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How to get photos from your digital camera to Instagram in 3 easy steps

Alex Castle | July 29, 2014
The best photos on Instagram weren't taken with a smartphone. Make your account stand out by learning how to get photos from your DSLR or point-and-shoot onto Instagram in no time.


Instagram may be designed for smartphones, but you've probably noticed that the best photos have a distinctly non-camera-phone vibe to them. Savvy Instagrammers post high-quality DSLR or point-and-shoot photos instead. You can create a high-quality Instagram feed, too, with a little help from Dropbox and your iOS or Android device.

Step One: Transfer and pre-process your images

The goal is to get the photo off your camera and onto a phone or mobile device with the Instagram app installed. The first step starts with your camera. 

Importing your photos

Transferring your photos to your computer only adds an extra minute or two, and has the added benefit of letting you use your computer to back up and organize your photos. 

You can transfer your photographs from your camera to your PC with a card reader, or by connecting your camera directly to your computer. Copying the images into a folder is the quick-and-dirty way, but photo organizing software like Google's Picasa will make it easier to locate your images quickly. 

If you're shooting RAW files with a DSLR, you should be using a more full-featured photo organizer like Adobe Lightroom.

Editing and cropping

You can edit photos on your computer before you post them to Instagram. If you don't have a copy of Adobe Photoshop, you can use a number of free tools like Pixlr, Adobe Photoshop Express or GIMP.

Remember that images posted on Instagram are square. When cropping, set the editor to select an area with a 1:1 ratio.

While you can crop and resize in the Instagram app, you'll probably get better results on your computer. 

If you're transferring a lot of photos, you can save storage space on your device by proactively resizing your images to 640x640 pixels--Instagram's native size.

Step Two: Move your photos to your mobile device via Dropbox

The next step is to move the photos to a cloud service, which has the additional benefit of providing an off-site backup. We're going to use Dropbox for this example, but any cloud storage account with a mobile app will do. 

Set up Dropbox to receive your photos

On your computer, go to your Dropbox folder and create a new folder called "Instagram Photos." Copy the desired photos into this folder.

When you open the app, you should see everything you've stored in your Dropbox folder, including your new directory of Instagram photos.

Unlike the desktop application, the mobile Dropbox app doesn't automatically download files to your mobile device. Instead, it just allows you to view all the files you've stored in Dropbox.


If you're using iOS, you'll have to download the photos to use them with Instagram.


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