Instagram offers bountiful networking opportunities for photographers, videographers, and designers. Here’s how artists can build a successful portfolio on the platform and make an excellent first impression on potential clients.

If you’re looking to get noticed by more potential clients, Instagram is a fantastic place to showcase your work and build your visual business online. We constantly scour Instagram for potential artists and creatives to join Shutterstock’s contributor networks, including Shutterstock, Offset, Shutterstock Custom and more. Turning your regular social media into a beautiful Instagram portfolio is a great way to attract new clients, and grow your reputation as a creative. So, we’ve created the top guide on how to create a beautiful Instagram portfolio for your creative work.

Here are Shutterstock’s top six tips for creating a beautiful Instagram portfolio to showcase your visual work.

6 Tips on Creating a Beautiful Instagram Portfolio for Creatives — Showcase Your Work

Image by De Repente.


Use your Instagram bio as the cover letter for your Instagram portfolio.

When a future client lands on your Instagram portfolio, the first thing they’ll is look at your bio. They want to learn about who you are and what it is that you do. As a result, it’s important to create Instagram bio copy that summarizes your goals, passions, and interests in just a few sentences.

Firstly, before you begin writing your Instagram bio copy, ask yourself what it is that you want or need to communicate with clients.

  1. Name: Is your name clearly displayed in your bio? This is important so clients remember you and can also find you on LinkedIn.
  2. Location: What is it that your future client needs to know about where you live or your lifestyle? For example, for many photographers, location and the ability to travel is a huge factor for clients. Adding your location helps recruiters assess whether you’re the right candidate for their new gig.
  3. Link in Bio: This is where future clients find your work. Make sure you’re linking to your updated website.
  4. Bio: Describe what it is that you do in an executive but still creative format. If you’re an active member of a community that relates to your industry, you can now link to that account within your Instagram bio.

Contributor Tip: Shutterstock contributors, tag us in your bio! This is a good way for us to get to know you and share your work.

Here’s an example from contributors Kim Daniels (@kimbroughdaniels). Her name, location, current goals and interests, and contact information are all provided for future clients.

Instagram Tips- Kim

Your Instagram bio should communicate (in your own creative language) what it is that clients need to know to understand you and your business. Be concise, add emojis if you like, and most importantly be creative!


Use your feed as a visual Instagram portfolio.

Ask yourself questions. What kind of clients are you trying to attract? Whether you stick to a photo editing theme, add borders to your images, or only post vertical images, curate your content to showcase your best work.

If a client lands on your Instagram page, it’s important that you engage them by visually communicating your style. Help your visitors capture the essence of your creativity with these suggestions:

  • “What would I want to see if I were [dream client]?”
  • “Am I showing clients what my talents are and that I’d be a good person to work with (professional towards others and other brands I’ve worked with)?”
  • “How do I stand out from others within my industry?
  • “Is there consistency within my Instagram feed?”
6 Tips on Creating a Beautiful Instagram Portfolio for Creatives — Curate Your Portfolio

Image by niticka.

Curate your portfolio in a way that fully encompasses and portrays your work best. Remember! Your creativity is so valuable. Display it for the world to see.

Here is an example of curation from our community at @ShutterstockContributors.

6 Tips on Creating a Beautiful Instagram Portfolio for Creatives — Shutterstock Contributors Curation

“What do I post?”

Here are a few content ideas you can display on your Instagram portfolio to engage with your audience.

  • Your work: photography, influencer promotion, art, design, products, music, film, etc.
  • A day in the life
  • Milestones
  • Announcements
  • Inspiration
  • Behind the scenes

If you’re looking for some content suggestions, here’s a great example by Shutterstock contributor Elnaz Mansouri (@elnaz555).

6 Tips on Creating a Beautiful Instagram Portfolio for Creatives — Content Ideas

Elnaz curates her Instagram portfolio through a combination of her aerial photography and day-to-day experiences (captured on both mobile device and camera). She also posts behind-the-scenes, milestones in her career, or whatever may be inspiring her that day. Furthermore, no matter what she posts, she sticks to a similar aesthetic and editing style, making her visual portfolio look cohesive and visually stunning.


