrait_vision #portraitphotography #portraitphotographyawards #portraitphotographys #portraits_ig #portraits_universe #portraitsession #portraitsfromtheworld #portraitshoot #portraitshot #portraitsmag #portraitsociety #portraitsociety #portraitsofficial #portraitsshots #portraitstream #portraitstudio #portraitstyles #portraitsvision #portraitsvisuals #portraiture #postthepeople

Automotive (26)

#automotivephotography #cargasm #cargram #carinstagram #carlifestyle #carlovers #caroftheday #carphoto #carphotopage #carphotos #carphotography #carphotographer #carphotoshoot #carporn #carshow #carshowroom #carshot #carsofinstagram #carswithoutlimits #madwhips #musclecar #musclecars #musclecarzone #musclecarpics #sportscars #sportscaroftheday

Black & White (42)

#big_shotz_bw #blackandwhite_perfection #bnw_addicted #bnw_captures #bnw_city #bnw_demand #bnw_diamond #bnw_drama #bnw_focus_on #bnw_globe #bnw_greatshots #bnw_guru #bnw_just #bnw_legit #bnw_life #bnw_magazine #bnw_planet #bnw_society #bnw_top #bnw_universe #bnwmood #bw_crew #bw_lovers #bw_photooftheday #bw_shotz #bwmasters #bwstyleoftheday #bwstylesgf #igblacknwhite #insta_bw

#bwsquare #bnw_of_our_world #capturabnw #excellent_bnw #flair_bw #igfotogram_bw #jj_blackwhite #love_bnw #noir_shots #noir_vision #rsa_bnw #top_bnw

Drone (30)

#aerialphotography #dji #djiglobal #djiphantom #djiphantom3 #drone #drones #dronebois #dronefly #dronegear #dronegram #dronelife #droneoftheday #droneofficial #dronephotography #dronephoto #dronepic #dronepilots #dronepointofview #droneporn #dronesdaily #dronestagram #fromwhereidrone #mavic #phantom #phantom2 #phantom3 #phantom4 #quadcopter #uas

Film (26)

#35mm #35mmfilm #analog #analogfeatures #analogphotography #analogue #analoguevibes #believeinfilm #buyfilmnotmegapixels #darkroom #filmcamera #filmcommunity #filmfeed #filmisalive #filmisnotdead #filmphoto #filmphotographer #filmphotographic #filmphotography #filmphotos #grainisgood #ishootfilm #istillshootfilm #keepfilmalive #shotonfilm #staybrokeshootfilm

Fine Art (23)

#artisoninstagram #artisticphotography #capturedconcepts #conceptualphotography #emotive #featuremeofh #fineart #fineartist #fineartphoto #fineartphotographer #fineartphotography #fineartportrait #fineartprint #fineartprints #forbiddenart #l0tsabraids #marvelshot #of2humans #pixel_ig #visualcreators #visualsgang #visualsoflife #whyconcept

Food (34)

#beautifulcuisines #buzzfeast #cheflife #chefsofinstagram #chefsroll #f52grams #feedfeed #foodaddict #foodblogfeed #foodgawker #foodgram #foodie_features #foodinsta #foodlife #foodoftheday #foodphoto #foodphotoaday #foodphotograph #foodphotographer #foodphotography #foodphotooftheday #foodphotos #foodporn #foodpornshare #foodpost #foods4thought #gloobyfood #hautecuisines #huffposttaste #onthetable

#tastingtable #thefeedfeed #thekitchen #todayfood

Music (20)

#bandphotographer #bandphotography #bestmusicshots #concertphoto #concertphotographer #concertphotography #concertphotos #gigphotography #liveauthentic #livemusicphoto #livemusicphotographer #livemusicphotography #livemusicphotos #musicblogger #musiclover #musicphoto #musicphotography #onstage #ontour #shows

Sports (13)

#actionphoto #actionphotography #championship #maxpreps #mondaymotivation #sportphoto #sportphotographer #sportphotography #sportsman #sportsphoto #sportsphotographer #sportsphotography #sportsphotos

Or of course the sport you shoot plus the words photography, photographer, photos, and photo.

