Advance your social media skills and career


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Course Introduction

Take the Hootsuite Social Marketing course and develop foundational social marketing skills to grow followers, engagement, and business results.

Video Transcript | Intro

When choosing a photo to post to Instagram, having an engaging subject can have a powerful impact on engagement. In this video, we’ll look at a few best practices for choosing a subject for your Instagram photos. 


Animals are one of the most popular subjects on Instagram. People love animals, and it’s likely your followers do too. 

If your organization allows pets, and they fit with your content strategy, use them to your advantage. It’s an easy, and adorable way to drive engagement. 


Another high engagement subject on Instagram is food. Regardless of whether food is relevant to your business, it’s worth considering. Use the food filter on your phone, which was designed specifically for food photography. It creates a focus area on your screen. Then, you can pull or pinch the area to adjust the subject’s size on the screen. While food photography can be powerful when done well, when done poorly it can be off-putting. 


Photos of people also get high engagement. A Viewer’s attention is naturally drawn to images that have other people in them. So if you have an internal company culture you’re proud of, show it off, with light-hearted, fun content. 

Your followers will be interested to know what’s going on behind the scenes, and it can help humanize your brand. Make sure faces are visible, and always tap the primary subject to focus. 

Your photos should reflect the diversity and culture of your company. 

And remember to get peoples’ consent before posting their image on Instagram. 

Patterns and colors

Patterns and colors draw people’s attention. And if your feed is usually minimal and muted, adding the occasional pop of colored patterns can act as a thumb-stopper and stand out on your profile. However, too many colors or patterns can reduce the impact, so don’t overuse them in your feed.


A common way to accentuate the subject in a photo is to use a striking background. For example, shooting them against a bright or patterned wall will make your products or people stand out in your feed. 

Always remember tap on the subject before shooting, so it remains the primary focus of the image.

Looking for more? Check out our blog for 17 Instagram Marketing Tips You Can't Afford to Ignore.