Instagram for Artists: Sharing the Creative Moments (smartly)

(A few of my recent IG posts)

I am beginning to feel as though there is more creativity in the world than ever before – and more collective rejoicing over this fact.  Literally, at your fingertips, there are miles and miles of beautiful images and thoughtful words, just ready to spark a bit of precious inspiration.  Connecting with your audience has never been easier, and the tools we have available are becoming more pro and more valuable every day.  But how can social media enable you as an artist?  I mean, really, really enable you…  I’m going to be sharing a few tips on these tools over the next few weeks, starting with my favorite: INSTAGRAM!

 Instagram has created a network of people who are so excited to share in each other’s creative & beautiful moments.  It is such an incredibly valuable for artists to be using smartly!

Instagram is becoming the mini-blogging platform of choice; and that totally makes sense!  You are able to share a few of your thoughts and perspectives on life, bits of beauty from your day, and exciting projects in the works.  It is such a great way to directly engage with your current followers and to meet a whole new group of people!

Personally, I love to use IG to involve my audience in my creative process and to introduce them to new work.  It is such a genuine way for me show work-in-progress as well as final pieces of art.  Everything is very in-the-moment and I am able to couple images with fresh thoughts and ideas, giving my followers access to my studio, philosophy, and lifestyle, regardless of geography or time constraints. 

And, the best part: my followers can engage with me instantly, giving highly-valuable feedback, inspiration, new ideas, critiques, and encouragement.

A few tips for artists using IG:

– Have a Goal:  What is your focus with Instagram?  To share your work with buyers? Meet gallery and shop owners?  Follow other artists and people in your creative field?  Sell you artwork (and yes, that is totally a legit thing), give your followers a glimpse of the “real” you…?  Figure this out and taylor your posts accordingly.

– Post often: 1-3 photos daily

– You IG feed is a tiny-view of your brand, get to know your aesthetic & niche and stick with it.  My personal rule of thumb is 1 out of 6 photos can be “off brand” (meaning, they can be about something other than art or creativity).

– Make it a beauty! while other things may happen in your day that are interesting or funny, be  sure to share the most beautiful and intriguing shot.  Remember, this is your mini-brand.  Always try to showcase your aesthetic.

– Tell your story consistently.  Every post is a chance to share a few sentences about your day, philosophy, ideas, thoughts…  make it count!

– Share behind-the-scenes: allow your followers (and customers/collectors) to see the real process, your workspace, and even failed attempts.  They want to feel as though they are visiting your studio.

– Hashtag smartly: Use themes such as “#EmilyJeffordsArt” or “StudioScenes.”  Tags like this allow your followers to get a glimpse of all your artwork at once.  Using hashtags like #Art #Painting #Artist… can allow you to connect with other art lovers from around the world.  However, limit the hashtags you use.

Honest Photography:  As an artist, show your artwork honestly.  Avoid filters over your art.  Let your pieces shine on their own! Use apps like Afterlight and VSCO to adjust the balance in your photos, making them as lovely and true-to-life as possible.

– Network & Grow: Use IG as a tool.  Nearly every creative person you can think of is on Instagram so get to know them!  Engage with them and be generous with kind words.  You’ll be amazed at the doors it can open.
Collaborations, sales, and press opportunities have be opened up to me almost weekly, just because of Instagram.  I really encourage you to tap into it and watch your creative business grow!

There is a wealth of inspiration to be found in the scrolling feed of Instagram.  I can’t wait to hear more on this topic from Susan Peterson of Freshly Picked this weekend at the Makers Summit!  Susan is a total IG pro so I’ll be sure to share any new tips I learn next week!

What tips of the trade to you have? Do you have any IG pet peeves?  How do you chose to use this tool?  I would love to learn from you and would really enjoy hearing your thoughts on this tool [aka, addiction of mine].  ; )

Follow my studio happenings at @Emily_Jeffords 

Emily Jeffords

Most days you can find me, in the studio with my little girls, speckled in oil paint (drinking too much coffee), creating artwork for collectors around the world and collaborating with select brands. Check out my artwork on


  • These are such great tips! I really enjoy following your art process on Instagram and, as a budding painter myself, was intrigued by your rule of only 1/6 posts being “off-brand.” I’m definitely going to give this a try!


  • Thank you so much for posting this. I am relatively new to Instagram and am still feeling my way around it. Your blog is beautiful – very inspiring. I will visit regularly, Blessing – Cassie


  • Great advice – I’ve just started getting a hang of the platform. It really is fun to see the beautiful moments of fellow creative’s day! Thanks for the wonderful post – just followed you on IG – your photos are STUNNING!


  • Hi Emily, I’ve just come across your site amazingly through a pinterest pin of someone I follow and I am so thrilled. I am obsessed with clouds, pretty much every time I get in the car my family will attest that I say “WOW, look at that cloud, isn’t that amazing:”. I have never been able to clearly explain what they do to me, but they move me greatly. For a while I’ve been trying to locate someone who captured the feeling that these clouds evoke in me, and I stumbled across you. I would love to order a custom work, but I imagine postage to Australia would be prohibitive for me on a canvas. I am looking at your prints and taking my time to see which speaks to me the most, so I can order a large one for the end of our bed. I do love the picture you’re working on in the collection above, the bottom left corner, with lots of greys, can you tell me about that one?


  • super helpful and something I’ve been searching for from a fellow artist. I feel like I know these principles, but to see them confirmed and written out from someone who has had success with them is very encouraging. Thank you for writing this!


    • It’s my pleasure! Of course, every rule is meant to be broken – but I hope these IG ideas inspire you! Instagram is a really fun and helpful place!


  • I haven’t tried instagram yet, I always hesitate to use technology as I’m sure it does not like me and I have more failures than success, but I wont give up. I will definetly look into it, I do already have the app Thanks for your tips and for making it sound appealing enough for me to take a look : )


  • Reblogged this on Whimsical Art & Geekery and commented:
    This is a really impressive, yet to the point collection of tips! I love Instagram, and my use of it has evolved over the past few years.

    I know I will be using this as a guide to help bring my followers better photos and more interesting interactions!


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