NOTE: This blog post was updated based on feedback from readers of the Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter, with options for publishing photos to Instagram directly from a computer.
Today’s Question: I have a question that probably everyone younger than me knows how to do, but I can’t figure out. In Instagram, how do I post pictures from my professional digital camera or any pictures from my laptop?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Instagram was originally created for the purpose of sharing photos from a mobile device. There are a variety of limitations that remain with Instagram, limiting your flexibility when sharing photos that were captured with something other than a mobile device. However, you can share to Instagram in a variety of ways from your computer, which makes it possible to share photos captured with a camera other than a smartphone.
More Detail: While it is possible to share photos to Instagram from a computer, I prefer to have the photos I share to Instagram available directly on my smartphone, so I can share them with others easily on my phone even when I’m not connected to the Internet. Therefore, I synchronize the photos I want to share on Instagram to my smartphone, and then post to Instagram from there.
There are a variety of ways you can get your photos from a computer to a smartphone. The approach I prefer is to synchronize a folder of photos from my computer to my smartphone. For example, with an iPhone you can use the iTunes app to specify folders containing photos that you want synchronized to your phone. Android users can drag-and-drop photos to their smartphone once it is connected to a Windows computer, or use a variety of applications to synchronize photos to the smartphone.
With my iPhone, for example, the first step is to copy the photos I want to share on Instagram to a folder on the computer. Since I use Lightroom Classic CC to manage my photos, I simply export photos from Lightroom to an “Instagram Share” folder. Then, within the iTunes app, I make sure my “Instagram Share” is selected as one of the folders that should be synchronized with my iPhone. Whenever I have added a new photo to the “Instagram Share” folder on my computer, I can simply plug in my iPhone with a USB cable and synchronize via iTunes. The new photos will then be in the “Instagram Share” album on my phone, which I can then use as the source of sharing photos on Instagram.
In addition, however, there are a variety of ways you can post photos to Instagram directly from your computer. For example, Lightroom users can install a plug-in that enables you to publish directly to Instagram from your Lightroom catalog. You can find the LR/Instagram plug-in here:
Another great option is to simply have your web browser simulate a mobile device, so you can access all of the Instagram features (including sharing a new photo) directly from your computer’s web browser, as though you were using the Instagram app on your smartphone.
I’ve published an article on the GreyLearning blog showing you how to make your computer’s web browser behave like a browser on a mobile device. This will enable you to share photos to Instagram directly from your computer, and you can find the article here:
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, check out my photos, and tap the heart icon to “like” any of my photos you feel are especially good. You can find me using the Instagram app on your mobile device under user name @timgreyphoto, or through the Instagram website here: