The instagram Hack Every Photographer Needs To Know


Nicole Hill


So, who has spent a LOT of time during their photography business freaking out about their Instagram?

You know the feeling — when your finger is hovering over the post button, wondering if the shot you’re about to share is, well, good enough. You can’t get out of your head, because what if this post doesn’t get enough likes? What if people don’t think it’s any good? What if your “competition” judges you for it?

Here’s what we call that, friends: we call it perfection paralysis.

And it’s a killer of creativity and of growth and of magic. I promise.

So often, we loooooove to put way too much thought into things that just don’t matter — and the hyper specific obsession over every detail of the images we share on Instagram? That’s one of ‘em.

By being afraid to share those images you’re so proud of (or by being afraid to be proud of them in the first place), you’re destroying your own power and selling yourself short — and that’s the worst thing you can do for yourself. The worst.

The best thing you can do for yourself, though? Realize that the world needs what you got, my friend. The world needs what you got — and it needs it really, really badly. Instead of selling yourself short and spinning around in a constant panic about what everyone else wants, make it your job to be unashamedly and unapologetically you.

You see, the world needs your magic. It needs your uniqueness. It needs you.

And, these days, that all starts with letting go of that perfection paralysis that so many of us hold so close. It starts with being courageous and strong enough to embrace the magical little spirit you have, and then to share it with the world.

Why showing up as you are matters so much more than you think

There are a few big mistakes I see a lot of photographers making on Instagram — and all of them fall under that umbrella of perfection paralysis. When we spend too much time searching for so-called perfection, we miss out on so much — on valuable connection, on magical images that stuck out to us from the beginning, and on those moments that make our hearts beat a little faster each time we see them.

It’s simple, really: your job on Instagram (and in life) is to be you. It’s to embrace your uniqueness, whether that’s through your client work or through the way you speak. It’s to take photos you’re proud of. It’s to ignore what you think the worlds telling you you need, and instead focus on what you truly need.

That’s power, friend. That’s magic.

Power and magic don’t hang out in the same room as perfection paralysis. They just don’t. Power and magic thrive when you let go of the standards you’ve put on yourself, and when you decide to genuinely remember that there’s nothing more important than being you, producing killer content you’re proud of, and being brave enough to share it. That’s it.

Why Being You is the Biggest Social Media Hack You Have

Instagram can be a massive growth factor in your business, or it can be a massive stress factor in your business. The best way to strike the balance? By showing up the right way… like, by *actually* showing up. Why? Because you owe it to yourself.

1. You do you, boo. 

Instagram (and social media as a whole) can mess with your mind bigggg time sometimes. After all, you see the same thing over and over — and, a lot of the time, it seems like it’s working for those people.

Here’s your job: don’t copy what everyone else is doing. Don’t just buy a preset and do what every other portrait photographer is doing. Don’t spend your time recreating poses you think you need to do to fit in if they don’t feel right for you. Find what makes you you, embrace it, and be proud.

Here’s the thing: originality matters. Creativity sings. Your magic sparkles and makes a difference. When you’re proud of that spark you have, and when you let it dance like it should, people will notice — and they will embrace it, too.

2. Jump outside of your comfort zone.

The whole idea of perfection paralysis also lies hand in hand with comfort sometimes, huh? After all, you know what you’re comfortable with — so you tend to continue creating comfortable content. And that’s fine… to a certain point.

But then, you owe it to yourself to take leaps and jumps and skips right on outta that comfort zone of yours. When you take risks (and then learn from them!), you’re able to push boundaries that you might have never even thought existed — and that, my friend? That matters. That spurs growth.

3. Be consistently excellent.

While there are a lot of problems I see with Instagram (even though I definitely love it), there’s one I see the most: forgetting that content matters first.

Essentially, it’s really easy to forget priorities on Instagram. It’s really easy to get swept up in follower counts and like numbers and saves and shares and everything in between — but that’s not what matters. What matters are the photos you take, the emotions they capture, and the beauty that exists in between them. That’s what matters.

When you turn your head to the algorithm and spend a heck of a lot less time focusing on ideal post times (hint: there isn’t one), you can focus on being the consistently excellent photographer you are… which pays off a lot more.

4. Keep growing, evolving, and learning.

If you took some time today to scroll back to the verrrrrry beginning of your Instagram grid, you’d probably see some work that shows you something really, really important: your growth. Your early photography days might seem embarrassing to you now, but they shouldn’t be — they should remind you how freakin’ cool evolution and learning are in your journey.

Your job? To take those learnings and then remind yourself that your mission as a photographer isn’t to spend your time impressing everyone else. Your mission is to grow, evolve, and learn to become the very best at what you do… no matter how many likes you’re getting on Instagram.

That’s the mission that matters.

In The Horizon Found Community, our purpose is to help every badass female photographer we know to find a group of friends that follow along and support them — and a big part of that comes with being vulnerable about what you’re struggling with. So, I want you to hop in and share your biggest Instagram struggle. What’s keeping you from posting? What’s pushing you to cling to the idea of perfection? Shoot me a DM or post it in our Community Group, let’s tackle into it together.

Psst… I am working on something reaaaaally special when it comes to social media and The Photographer’s Path (my photography course). Trust me, you’re going to want in. Join the waitlist here.


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meet the photographer


I've spent the last decade of my life traveling the world as a fashion photographer and I created Horizon Found to give you everything I wish I had when I was starting my career. Here you'll find community, inspiration, and education - to help guide you down the path towards building the photography business of your dreams. My dream is to use this platform to help build a supportive environment in the photography industry.


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The Photographer's Path is currently closed.
Get on the waitlist to get early access and special bonuses not offered anywhere else!

The Photographer's Path is currently closed. Get on the waitlist to get early access and special bonuses not offered anywhere else!