Street/Urban (53)

#_heater #1stinstinct #agameoftones #citykillerz #createexplore #exploretocreate #featuremeinstagood #heatercentral #igersone #illgramers #illgrammers #illkillers #imaginatones #instamagazine #killergrams #killyourcity #livefolk #moodygrams #neverstopexploring #peopleinsquare #shotaroundmag #shotaward #shotzdelight #streetactivityteam #streetdreamsmag #streetexploration #streetmagazine #streetmobs #streetmobs #streetphoto_bnw

#streetphoto_bw #streetphotocolor #streetphotografy #streetphotograph #streetphotographer #streetphotographers #streetphotography #streetphotography #streetphotography_color #streetphotograpy #streetphotomag #streetphotos #streetshared #streettogether #superhubs #twgrammers #urbanandstreet #urbanphotography #urbanromantix #urbex #way2ill #wearethestreet #yngkillers

Travel (30)

#beautiful_world #beautifulworld #exploretheglobe #globe_travel #keepexploring #letsgosomewhere #natgeo #nationalgeographic #roamtheplanet #travel #travel_captures #travel_drops #traveladdict #travelblogger #travelbug #traveldeeper #traveldiary #travelers #travelguide #travelholic #traveller #travellers #travelling #travelnow #travelph #travelphoto #travelpic #travels #travelworld #travlegram

*Adding the location after the word "travel" is a great way to tag your travel photos.

Wedding (35)

#destinationweddingphotographer #elopementlove #engagementphotos #engagementsession #engagmentphotography #fineartwedding #junebugweddings #loveauthentic #theknot #vscowedding #weddingblog #weddingblogger #weddingceremony #weddingday #weddingdecor #weddingdetails #weddingfashion #weddingflowers #weddinghair #weddingideas #weddinginspirations #weddinginspo #weddingmoments #weddingphoto #weddingphotographer #weddingphotography #weddingplanning #weddingrings #weddingseason #weddingstyle

#bridalfashion #bridalphotographer #bridebook #bridesmaid #couplesphotography

Architectural (20)

#architecture #architectureandpeople #architecturedaily #architecturedetail #architecturedetails #architecturedose #architecturefactor #architecturegram #architecturehunter #architecturelife #architecturelove #architecturelover #architecturelovers #architecturephoto #architecturephotography #architecturephotos #architecturepicture #architectureporn #architectureproject #architecturewatch

Children/Family/Newborn (25)

#childphoto #childphotographer #childphotography #childphotoshoot #familyphotographer #familyphotography #familyphotos #familyphotoshoot #familysessions #kidmodels #kids #kids_of_our_world #kidsactivities #kidsclothes #kidsdress #kidsforreal #kidsmodel #kidsstyle #newbornbaby #newbornbuy #newborngirl #newbornphoto #newbornphotographer #newbornphotography #newbornsession

Pets (22)

#animalphotography #animalphotos #animalphoto #animalphotographer #dogphotography #dogphotographer #dogphoto #dogphotos #dogphotoshoot #catphotography #catphotographer #catphoto #catphotos #catphotoshoot #petphoto #petphotographer #petphotographers #petphotography #petphotoofhteday #petphotos #petphotoshoot #petsofinstagram

Beauty (12)

#beautyphotographer #beautyphotography #beautyphoto #beautylover #beautygram #beautyretouch #retouch #retoucher #retouching #retouched #retouche #skinretouch

Boudoir/Glamour (28)

#beautyandboudoir #boudoir #boudoirart #boudoirinspiration #boudoirphotographer #boudoirphotography #boudoirphotos #boudoirphotoshoot #boudoirmodel #boudoirsession #boudoirshoot #forguysmag #fusemagazineonline #glamourmodel #glamourshot #glamourshots #great_captures_sensual #ig_sensual_art #igf_sensual2 #implied #impliedmagazine #modelsofinstagram #nakidmag #sensual_guru #sensual_ladies #sensualdays #uncoveredmagazine #uncoverme

Product/Commercial/Beverage (12)

#beerphoto #beerphotography #beerphotos #beveragephotographer #beveragephotography #cocktailphotography #commercialphoto #commercialphotographer #commercialphotography #drinkphotography #productshot #productshots

Lifestyle (11)

#authenticlovemag #lifestyle #lifestyleblog #lifestyleblogger #lifestyleinspo #lifestylephotographer #lifestylephotography #lifestyler #livestylemodel #livestyles #photobugcommunity

