How To: Instagram

Apple Tree of Knowledge – Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and a third, sometimes forgotten member, Ronald Wayne. After 12 days into forming the company, the third cofounder sold his 10% of the company for $800. That same percentage today would be worth well over $60 billion. Wow. 

Recently, my mom said “I need a class on Instagram”. Soon after, my fiancé was sending her screenshots with mark ups trying to explain how to search for a family member on Instagram. So I thought writing a little tutorial on the basics of Instagram may come in handy for those wanting to get started or for those who want to learn a little more.

Creating an Account

If you already created an account, you can skip to the next section.

First things first, download Instagram.

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After it is downloaded, open the Instagram app and click Sign Up With Phone or Email.

Next, it will ask for your phone number or email. Enter whichever you choose to use. Personally, like most accounts, I would use an email that you plan on keeping for a while.

The following screen will ask you for your name and a password.

Now, it will ask you if you want to Connect to Facebook.  This is totally up to you, but I find it extremely helpful connecting to Facebook if you are looking to find a lot of your friends on Instagram. Don’t worry though, if you do not connect to Facebook, I will show you how to search for people later. The next screen will ask you to do the same thing by searching your contacts. Again, totally up to you on this one.

Time to add some personalization to your profile and add a photo. Click Add a Photo and you can Choose from Library to pick your favorite selfie from your phone.

Now, you have an Instagram!

Changing Your Bio

Your profile picture and bio are important if you want people to know who you are. More than likely, depending on your name, there may be a couple of people in the world with the same name as you. So standing out, so that your friends can find you, is a good idea.

To change your profile picture, click on the bottom right of the screen and it will take you to your profile.


Then, near the top there will be a rectangle that says Edit Profile. Click that. Now, you will see text that says “Change Profile Picture”. Next, you can take a picture in real time or search through your library and pick your favorite selfie. Click Done and you are done!

To edit the rest of your biography, simply go through the fields below your profile picture and fill out whatever information you would like so it is easier for people to know it is you.

Posting a Picture or Video

Some people do not post much and simply hang out on Instagram to view other peoples pictures. If that is what you plan on doing, skip to the next section. But if you want to share your pictures with your friends, family and possibly the world, check this out.

To post a picture, you will see a + sign at the bottom middle of the home screen of Instagram, click that. Next it will open a screen where you can choose to upload a picture/video from your Library or take a picture/video in real time.

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Lets upload a picture that you have already taken.

After clicking the + sign, you can scroll to find a picture you want to post and tap on in and click Next in the top right.

Next you can find a filter that can be applied to the photo. A filter is a way to spice up your photo with a different look. After you find one you like, or none at all, click Next at the top right.

Now, write a caption telling your followers about your picture. This is not required but it will give your followers some background on the photo. If a friend is in the photo with you, click Tag People and search for who you want to tag and click Done. If you are at a specific location or want to tag the location that the picture was taken, tap Add Location and do a search for where you want to tag and tap Done.

You are almost done!

At the very bottom you will see where you can share this post to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. This is totally up to you if you want to share your pictures with these platforms.

Now, all you have to do is tap Share at the top right and you are sharing your photo with your followers!

Searching For People, Things and Places.

Instagram is pretty useless if you are not following anyone. Now that people can find you, it is time for you to find people. Whether it is a celebrity, a favorite company, a friend or family member start thinking of people you’d like to follow.

At the bottom of the app, you will see a magnifying glass. Click that.

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Now, at the very top, there is a long rectangle that says search. Click that.

From here, you will see a tab for Top. This is where Instagram will suggest top people for you to follow.

Where I find a lot of value is under the People and Tags. If you click People, and start typing, this is where you can search for, you guessed it, people!

Tags refers to hashtags. A hashtag is the number symbol #. This is a way to categorize topics throughout Instagram. So, if I want to view pictures of the Apple Watch, go to Tags and search for Apple Watch. At that point you will see a bunch of results relating to Apple Watch. I usually click the one that is mostly what I am looking for. So, in this case, I will click #applewatch.


The great thing about tags is that you can search for anything and more than likely, someone posted a picture about that topic. It is a fun way to discover cool photos.

