An Instagram Suggestion Box: What Would You Add?

An Instagram Suggestion Box: What Would You Add?

Instagram has continued to transcend the way we share our work, our brand, and lives through our mobile devices. It's safe to say that it has taken over Facebook as the preferred mainstream social media platform to share our work. Fellow Writer Ryan Cooper recently put a great article together about features that could use overhauls and improvements. I decided to add some issues that I've run into time and time again and put together an Instagram suggestion box for the Fstoppers community. 

1. The Notifications Need An Overhaul!

Ryan's article touched on this, so I will be brief: the notifications need an overhaul! It makes it very difficult to interact with your following when you have to squint to search for those two comments amongst all of your photo's likes. Additionally, while I understand why they limit the amount of notifications, it becomes a pain when comments and mentions become lost because likes bog them down.


I believe everyone will agree on this one: a solution would be a more organized structure that separates likes, comments, mentions, etc. as they come in. 

2. The Squares Are Cutting off My Portraits! 

While I love that Instagram updated last year by adding the ability to post portrait and landscape images, there is a hang up that I just can't get over. Let say I have a portrait that has vertical dimensions, and my subject's face is towards the top end of the portrait. There's a good chance my subject will be cut off as shown below. 

Photographers on Instagram likely know what I am referring to and may have run into this issue. I can see this being a problem as well for landscape photographers. I have adapted to this by adjusting the photo to where my subject's head won't be cut off; I believe it looks better when my gallery is displayed with heads intact


I believe a simple solution would be giving users an option to select a thumbnail during the posting process, similar to when you may select a thumbnail when posting a video on Instagram. This would deliver a much cleaner look on everyone's galleries and benefit users greatly. 

3. Better Video Quality

In 2016, I decided to make a great effort to add a behind-the-scenes perspective to my sessions. While I believe the behind-the-scenes videos have been a success, there seems to be a lack a quality in my GoPro footage on Instagram. While I made an effort to find a solution by trying different export settings, Instagram seems to compress my footage significantly when posted. 


While I understand the reasoning behind the compressed footage, camera quality and resolution improvements are not slowing down and Instagram must adapt. While they did with photos last year, video quality is something they will eventually need to address.

4. Do Not Curate Feeds! (Updated)

News just came in today that Instagram will follow Facebook's footsteps. The ordering of your feed will be "based on the likelihood you'll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting, and the timeliness of the post... all the posts will still be there, just in a different order." Instagram promises that they're "going to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way." 

This is why we prefer Instagram, displaying content in chronological order and seeing everything! No filtered content! I could see this alienate daily Instagram users and make a strong case for Snapchat with its increasing popularity.

5. Your Suggestions!

What improvements and features would you like to see added or fixed on Instagram? It has become an essential marketing tool for all photographers; getting the most out of the app is paramount. Share your thoughts!

Nick Pecori's picture

Nick Pecori is a Florida-based advertising photographer who has shot for clients Acer, Bealls, Shoe Carnival, the Florida Lottery, etc.

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1. Proper ReGramming, like ReTweeting. I know that would flood peoples timelines, so maybe make it only doable once per 24 hours. That way you're only ReGramming what you consider the best of the best. Also makes discoverability better.

2. Be able to tell if someone follows you back, the same way Twitter does, simple.

3. For video they display Plays now, which is nice. However there's still room below the video to show likes so not sure why they don't show both plays & likes. I know I can click on the details of the video to see the likes but that's an extra step.

4. Swipe to block would be nice, rather than the 4 taps it takes now. Too many spammy robots on Instagram.

5. Account notifications. In Twitter I can turn this on for a specific user, whether I follow them or not, and then get notified if they Tweet. Makes it easy to engage with your favourite brands/people.

6. For video music is automatically muted. When I tap to turn it on it does so a full volume, which can be jarring. So, have the volume fade up instead.

I don’t use Instagram too often so if I some of these features already exist in some sense please excuse my ignorance ;)

There are already account notifications. Just go to the user and click the three little dots. It's okay I just figured it out recently too lol

Ah, looks like some users cannot be followed, or don't have three dots at all! That's why I wasn't seeing it.

