How to grow your Instagram in 2019

Here’s 4 bullet-proof, timeless pointers to grow your Instagram this year.
How to grow your Instagram in 2019 - Pat Kay

“How do I grow my Instagram?”

…a question I get probably too much. I’m going to be upfront here – I’m writing this article for my own selfish benefit.

It’s a piece that, rather than spend the time repetitively composing a response (and oh boy, it’d be up to many hours by now), I can just link to for tomorrow when the next person asks me how they can grow their Instagram.

And look, I’m not going to judge you, or scold you, or tell you that perhaps you’re pursuing things for the wrong reasons, or that numbers don’t matter, none of that stuff.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a grown-ass adult, and you can make your own grown-ass decisions. It’s your life, after all.

But if this is a decision you want to make, let’s just get this out of the way first and foremost:

It’s never been more difficult to grow on Instagram in 2019.

Well, you could actually repeat that sentence every year for at least the past few years now, and I’m sure most of my friends would agree with me.


It’s tough. It’s a hell of a long road. It’s a butt-ton of work. But it can be done. Even as a pure photographer.

Even in 2019, not much has changed

But lucky for you, not much has changed over the last 5 years. There are still core concepts that reign supreme even after all this time.

Here’s some things to consider:

Now, if you don’t believe in any one of those three things, then you’re probably either a romantic when it comes to the intersection of art and commerce, or you probably don’t really care about growth, and that’s okay too. More power to you. This article isn’t for you.

For everyone else though, here are the core principles for how to grow your Instagram.

It’s hard work, but it can be done.

Seriously though, this combination of posting frequent high quality content and leaving frequent high quality interactions is the recipe for how to grow on Instagram.

What you don’t see behind your favourite influencers’ account is the thousands of hours they pour into creating it. Growing your Instagram is hard, man.

But hey, you already knew that, right? If you’re reading this then I’m sure you already think that it’s worth it in the end, and maybe it is.

Good luck.

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11 comments Leave a comment

  • Phyllis Levine says:

    Very inciteful piece. What resonated the most for me was the importance of creating captions that give a follower a sense of who you are and presenting the “why” of your selected image. Like the color palette, for example. Another challenge I find is numerous people snatch images I have posted (sometimes as many as twenty) for their feed without giving the photographer their credit not to mention Giving me a shout out. It does take tons of time to find what I feel is post-worthy. I find that behavior irreverent as I always credit a photo unless none exists. I then post no 📷 id.

  • Vanessa says:

    Great article. Clearly I have much to work on to grow more on Instagram. Especially engagement, and being social on the “social platform”. But also as a “photographer”. Would be great if you could share some on improving skills, specifically on what to improve.

  • @kev.adriel says:

    Hey great article! How would you go about branding when you’re still trying to figure out your photography/editing style? I got into film photography earlier this year and so I’m hoping people come along for the ride 😅

    • Pat Kay says:

      Personally I’d say that branding and style are different things, even though one can inform the other.

      It’s a whole article on its own, but the best place to start would really be refining the overall message or story you’re trying to tell with your work, then wrapping everything around that.

  • Christopher Youn says:

    First and foremost, thanks for making this post! I’m sure this doesn’t only apply to photographers but why do you suppose it’s often the question of “how to grow my Instagram?” rather than “how to grow as a photographer?”, though I think the answer is more or less obvious.

    Love your work as usual, excited to see what the future brings, Pat!

    • Pat Kay says:

      That’s a great question with a multitude of obvious answers 😂, but it’s great you’re questioning the right things.

      Appreciate the support mate!

  • @robmulally says:

    Solid Tips!, I’m not hitting a lot of the core points and it shows.

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