The Places tab, I don’t use very often but YOU should. If you want to see what is going on around your hometown, you can search for that location. If you want to see pictures from halfway around the world, you can do that too. It is a way to check out places that you wish you could be at or have always wanted to visit.


If you are a fan or frequent user of Snapchat, you are probably familiar with stories. Stories are photos or videos that expire in 24 hours. This is a really neat way to share with your followers what you are getting into throughout the day.

To post to your Story, on the home screen of Instagram you will see a row of circles with your profile picture first with a little blue + button. Tap that. Next, you can take a picture by pressing the big white circle or take a video by pressing and holding on that same white circle.


I won’t go into all of the different effects, but below the white circle, you will see Normal is selected. If you swipe left or right on that, you can experiment with the different effects. Boomerang is my top used one.

After you are satisfied with the picture or video you want, you can further edit the post. At the very top of the screen you will see a square with a folded corner with a smiley face inside it. Tap that. Here, you can choose different “tags” to post on the picture. I usually use the location one so that people in the same area can view it or so my followers can see where I am. After you click on a tag, use your finger to move it where you want on the screen. To resize it, you can pinch in and out.

You may also simply write something over top of the picture. Tap anywhere on the picture and start typing. Like the tag, you can place this text anywhere.

If you are satisfied with your final product, you can tap Save at the bottom left to save that photo to your phone. Remember, you can only save this picture within 24 hours of posting it. To go ahead and post it to your story, tap Your Story. Now this will show up on all of your followers stories to view.

To view your friends stories, find that row of friends near the top of your Instagram home screen and you can simply tap through everyone’s stories. To stop viewing the stories, click the X at the top right.

Going Live

I have only went Live once but it is a fairly simple concept. Going live means you are broadcasting a video for your followers to watch in real time. So if you are at a concert or a sporting event, you can show your followers exactly what you are seeing. To go live follow what I said about posting a story but instead of taking a picture of video, swipe right until you see Live under the white circle.

Tap Start Live Video. Say HI! You are now live broadcasting to your followers. People may comment while you are live so feel free to chat with them. When you are done, tap End at the top right. Next, it will ask you if you want to share your live video for the next 24 hours. If you want to, tap Share. If you do not, click the blue slider switch and tap Discard.

Liking and Commenting on Pictures

Now that you are following some people, you can start interacting with them. If you like someones picture, you can “like” it by simply double tapping on the photo. You will see a white heart appear over the picture and it will also be marked by a red heart underneath that photo. You may also tap that white heart to turn it red indicating you liked the picture.

If you want to say something about the picture, click the bubble to the right of the heart. This will take you to a screen showing other comments and it gives you the ability to comment as well.


Other than texting and iMessage, messaging on Instagram is where a lot of my friends and family communicate. This mainly stems from me or them seeing a photo/video that we want to share and sharing it with them.

To share a photo, tap the arrow button that kind of looks like a paper airplane.

Next, it will pop up with your followers. Search by name and select who you want to send it to and tap Send.

Now, at the top right of your home screen, you will see that same paper airplane. Tap that. This will take you to your messages. You will see that picture that you just sent to a friend.

To begin a new message, tap the + sign at the top right and search for who you want to communicate with. If you have read this far, send me a message @donnieharkcom to let me know that this guide is working for you. Now, click Next at the top right and you can now start typing out a message. Within a message you can click the camera icon to the left of the text box to take a photo and send it. You may also send a photo from your photo gallery by click the icon that has a mountain on it, to the right of the text box.


As with all social media platforms, notifications are probably one of the most important features. Instagram will notify you when someone likes or comments on your photo, a new person follows you, someone replies to your comment on a photo and when someone tags you in a photo. If you have ever used Facebook, you will notice that you get a lot of the same type of notifications.

To view those notifications, on your Instagram home screen, tap the heart to the right of the plus sign.

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Here, you will see a list of people that liked your photo or left comments on it or if you have any new followers.


Did you learn anything? Well, I hope so. There are so many more details that I could get into but I think these basics will get you started on Instagram.

Remember, have fun and go find some cool people to follow!

If you found this useful, please share with those who could use it.

Please comment, tweet (or Instagram message me) or email me at with any questions you may have.

Thank you for stopping by!


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