Instagram is something of a Rubik’s cube. Even if you’ve been using the app for years and have all the basic functions down, it can be difficult to decipher. Why, for example, didn’t that super hilarious cat post you just shared do so hot? You had #hashtags to boot! And a simple picture of a cookie that your friend JUST posted now has 35 likes.

You’ve scrolled through other accounts with more “successful” feeds, right? Trying to unlock the secrets of their universe. Asking questions like, “How are they getting SO many followers from an inanimate object while my own (insanely cute) cats get the shaft?” All the while wondering if their captions are more clever or if their photos are more intriguing.


Believe it or not, it’s NOT because everyone happened to be hungry at the time the cookie post hit (although who doesn’t like a good cookie)? And it’s not because they’re more clever or have more intriguing subject matter, either, because intrigue is subjective.

Without taking Brit + Co’s Get Started on Instagram online class ($29), I would probably still be pondering this great mystery, but now that I have, I can confidently say that I have a pretty good idea why my friends are getting the Insta’ love I’m lacking. In short? They’re working at it. Where I’m simply grabbing moments in time and slapping them up as they happen (sans the occasional filter to mask tired eyes), others are carefully crafting not only their photos but an entire BRAND in the process of posting.


Led by Irene Kim Shepard (the Associate Manager of Visual Content and in-house photographer at Chronicle Books, who, by the way, happens to have 56.4K followers of her own), the 33-minute class opens your eyes to the ways masters of the ‘gram are making their pages pretty, getting them seen and even how to go about taking your new world offline and into (gasp!) real-life in five easy steps.

1. Do a self-assessment. As Irene will tell you, having a good Instagram is kind of like telling a good story: You have to set the right tone. That means ceasing to think about your page as a series of individual posts, but rather as one connected page. At most, you’ve got about two swipes to make an impression when someone visits your account, and you want to make sure it’s a good one.

2. Work at your photos. Believe it or not, those amazing shots you see on the accounts you admire mostly don’t happen by happy accident: In fact, it’s not even Mayfair (which just so happens to be my favorite filter). Irene walks you through some of the basic skill sets you’ll need to up your photo game, beginning with the photo’s inception itself.

3. Perfect your shots. Okay, so you’ve taken what you think is a pretty decent pic — up it goes, right? Not so fast. To be a true Instagram whiz, you’ll need to become proficient at the skill of editing, making things look as great as they possibly can BEFORE you send them out into the world. Luckily, Irene has several tricks and tips that make learning this skill set a whole lot easier.

4. Get your post seen by the right people. What good is posting a photo to a social media site if no one’s going to see it? There’s a right way and a wrong way to get desired eyes on your post, and this class aims to make sure you’re always on the positive side of the coin. After all, the more views you’re getting, the more opportunities for likes and, of course, follows.

5. Interact with your followers. Though this one might seem intuitive, trust me when I say, there’s an art to it, and Irene has perfected it. You can accomplish a lot more than you think with a simple like or comment as long as you’re doing it effectively. Work smarter, not harder.

Get even more details on how to instantly up your Insta’ game by taking Irene’s Get Started on Instagram class today! And don’t forget to share your photos with us! Tag @BritandCo and we’ll regram our favorites!