Keep your profile active and updated.

6 Tips on Creating a Beautiful Instagram Portfolio for Creatives — Stay Active

Image by De Repente.

One thing you’ll hear over and over when it comes to Instagram is to “post regularly,” but what does that even mean? How often you post will directly tie back to your business goals. It can be tough to create new content every day while also avoiding burnout. This is when curation of old and new content comes in handy. Most importantly, you don’t need an excuse to post images from your archives anymore. There aren’t any rules as to what you should post either.

The best rule of thumb is to post only your best content. Also, curate your feed to make your Instagram portfolio look cohesive and 100% you.

Instagram Tips - Lavninia

Image by Shutterstock Custom contributor Lavinia Cernau.

One of the easiest ways to plan out your posts is by using an Instagram scheduling platform. Scheduling out your posts ahead of time doesn’t just help you maintain a consistent aesthetic, it also helps you to post regularly.

Digging into your Instagram insights is another great way to help you make sure you’re posting at the right time. By finding out when your audience is most active, you can increase your exposure and make sure your content is reaching more eyes. When it comes to choosing what content to post to Instagram, more isn’t better. Better is better.

Instagram Planner- Later

Instagram planning on Later


Be uniquely you.

While it’s important to create an Instagram strategy for your business, make sure it’s communicated through your unique perspective. There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing a contributor post an image that allows viewers to feel a part of the moments they’re posting.

6 Tips on Creating a Beautiful Instagram Portfolio for Creatives — Be Unique

Image by De Repente.

Remember, if a client starts following you, they’re going to be interested in learning about you and your work. Always use images and captions that display your inspiring creative and career-oriented journey. Being authentic in how you promote your work will help you attract the right types of clients you’re looking for.

Instagram Tips- Courtney Molyneaux

Image by Shutterstock Custom contributor Courtney Molyneaux.


Use your Instagram portfolio to connect with communities in your industry.

Now that you’ve set up your Instagram portfolio and it looks extremely professional, use it to interact with clients and other individuals within your industry. A few great ways to grow your account and get exposure are:

  • Use active branded hashtags in your captions. Ex. #MyCustomView #ShutterstockContributors
  • Interact with brands by tagging them in your images and commenting on their posts.
  • Did you connect with a potential client on LinkedIn? Make sure to interact with them on Instagram too!
6 Tips on Creating a Beautiful Instagram Portfolio for Creatives — Connect with Community

Image by cosmic pony.

We manage an account that promotes creative contributors at Shutterstock, so we’re constantly looking for exceptional content to repost from our contributors. As a result, it grabs our attention is when contributors do the following:

  • Tag us in their photos.
  • Use our branded hashtags (As a company, we follow our hashtags and the content comes up on our feed).
  • Interact with the Shutterstock Contributors account. This gives us visibility into who is eager to connect with us. Typically, “whoever shouts the loudest gets noticed.” Don’t be afraid to say hello and make sure you’re being seen!

By using these Instagram tips to connect with your community, you can make sure your posts are being seen by the right eyes. This can increase your chance for higher exposure.


Use Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Instagram Highlights to get connected.

Instagram Tips - Girl with Music

Image by Felipe Frazao

Instagram Stories and Highlights are a great way to showcase your community involvement without ruining your curated Instagram aesthetic. Here are a few great ways you can use these features to show off your involvement.

  • Go behind the scenes to engage your audience in your work.
  • Share what excites you. Promote that photoshoot you just rocked in a story.
  • Use Instagram Highlights to promote any features future clients need to see. Highlights live on your page forever, so curate them under relevant categories.
  • In the video space? Get creative with IGTV. You can re-cut or resize vertical clips to reach a different audience than you’re used to.

We know you’re going to impress new clients with your updated Instagram Portfolio. However, to keep them engaged, use Instagram Stories, IGTV, and Highlights to remind them of the incredible work you do.

Looking for new ways to share your creativity? Join Shutterstock’s global network of contributors and earn money doing what you love! Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, a photographer or musician, you’ll find a home for your content.

This article was originally published on Later as a guest post.

Featured image by wild0wild


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