Fashion (24)

#endlessfaces #facesobsessed #fashiondiaries #fashioneditorial #fashiongram #fashionmagazine #fashionmodel #fashionph #fashionphotographer #fashionphotographers #fashionphotography #fashionphoto #fashionphotos #fashionphotograph #fashionshoot #highfashion #modelfashion #modelphotography #modelphotographer #modelphotos #modeloftheday #modelsworld #newface #testshoot #testshoots #topmodel #vogue

Your Mileage May Vary

Will adding these suggested hashtags to your post do the trick to bring you more followers and all the fame and fortune that come with it? I'm not so sure about that. But it will certainly help more than doing nothing or not putting any thought into the success of your posts. If you have some good hashtags we may have missed let us know and we'll do our best to edit them in for everyone to use.

Make sure you try browsing all of these new hashtags you're adding. Millions of people all over the world actively post to them so expecting to blindly add some copied hashtags and walk away is doing it wrong. Check out some of the other photos shared to them. You may find inspiration, or even make someone's day with an unexpected like.

Good luck and happy hashtagging.

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37 Comments

Michael Holst's picture

The vast majority of those tags are going to be a waste of time. Think of each tag as a pool you're throwing your photos into... If the pool is full of millions of other photos you're exposure hasn't really improved much. Now that doesn't mean it's effective to just come up with unique hashtags either. It's a balancing act.

Instagram has added the ability to follow hashtags. Find tags that have an audience size medium to small. It gives you a more focused audience and will increase visibility.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

I know what you mean, but there's value to both the popular ones and the less so. I used the black and white hashtag group this morning and got a lot of likes outside my normal followers. Good shots can still stand out and having photos where people are looking is the idea.

And then we have to consider WHY someone liked your photo. Probably not for the reasons you'd hope (for example, that they like it or your photography). IG is a cesspool of people who want followers and like and follow for the sole purpose of getting others to follow them.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

That is actually a really good point, Tom. The best followers to have might just be non-photographers.

Pedro Pulido's picture

i have to agree with this statement although i must also state that it is still worth it for a photographer to be present in instagram. I run a travel photography tour company and i've had quite a few clients coming in straight from IG. so it's worth the fight and the struggle and the time invested. The one thing really important about it is more focused on the business side than the photography side of it. Know how to market your product and how to target the right audience. that is key !

Martin Peterdamm's picture

if you are targeting a more serious group of people, some well used und good working could also be a bit embarrassing and fire back on you. just saying

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Basically the goal here would be to get your photos seen. That can be a challenge.

Mark Guinn's picture

Another really good hashtag tool is https://displaypurposes.com/. On this site, you enter up to 3 hashtags and it produces a list complete with relevance and popularity metrics. For example (see the screenshot), I used "#landscapes #mountains #travel." The site then pulls a full list of current hashtags based on the aforementioned metrics. Then you can either pick and choose your hashtags or just copy and paste the list.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Of all the tools I've tried, I do like Display Purposes the best. Good call.

Can confirm, I love displaypurposes! Now I spend no more than a few minutes picking tags based on some common seeds that make sense for my targeted audience.

But that said, I've only got < 200 followers so I might not be the best case study 😂

Rayann Elzein's picture

Wow you learn new things every day! Thanks for this tip Mark!

Jordan McChesney's picture

Some of these may be a little outdated. "longexposure_kings" rebranded to "longexposure_royals" quite a while back and even their shared photos struggle to break 100 likes or like 5 comments.

Personally, I stopped caring about my growth and likes on instagram a few months ago. I've been stuck at 450-460 followers since about May, regardless of which tags I use, how good my photos are, or how many times I get featured on other pages. Meanwhile people with horrible photos continue to grow by just following and unfollowing or whatever they're doing these days. I've found that caring less about my growth on instagram has actually helped me take better photos, because I'm not constantly trying to run a rat race for attention.

I'll try using some of these and see what happens, but I don't expect anything to change.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Good to know about that particular hashtag. That's exactly the input I was hoping for. Thanks, Jordan. I think most of us are stuck with follower counts these days. Unless you're an "influencer!" lol

Jordan McChesney's picture

I've been on Instagram for a year and a half, and I still don't know what "influencer" even means, haha. Is it just a word for attractive young person with a lot of privileges and wealth?