#2 is important for me, too. Sometimes I don't post non-square images anymore, because I cannot control which part it will use as thumbnail. If the image is great, but the thumbnail not, it will shed a bad light on your work. For me thats a big one.

As some of you might not know, you have the option to turn on or off the different push notifications. For example if you don't want to be alerted about every new like but only followers and comments you can set that option.

I really don't like that you can see what other people like. It would be better that instead of it showing every pic that one of the people you follow likes, there would just be a page that shows photos that are being liked by the people you follow. Of course you could go to a photo and see who likes it but not an in your face update about their activity.

It would be nice to have working urls in the posts. As it stands now, a follower can't click on links in your posts

I'm not a fan of the 'facebook effect' that has creeped in to Instagram, in the sense that my feed is being filtered to show the people I follow that I've recently liked something of theirs. I'm missing a lot of stuff I'd otherwise like to see from people I'm following. "Didn't you see me post that on Instagram?"....umm nope.

I was never a fan of the time stamp format. but they recently changed it to actually show when it was posted instead of something like "3 weeks ago"

maybe uploading via website?

I second "upload via website". Posting from the phone adds too many steps to the workflow. I know Instagram started as a way to share snapshots from a phone, but it has changed to become a very popular place to share even professional work. Twitter started as a way to let your friends know, via SMS, what bar you were at during SXSW so Instagram can certainly change, too.



Please no. Just makes spam marketers that much worse.

Spammers are horrible already, a clickable link won't stop them

A Masonry style grid to Instagram pages so photos aren't cropped to squares

Not sure about this. I mean I've thought about this before but I feel like the square grid is also what "makes" Instagram, Instagram. Maybe this is because I've had the app since the beginning and don't want to see it changing to something completely different (though it has changed a lot already)

An iPad app!!! Also, here is one thing not to change: let us keep seeing every post by people we follow. It is crazy that Facebook limits what you see.

Ugh :( I spend half my time on Facebook resetting the feed to "Newest First".

Wow, within hours of posting my request to keep a clean feed, an algorithm is announced! Booooo!!!!!!! So, another about the OPTION to keep a chronological feed!

A Favorites list like twitter. It hard to remember page names of people/brands you like or may want to reach out to at a later time

Turn on Post Notifications. It was added maybe two months ago.

that helps you when they post but for example if i follow a model i may want to work with ned time I'm in texas, i can create a list on twitter called Texas models.

Only thing I'd really like to see is better tagging.:

1. Intelligent tagging so obviously similar ones get adjoined: #Photo vs #Photos, #NewYork #NewYorkCity #NYC etc...

2. Either get rid of "Recent Tag" or still show the number of posts in it.

I could think of more but honestly the beauty is in the simplicity of use. These are the only ones I'd think to really implement.

I would Loooove it if I could have multiple accounts with the same email address and be able to switch between them without having to log out - log in.

They recently added support for multiple accounts. Does that not work for you?

I suspect that with curated feeds like FB, the rest is moot...

1. Do NOT follow through with the curated feeds.

2. Being able to Repost withing having a separate app.

That's really all i got right now. Other than that, Instagram WAS the superior social media format for us photographers. But now that they're about to make this more like facebook, they're pretty much just gonna kill the app. :'(

I'd like to easily be able to see who unfollowed you as easily as who followed you. I hate the follow/unfollow game that many IGers play. I know there are 3rd party apps to do this, but I think if IG did it internally, it may stop some from upping their followers inorganically like that.

Not happy about the new curated feed. Would, however, like to see them do something like flickr, where a user can limit the number of photos from specific people to 5 or 1. Would also or alternately like to be able to hide feeds so I can just see the people I want in my feed but have a record of the people whose feeds I want/need to check out from time to time (i.e. the people who overpost, the friends you feel you have to follow even if you don't like what they post, etc.).

