Olga Levien
New Zealand Artist | Mentor | Mum

Olga Levien wedding | documentary family photographers Blog

Personal projects and documentary-lifestyle photographs taken by Olga Levien photography artist - wedding and family photographer in Auckland, New Zealand and international.

How to be featured on Instagram Hub and manage your portfolio {Photography education | online tutorials for photographers}

We all know if you want your pictures been seen by many people on Instagram you need to use relevant hashtags, some of them names of different IG hubs.

What is a HUB?

"Hubs are accounts on Instagram that share others content. Their main objective is to help promote photographers and photography enthusiasts and inspire those who enjoy beautiful imagery. Often these hubs consists of a small group of people who take time out of their day to find content to share."


So if you want people seen your work make your images being noticeable and been shared in these hubs.

I recently got asked by Ardelle Neubert @ardelleneubert to look after "The Mindful Approach hub" for a few days { #themindfulapproach @the_mindful_approach }. {I took the first run of this amazing workshop and highly recommend it.} The other day I also been a guest moderator for the_camera_clique hub. Something what looked so exciting actually appeared as not so easy job to do. You are looking through hundreds of beautiful and emotional photos every day, picking some, trying to post few times per day {in between of your other duties}. When I looking at this process for a few days I thought there is some pattern and come up with some tips/advice what I happy to share with you. 

By the way my pictures been featured in different hubs as well and sometimes I had no idea why they picked one image over the other {but now I have some ideas what I happy to share from the other side of Instagram }

Here we go!


Your picture need to be outstanding.

How simple is that? and how complicated at the same moment.  There definitely a certain elements/points what have influence on hub moderators {to stop when scrolling through lots of images}. What the factors making your image stood out?

1. Composition.

Clear composition, leading lines, framing, reflections, negative space, prominent shapes and figures and many more. {I tend to pick image for great use of all elements of the frame with strong composition}

2. Light

Of course! Your use of light can be the winner. Light is a big part of the picture perfect. Back light, side light, direct light, pocket of light, dappled light, sun flairs, burst etc. Perfect play with light and shade. Light can be a hero in your image.

3. Moment. Emotions. Story.

I put these three elements together as they connect with each other. The moment need to be strong, we can see clear and simple story in the frame, we can see connection with viewer or between subjects in your story, we can tell exactly what they are doing and what the story behind the picture.

4. Mood, atmosphere

Sometimes picture made you stop and take your breath away just because its have a strong mood, atmosphere, you can FEEL it, picture speaks to you, to your heart and you can't pass it by.

5. Colour

Colours in the picture often grab attention and make it outstanding in the row with other images {i noticed clear colours are prominent and work good for this purpose: blue, red, yellow, green etc.}. Editing colours add to the mood/picture atmosphere and playing a big role in the ability to be seen and be featured.

BW {black and white} 

Black and white images can be a game changer. Sometimes I been looking for black and white image to add to the hub and separate few other colour images especially with different colour tones. Truly it was not an easy task to do. Lots of BW images under hashtag have a great potential, but sometimes there was not a good contrast with light and shade {muddy edits, not good use of light, and just not strong BW without outstanding subject, emotion}. So I truly needed one and when its come up - a clear, simple story in strong BW image I been happy to grab it to post in the hub right away.

6. Beauty of simplicity

Sometimes picture no need to be too complicated, simple subject, solid background, attention to certain part of the frame, to details, good depth of field - all these simple elements made a huge difference and making your picture to be noticeable.

7. Ability to crop. Subjects positioning.

Its sounds strange but sometimes I can't take in the hub amazing images {which have all described elements and fit perfectly} because if I stretch the screen shot of image and crop it to square I will loose important part of the picture or it will be not so strong as a square. Its good to keep in mind. As I felt so sad I can't featured some images because of this simple reason.

8. Luck

Time of the day you posting, amount of other people posting at this time, level of images what they posting, even their colours, and what images around you in hashtag at this moment {yes its sort of luck}. You can easily check it out though if you go to hashtag and see what been posted before. Some days full of amazing images, and some just not {then any strong enough and simple image is a winner}.

Just note when we putting hub together we also trying to make images to flow nicely, matching colours, varies of composition, different subjects {family, kids, nature, details, boy, girl, face, anonymity and much more}. So its not so easy how its might looks. 

This process really similar to work with portfolio and making a good flow between your own images. So look at this as you curating your own portfolio - is it a keeper or can be easily toss out. 

Hope these tips will help you to understand the process and you will be featured. Yay!

Thank you all amazing women-photographers to sharing your work in the hashtag, I just amazed by your level of talent {its actually made me sort of depressed, ha-ha!}. So inspiring! Keep going and keep sharing your beautiful work!


UPDATE: just want to add few more words after some discussions below:

- as there can be a few moderators in the hub, they can have different preferences, tastes or reason to choose one image over another {its can be personal preferences, theme, image flow, colour flow, ability to feature BW image, and even mood of the day. I noticed I been featuring one day more light and airy images and another day more dark and moody {not sure if it was just my feelings or images under hashtag been generally tend to lean more towards light or dark mood on this day }

- few more tips from Amanda @cranecreekphoto, thank you for your valuable input! I did sum it up below with my own point of view:

* use relevant hashtags {see if your image actually relevant to hashtag; check also for misspelling and any mistakes in the name}

* use non-watermarked images {its can be questionable, personal mod preferences, but totally agree some watermarks can be a distraction from the message in the image;

* also use THEME hashtag {some hubs also having weekly/monthly themes}. You are rase your chances to be featured as there not so many images under theme hashtag}

* and last but not least - engage with this hub

My recent pictures for attention 

This one been featured in Dear Photographer hub {remember what I said about BW ;}

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Feature in Childhood Unplugged:


this one been featured in one of the hubs too infinity_children {snapshot on the parking lot near shopping centre }

simple direct light, composition and contrast with light and shade {subject nice too ;}


and this one never will be featured because subject too close to the edge of the frame , too dark etc. But for me as mum its one of the favourite images and remind me of the moment with kids in the classic car museum, so I will definitely share it in my IG, no matter about hashtags, features or if anyone else liked it, ha-ha! 

So don't make all these tips to stop you from sharing any treasured for you moments with your kids or those what you captured as therapy, because photography is your creative outlet. Look at this more as a direction to review your portfolio, see some patterns and points of improvement, as there always room to grow on our photography journey  Good luck and please share your work!

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