Skill Level Intermediate
- Hi, I'm Sean Duggan. In the photo sharing and social media landscape that we live in today, it's really hard to imagine posting our images or sharing them without having a few hashtags to accompany the photo. Now if you're new to the world of hashtagging, you might not even know what a hashtag is or why you should care about it or what difference it can make to help improve your photography and your photo sharing. So the first thing is what is a hashtag? Well, it's just a simple search term. Think of it as a search term that will help other people find your images.
It's a word or a string of words with no spaces with the hashtag or the pound symbol right before them and that is the way that people can enter that into a search field in Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and find other photos that are tagged with that same term. So if you're posting your images and you're not using hashtags, then your photos are only going to be seen by the people who are actively following you. Everybody else out there is not going to see your images, but once you start adding hashtags, it makes your photographs more discoverable by the outside world.
It opens up a door to the wider world so that they can come in and see your photographs. So in terms of what sort of hashtags you might use for your images, just think of basic things such as the location where the picture was shot, maybe if there was a special event you were photographing or subject matter in the shot that you think other people might be interested in. So for instance, I've been wandering around Solvang, California today, taking lots of pictures. This is a town that has a strong Danish influence so there's a lot of Danish-themed architecture in town.
There's windmills, there's courtyards, a lot of really cool places and corners and so I would be tagging the photos today from Solvang with Solvang, California, windmills, Danish, something like that. So this weekend, there's the big annual Danish Days Festival happening in town. I'm going to be taking pictures there so I'm going to be tagging those photos with Danish Days and that way, anybody who's searching for pictures of Danish Days and Solvang, California this year are going to see my photos along with all the other photos that people are posting and of course tagging with that hashtag.
So really, it's all about whatever you're interested in, whatever you think is interesting in the photo that you want other people to discover. That's how you want to use hashtags. Now, another way that people use hashtags is to add an additional content or commentary to the image. Sometimes it's a humorous comment about the image. So for instance, I've seen pictures where people have been on vacation in some beautiful tropical place and they're posting all these pictures saying how wonderful it is and they'll hashtag it with something like #sendmythingsimnotcomingback or #imsomovinghere so it's really whatever you want to do.
You can get really creative with hashtags. They don't necessarily have to be things that pertain to the content of the image. It might be suggesting the way you feel about a place or the way you felt when you were there. Now, another way that you can use hashtags on Instagram is that there are accounts called photo hubs and these are accounts that post images by other people usually based around a central theme or genre or photography such as landscape photography or street photography or animal photography, whatever. And so you can find out what hashtag they want you to use to get your photos noticed by them.
They'll do a search for those hashtags and choose images to feature in their feed. So if one of your images is featured in a popular imaging hub, it could bring a lot of new engagement to your photography. You'll pick up some likes and hopefully pick up a lot of new followers as well. So the cool thing about hashtags is it's going to make your photography visible to a much wider audience as well as help you increase your enjoyment in your photo sharing.