I appreciate that this article was written by someone who doesn't have 10k followers, because those ones always seem so out of touch. It seems like you actually understand how hard it is to get noticed, and how meaningless it all is, in the long run.

Also, one more thing, is your website "stustusudio" playing off the song "sussudio" by Phil Colins, or was that just a happy accident? Because if it is based on that, I think it belongs in some kind of "website name hall of fame".

Michael B. Stuart's picture

"Just Say the Word!" is our tagline, Jordan McChesney :) Glad you like!

In my opinion, keeping creative is the important thing. Keep doing that and you're ahead of the game. More followers will just have you raising the expectation bar and getting stuck in that mode.

I agree that the follow/unfollow dance is maddening! People with shitty pictures have thousands of followers, especially if they have a personal account. I converted my personal account to a business account a few years ago and that was the worst thing I could have done. I get penalized by IG if I just 'like' photos, rather than "engage" with other IGers by commenting on their posts. When I started commenting, my followers increased dramatically. When I didn't spend enough time liking and commenting on others' stuff, my followers dropped back down. I started adding videos and my followers went back up like crazy. So I posted a picture and many of them evaporated. And because I have a business account, they're always hounding me to Promote my posts, so they can show them to more people. They don't do that to personal accounts. I can get 10-15 new followers in a 24-hour period, then wake up and I've lost 16 followers. It's total BS and making me absolutely crazy!

Jordan McChesney's picture

Yeah, I think one thing I would have to do if I wanted to get serious about it is engage more. But I don’t know if people are looking to give or receive constructive criticism on instagram, I think they just want “nice image!”, or another positive comment, which doesn’t seem to any get more than a “thanks”. So I’d rather spend my time here.

Charles Gaudreault's picture

A lot of the portrait tag's are tag's that are associated with pages that let you buy a post, so they only bring fake followers, I get 10-15 new followers every day and they are all gone the next day its what I hate about that generics tag's like #portraitpage or #moodyports etc... but they do bring a few more likes so its like a love-hate thing going on :P

Michael B. Stuart's picture

The follow/unfollow dance is so annoying.

Christine Buckley's picture

Are you following them back? If so, I would recommend downloading an app that shows who unfollowed you. Play their game, and when they unfollow you, unfollow them back >:)

Michael B. Stuart's picture

I want to write an April fools article about "How To Properly Follow/Unfollow On Instagram"
With nuggets like this:
You need to make sure you are unfollowing users while they are sleeping so they are less likely to notice. With that being said, Tuesdays should be avoided at all costs. Everyone checks for unfollows on Tuesdays.

Hastags are the last refuge for the desperate.

Bob Zhitkov's picture

well, well. nice article. but what about 'still life' hashtags?

Musing Eye's picture

I'd say find a few photographers in your genre that you admire and follow and see what hashtags they use. The DisplayPurposes website linked in other comments here may help you too,

Michael B. Stuart's picture

I've got you covered, Bob Zhitkov: #stilllife #stillife #stilllifegallery #stillswithstories #exclusive_world_stilllife #stillography #still_life #still_life_gallery #stilllifephotography #gf_stilllife #stilllife_perfection #stilllife_archive #stilllife_gallery :)

Bob Zhitkov's picture

Two glasses of beer to this gentleman!

Daniel Medley's picture

Instagram is a complete and total steaming pile of bullshit. Yes, I post on IG. I throw out a few tags. I've only got about 150 followers give or take about ten a day that follow and then unfollow, but I still manage to get the occasional DM asking for my photographic services so it's still worth it. Plus, it's my little photographic conduit to family and friends.

But, seeing how people just blatantly game it is rather disgusting. It's almost as if the powers that be at IG got together and said, "How can we change this to both devalue it and encourage gaming of the system?" And then they came up with what we have now.

Nice.

Christine Buckley's picture

There are apps available to discover who had follow to unfollow. There is also many "red flags" that one may do so. This includes having 2k+ followers, but only following 100 profiles.

Musing Eye's picture

Christine if you could share a pointer to such apps, I'd appreciate it. I'm a small time hobbyist, but even I regularly get the follow/unfollow thing and the accompanying annoying IG notification icon that turns out to be nothing.

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