This is def a crazy idea, but I have spent a lot of time wondering what would happen if there was the option for you (the user) to be able to hide seeing how many followers someone ELSE has. For me, one of the biggest downsides of Insta/other social apps is how quickly it allows people to make quick judgements about how cool or great or follow-worthy someone else is. There's def social proof in seeing the # of someone's followers, and big numbers aren't a bad thing, but it can also be a huge downside.

I wonder what would happen if Insta would let users be able to look at pictures even more objectively (as in, "Do I actually like this?") instead of the immediate reflex most of us have of looking at how many thousands of followers someone has in order to help gauge how awesome their account is.

I wrote about it more a couple months ago, and seeing this post about Insta suggestion box made me think it was worth sharing. Here it is –

We all deal with comparison and it's really hard for most of us to avoid...who knows – maybe Insta would roll out this feature. It would be cool to see what might happen and how we could make and enjoy art with more freedom and less "I'm not good enoughs."

And here's a visual for what I mean:

Very interesting perspective and I agree that # of followers influences user's decision. I'd be intrigued to see how that would shake out.

Totally. I def get the business side and importance of numbers on Insta and FB and Snapchat, but I wonder how this could add some human-ness back into it all, you know? It'd be interesting to see who would want to use that feature and why. It could make for some great convos and could help add some real and honest "social" back into social media. Who knows?

What about a proper website usable on non cellular devices like laptops, tablets and PCs? I hate how I can't simply upload photos using my laptop and that I have to use my phone for this... :p

This might sound stupid (I am new to Instagram and not sure I am using it to its potential).

I would love to have an option on the main feed page to be for people I really like. I currently follow 154 people, and growing every day. However, there are probably 5 or 6 people in there that I REALLY want to see their stuff... whenever they post. I rarely do unless I go to the page of all the people I follow, then try to find those 6 people among the 150+, then select them. I wish when I followed someone I could mark them as a "favorite" and then have a toggle on the main feed to see all the people I follow, or just my favorites.

I believe there is an option in the settings where you can receive notifications whenever specific people make a post. Go to one of their posts, click on the right top corner for options (its a downwards arrow), and then select "Turn On Post Notifications"

Please UN-cripple Instagram for desktop/browser!

Most other apps are MORE powerful on the desktop than on the phone, but Instagram is the opposite.
We can't even get notifications when viewing Instagram in the browser.

When you post to Instagram and have it also share to Facebook, the image quality is HORRIBLE! Facebook is already bad, but it's better to just upload separately to Facebook. This is disappointing.


Nothing at all, keep it simple.

I don't use IG, but understand it's all about photos. If so, how come there are no photos to be viewed on their site?

1. Get rid of 'Likes'. It ads nothing, and almost removes the possibility in people communicating again.
2. Set a minimum amount of words for the comments, otherwise it'll continue to be 'all about nothing, empty words'.
3. Remove the mandatory square thumbnails; have the user set them to be either portrait or landscape.

I would like to see some type of watermarking for photos imported into Instagram vs. taken purely using the app.

And, if it's part of the metadata, this is something individual users could choose to see or hide in their settings when viewing these photos.

I would like for instagram to allow us to go live to a private group. It's set up now to where I can hide my lives from certain people, but I want to be able to go live to everyone or to a private group at times.

For one of the newer features of being able to post multiple pictures for one post and swipe through them, I want to be able to edit it so I can delete one of the pictures if I decide I no longer want it, but keep the rest of them.

I feel as though instagram should have a profile editing mode for people who are active posters like myself. This feature would allow us to select multiple photos at once to delete or to move to another account now that they have the "add an account" feature.

A search box in the followers section that brings up people by name

If Instagram could u add the feature of being able to reorder ur highlight slides within ur highlights? I know it's based on the time order u post to stories but for real estate it would be great so if we have a highlight on new listings or sold listings to reorder from from newest listing/sold listing to oldest instead of only being able to add the slide to the end of the highlight.

It would be nice to be able to block someone from seeing comments I know I have people who like to be noisy and wants to know what everybody has to say about my post.

We share more than one picture at a time on Instagram(multiple photos or videos), so you can edit them later, that is, bringing one in front of the other and adding or deleting a picture. these would be great.