Four Changes Instagram Should Make That Would Make Photographers Happier

Four Changes Instagram Should Make That Would Make Photographers Happier

This week, Instagram awed us all by rolling out one of the simplest and most obvious features that we had all been clamoring for for years. OK, maybe I wasn't awed, but boy does multiple account support make my life so much easier. I’m no longer typing in my Instagram passwords 30 times per day, which got me to thinking: as a platform, Instagram is pretty good, but its features are still notoriously primitive. Here are a few features I think they should add that would make my life much easier.

Note: I know some of these features are available from third-party apps. Having to switch from app to app is just as annoying as not having these features natively.

Desktop Support

I get it, Instagram was limited to mobile to encourage users to only post photos taken in the moment with their phones. Surprise, surprise, that didn’t really do anything. It's not like all of us photographers are not posting our photos because of this restriction. It doesn’t stop anything. All it does is make posting to Instagram an annoyance because you have to transfer images from your computer to your phone just for Instagram, while every other social media platform supports desktop interaction just fine.

Activity Filtering

I’m sure it varies from user to user, but I get about one comment for every five hundred or so likes. I don’t really care to look at each individual like, but I sure would like to take a peek at each and every comment so I can respond to them. The problem is that the Instagram activity tab aggregates both into a single list, so I have to scroll through hundreds of likes to hunt for comments. It seems pretty trivial to me that they could simply offer a button or tab to only view the comments.

Post Scheduling

I can schedule posts on every other social media platform. I can’t schedule posts on Instagram. This means if I want to schedule posts to all go out at once, I still have to actively post at that time, which, for the most part, means scheduling on all the other networks isn’t all that helpful either.

Some Sort of Viral Share Feature

Instagram has never really had a viral discovery mechanism where users can share each other’s content to their own timelines. Twitter accomplishes this through retweets. Facebook does it through “sharing.” On Instagram, the only way to discover content beyond your timeline is by searching or clicking on people tagged in photos. I’d love to be able to re-share some content that I think is amazing. I’d also love for people to be able to share my content to their own timelines.


Instagram has quickly become a dominant social media platform. For some of us, it has risen to being number one. Unfortunately, its features are still far too oriented towards casual use and become a burden for those aiming to promote a professional brand. Times need to change! What are some features that you think Instagram could really benefit from?

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Lance Nicoll's picture

One feature I would love, is the ability to stack search criteria or more specifically to be able to search for a hashtag but within a certain geographical region.

Love the article and the concept behind it. Good Stuff!

Jason Vinson's picture

this would be awesome!

Mike Last's picture

Yes! Or even easier, search for posts that include two hashtags.

Andrew Griswold's picture

Very interesting concept. That is some deep deep search capabiltites. I feel they have done really well with the updates in the search field. I remember when we could only search people and tags. Locations has been a freaking godsend and I can flip to a place i will be traveling to to scout locations quickly.

Jason Vinson's picture

yes to all of this! especially the notifications! i lose countless comments and mentions because they get lost within all the likes. I have tried to fix this by turning on push notifications for comments and mentions, but it only helps if i see each comment as they come in, since a new comment will override the last one in my status bar.

Andrew Griswold's picture

Agreed, the loss of comments on other photos from my own is annoying when I simply post a photo that gets more than 99 likes/comments. Ha! I will say though spiritually over the last couple years I have had access to an unlimited news feed so maybe they are working on it? Other than an unlimited news feed it would be nice to see them seprate comments and likes and followers. Then again followers you can see in order by clicking your following number and see the list, I think all the way through. Still lots to be done in the future.

If an image is uploaded with copyright metadata, do not strip it out. That would make me happier.

Jason Lorette's picture

Out of all of these probably the one I'd want the most is the "desktop support" the rest really don't matter to me. I don't have enough followers (600+) at this point to worry about the activity sharing, the scheduling isn't important due to I usually don't post more than once or twice a day, sharing may be nice but then again it would just encourage people sharing their own things less. Definitely desktop support though!

Annupam Singh's picture

Notifications is a no brainier, needed asap!
Its almost impossible to look for comments and engage with your audience.

Sounds like you just want Twitter haha.

Ryan Cooper's picture

In a sense, though twitter prioritizes text where as Instagram prioritizes images, thats a pretty huge difference. Instagram also happens to be where most of my audience is. Whenever I post a photo of a model, they always have an IG I can tag, they almost never have twitter.

Haha, yeah that's true not arguing that. Twitter has shifted to be more photo friendly though and in some ways is better. However Twitter is not known for photos the same way Instagram is, I get that ;)

gene jurisic's picture

I would like the ability to zoom in on a photo!! I know there is a workaround on my iPhone but it sucks.. And yes i agree, desktop support and notification filtering asap

Isaac Alvarez's picture

I would love to utilize these features, hope this article makes a difference.

Dean Allman's picture

Along with zooming I would like to be able to change orientation. Why not let people see images in full landscape mode on a larger display?

Nicola Damonte's picture

I think Instagram is cool cause it's radical. Not too much options or possibilities, just a platform where showing our own works, nothing to share or repost, just our stuff! Sometimes easier things are the best.

Fritz Asuro's picture

If you are a Windows user, the desktop support and post scheduling is covered with the InstaPic app. Been using it and I haven't experienced no problems so far.

Stef C Photo's picture

There is a share feature, it just doesn't post to your own wall

You can share, it's called the repost app.

Ryan Cooper's picture

That involves switching to another third party app, which is not only cumbersome but also ensures that there really is never any viral potential for a reshare because even if YOU use that app you can be sure 99% of the audience won't.

Andrew Griswold's picture

So this has been something I have not really wanted super hard core but it would be nice. I can easily see the appeal and I think this would help the organic reach of a post and push it to become viral more often. it would erase a large portion of people screen grabbing the photo and then repositng it to their own page withotu credit. This would be HUGE for feature accounts

Sean Molin's picture

It's also copyright infringement. ;-)

Jason Vinson's picture

but then other people images get tied up in your images in your gallery. I think the share function would need to be able to share an image without it being tied to your work. I'm not sure what that looks like, but I would definitely not want a shared image to be confused as something i shot or show in my gallery.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I'd say the best way to do that would be to have shared posts only show up in the live feed but not be on your profile forever like normal posts. :)

Sean Molin's picture

Aside from being ugly and clumsy, it's also copyright infringement if you haven't asked permission before sharing. Instagram's TOS also says don't do it.

Derek Heisler's picture

I agree with the Activity Filtering. When your follower count gets to a certain size it makes managing comments impossible. I can't even find the comments because they have been pushed out of the activity feed. Without iOS notifications sticking around I'd miss every comment on my photos. This is a must!

Roy Rivas's picture

yes to all of this except for the sharing aspect. I love the fact that instagram is solely content that you post. I feel that if they created a share feature it would just take over everyone's feed and no original content would be seen. Perhaps making a separate feed for sharing items may be a solid compromise.

Rob Watts's picture

Their Terms of Use where they can basically do what they wish with your photo, will keep me away, just on principal if nothing else.

"Desktop Support"

I use Gramblr and it works pretty well.

Kamau Patrick's picture

Desktop Support, Clickable URL in Photo captions and ability to upload uncropped images.

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