How to Grow Your Instagram Following + Increase Engagement

Are you ready to take your Instagram game to the next level? Do you wish you could grow your Instagram following, but you don’t know where to start? Do you have a big following, but little engagement? We’ve rounded up some of the world’s most followed wedding photographers to pick their brains about how they’ve been so successful at building engaged followings, and we’re excited to share that insight with you today!

Erich McVey // @erichmcvey // 71.5K Followers

Jane & John _ Big Sur, CA

“When I first joined Instagram, I’d post images that I thought a wedding photographer was supposed to post. Things that blended in with the general industry trends. I soon realized that my Instagram following grew more rapidly when I stopped trying to conform to industry standards and instead remained true to my own style and brand. I believe this helped me to stand out among the waves of other talented photographers out there and attracted an audience of engaged followers who know me for my work and see value in what I have to offer.”

Anastasiya _ Frascati, Italy

Carli Rene // @inkedfingers // 192K Followers


“I watched a podcast years ago by Chase Jarvis featuring the cellist Zoe Keating. She had a million followers on Twitter even back then. The advice she gave I took to heart: just be you. Many IG-ers post only their work, or some only their personal lives, but since Johnny and I work from home so we can raise our 2 yr old daughter, there is no division. Creativity is our lives and how we’re raising Emiliana!

I whole-heartedly try to live by (as difficult as it is sometimes) “a rising tide raises all ships.” Over the last 4 years I’ve been on Instagram (I downloaded the app within weeks of it premiering, by accident) I’ve made some incredible connections, of people I’ve met in real life + those that have changed my life! I choose to follow those that push my boundaries and try to comment/like on a lot of the people that comment/like on my feed as often as I can. For me, Instagram has become a community. We’re all just trying to connect, trying to find something in common with another and it’s through photos (and short captions). Breaking the language barrier with a photograph, I’m not sure connecting could be any easier!”


Jonas Peterson // @jonaspeterson // 32.5K Followers

Photo by Jonas Peterson

“In many ways I’m not a great example of what to do if you want to build an audience on Instagram, I follow very few of the rules you should follow and yet I have managed to build an audience slowly over time. I know you should post consistently, edit your images similarly, keep your subject matter consistent etc, etc. I do none of this and still people find me. For me it goes hand in hand with the rest of my work, I don’t shoot for likes, for the approval of others, I produce and share work that reflects who I am and I don’t really worry about how it’s perceived. At the end of the day, my Instagram is true to who I am and not a manicured version of how I want to be seen. Follow your heart and the rest will follow.

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Rich Lander // @chardphoto // 29.1K Followers


BE CONSISTENT! I think it’s super important to be consistent about how often you post. I have been posting 2-3 images per day on Instagram for the last 3 years and have lately been receiving comments from followers about how they look forward to my post in the morning and in the evening. Even took a couple of days off because I was out of the country and one of my photographer friends emailed me to make sure I was ok because I hadn’t posted, haha. I think it’s fun to show off what we’re working on and what we’re doing. Sharing every day lets people in on all of that!”


Gabe McClintock // @gabemcclintock // 30K Followers


“for me @Instagram has been an amazing way to share my work, both my personal work (such as my life as a father and a husband) as well as my professional work such as weddings, connection, and boudoir. over the last year i have grown my IG following from around 3000 followers to almost 30,000 by sharing work consistently and utilizing key hashtags in order to expand my reach. also working with and sharing my work on other IG accounts (such as @leica_camera , @wedphotoinspiration , @junebugweddings , @lookslikefilm , #thevisualscollective , #greatnorthcollective and other amazing feeds) has helped incredibly to expand my reach and allow my images to be seen by an even wider audience. along with that i have been using @iconosquare for while now is as it allows me to see my followings interaction on my feed, so i know when the best times during the day as well as what day of the week to post.

but in the end, I truly feel that by posting consistent work that you are proud of and that is a true representation of who you are as an artist and a person will attract people to your feed. and remember it’s not an overnight thing, it will take time. be patience and have fun with it.”

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Jose Villa // @josevilla // 279K Followers

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“I think my following grew based on a few things… first, we are lucky as photographers to have Instagram as a platform to showcase our best work. I see Instagram now as a portfolio and only showcase what type of work I want in return. Since doing this and following this formula, I’m much happier with the clients I’m getting and with the gorgeous work that myself and the creative team I work with are creating.

The numbers grew as I started to show more decor shots and locations, tagging everyone who made the wedding happen. We have to remember as photographers that we could not do this all by ourselves and that we rely on amazing creative folks to make everything so darn pretty. It’s our jobs as photographers to “@” everyone involved, to give credit where credit is due… as soon as I started to do this, all that were involved would re-post or re-gram and my images were everywhere… adding followers by the day.”

Nazar Melconian // @nazfilms // 37.5K Followers

naz films instagram junebug weddings

“For me, Instagram initially provided a personal creative outlet where I could let people know something more about me than just my work. I look to post moments both in-between my working, and my personal life. For me, it’s a journal and an artistic feed of what interests me as an artist.

As far as tips go, all I can say is to try to give your audience some context as to who you are! In your own way, express yourself in such a way that even the most mundane photo they still get a glimpse of who you really are!

People developing real connections with each other over this platform in particular seems to be what sets Instagram from most other social platforms. A good sense of community is a huge part of Instagram, and frankly I feel is also a key to achieving anything greater than ourselves. I have literally met-up with countless awesome people from all over the world because of this app. Building on that is key to your engagement. Make friends, and have fun! The world has so many talented and interesting people!”

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If you aren’t following each and every single one of these Instagram accounts, you need to do so immediately! Thank you to Naz Films, Inked Fingers, Jonas Peterson, Jose Villa, Rich Chard, Erich Mcvey, and Gabe McClintock for not only being mega talented but also for sharing your journey to success with us. Also, if you’re not yet following @photobugcommunity, please give us a follow now to stay up-to-date on all things Photobug!

(4) comments

  1. I would like to contribute to the list above with my Instagram account, as I hope I can inspire you with my wedding photos. Enjoy and if you like my vision of a wedding day, please follow 😉 – Martin Kup, wedding photographer

    xoxo Martin

  2. Great article – and great tips! Thanks for sharing these talented artists!

  3. Sam

    So true, stay who you are, be a person among people, not only a person among likes!
    Thanks Junebug for this article, very useful!!!

  4. Ariel

    Very informative!
    When it comes to growing your IG, I think a great app would help. I do use the app PLANN and it’s awesome! I just suddenly noticed that my following grows.

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