One of the most common questions we get asked is “How do I upload photos and videos from my digital camera, PC or Mac to Instagram?”
There are lots of ways to do this. There are programs and websites available which will let you upload directly from your desktop, with various additional features available; there are also ways to send images to your phone quickly and easily, so you can open them in the Instagram app (these methods vary between iPhone and Android).
If you’re using an Android device it’s actually really simple; you can skip most of this post and head straight here for your instructions!
If you’re an iPhone user then read on for the 3 easiest ways (in our humble opinion).
[**Please note, that methods 2 & 3 require you to be working in the Cloud using Google Drive and/or Dropbox. If you’re not already doing this then I highly recommend that you start. It means that your content is always easily accessible wherever you are, plus it’s getting backed up without any effort on your part.]
Direct from Desktop
Thanks to increasing demand, there’s now a number of desktop-based Instagram schedulers available; websites and programs which will allow you to upload content from your desktop, write your caption, add your hashtags, decide when you want it posted, and send it through to Instagram. Some will publish the content for you, others will send a push notification to your phone prompting you to upload the photo and caption you’ve prepared and scheduled. These are our (current) top five (in no particular order).
To get started with Grum (used in your web browser), you simply sign up and get a trial of 3 days to test it and see if it works for you. This means you really have to get on to it quick otherwise you’ll miss your chance.
Grum.co does one thing – schedule out your Instagram posts and it does it very well. All you need to do is drop your images into the interface and it will come up with a box to enter in your comment. You then simply select either Post Now or Schedule. Select ‘Schedule’ and you’ll then just need to choose a time when you want the post to go out. Your scheduled posts will then move to the next screen. No alerts on your phone, you can even set it to post while you sleep and wake up to all your new likes and followers.
Grum.co gives you a handy character counter and also counts your hashtags as you add them in. A cool built in feature is that it has an emoji keyboard so you can really make it look like you just wrote it on your phone.
We’ve been telling people for a while now to add in the hashtags into the second comment as it’s a lot neater and easier to read. When using a scheduler you can’t post two comments at once so you’ll need to add these in the native post.
At $9.95 a month (scaling up if you want to manage more than two accounts), the price may put people off especially with our crappy Australian exchange rate at the moment however if you’re planning on posting twice a day and like to get organised, this is an excellent way to do it.
Planoly doesn’t say it’s just a scheduler, it calls itself a visual planner AND scheduler for Instagram. I came across this tool when a lot of people were asking how you create those cut up images for themes that take 2-9 images to unfold. I then wanted to have a tool to visually plan our posts as I stuffed up my self imposed ‘theme’ one night when I was tired. The major downfall of Planoly is that unlike Grum, it won’t post your scheduled images on your behalf – it will send you a push notification via its smartphone app at the time you’ve specified (meaning your post won’t go up if you miss the notification or can’t access the internet on your phone for whatever reason).
The planner and scheduler interfaces are excellent; you can see what your feed is going to look like before it goes live. It allows you to cut an image into 2 – 9 squares to slowly reveal to your followers, sans Photoshop (a word of caution, remember that sometimes a random hand won’t make sense to anyone – no matter how cool it looks on your profile page when the whole image is revealed).
You can try it free for 15 days, and after that it’ll cost you seven dollars a month (scaling up as you add more accounts).
Like Grum, ScheduGram will post on your behalf – so if you prefer to upload your content in batches, schedule it and not worry about being tied to your phone when it’s due to be sent out, this is another good option. It allows you to edit and apply filters to images natively, and the bulk upload interface is incredibly handy (though not that clean and clear to look at).
Free trials run for seven days, after which you’ll pay 20 dollars per account for accounts with less than 10,000 followers; prices go up as your follower counts do (if you have over a million followers, you’ll pay 100 dollars per month to manage that account, making this the most expensive option available.
Buffergram is a pretty slick operation with regards to the technology behind its scheduling services – you upload and schedule your posts, and then they get computers to use the official Instagram app and upload your images. They get bonus points for being the only scheduler which supports putting your hashtags in the first comment.
The interface is nice and clean, and you can either pay per post or per month (the former is scaled based on how many followers you have, the latter based on how many times you want to post per day) – prices increase if you want to have your posts tracked.
Formerly InstaPult, OnlyPult has a good range of features. Like Planoly, it has an excellent interface and allows you to see what your whole feed is going to look like before you send posts live; but, giving it a slight edge over Planoly, it will post on your behalf.
It offers a good range of analytics, and allows you to track competitors’ analytics as well (even if they aren’t using OnlyPult). It allows you to add multiple users with their own logins, making this an appealing option for agencies.
Pricing starts at 12 dollars a month, scaling up as you add more users and more Instagram accounts.
Method 1 – Email them to yourself
This is probably the method that most people use. It does work, but it can be rather tedious. And it doesn’t always work if you’re trying to share video, as the file size can be too large. The steps involved are:
- Open your mail account on your PC or Mac
- Start a new email message to be sent to yourself (works best if you have 2 email addresses that you can send emails between)
- Attach the photo or video to the email and send to yourself
- Open the mail app on your iPhone
- Save the attachment to your Camera Roll
- Open Instagram and post the photo/video in the usual way from your Camera Roll
As I said at the beginning of the article, the next 2 methods require you to be working in the cloud. Here’s a short video to show you what that actually will look like on your PC or Mac.
Method 2 – Use Google Drive to access your photos
This is the method that I use most commonly. Everything that I work on gets saved into Google Drive, as it’s my favourite file storage service. Which means everything is always accessible on all my devices, no matter where I am. The main drawback of this method is that it currently doesn’t allow you to save videos to your camera roll. Hopefully Google will sort this out soon.
For this method to work you obviously have to be using Google Drive to save and store your images and have the Google Drive app installed on your phone. Then here’s the steps:
- Open the Google Drive app on your phone
- Locate the photo you want to share
- Tap on the file to open the photo
- Save the photo to your camera roll
- Open Instagram and post the photo in the usual way from your Camera Roll
Method 3 – Use Dropbox to access photos and video
As mentioned, the only downside of Google Drive is that you can’t currently use it to save video onto your iPhone. So this is when I use Dropbox.
Dropbox describe the service like this: “Dropbox is a home for all your photos, docs, videos, and files. Anything you add to Dropbox will automatically show up on all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website — so you can access your stuff from anywhere.”
It works basically in the same way as Google Drive, by accessing your content through the app on your phone.
- When working on your computer, save the file in a Dropbox folder
- Open the Dropbox app on your phone
- Locate the video file
- Tap on the file to open the video
- Choose ‘Save Video’ to save the video to your camera roll
- Open Instagram and post the video in the usual way from your Camera Roll
Here’s a short video showing you the process:
Method 4 – AirDrop
To use AirDrop, you’ll need to be working from a Mac and have both your Mac and iPhone on WiFi and attached/logged in to the same Apple ID (alternatively, you can connect the devices using Bluetooth). Go to the AirDrop menu in Finder on your Mac and your iPhone or iPad should be represented by a circle. Drag and drop a file onto the circle, and your iPhone or iPad will prompt you to accept the file (which you’ll then be able to save and open in Instagram).
Android & Instagram have it all sorted out for you. You still have to be using Google Drive and/or Dropbox, but the process is very simple after that (and really, if you’re on an Android device and NOT using Google Drive, then you need to have a good, hard chat with yourself!).
Google Drive & Dropbox Method
- Save your files into a Google Drive or Dropbox folder
- Open the Instagram app on your phone
- Tap on the camera icon to select a photo
- Choose which location the photo/video is stored in
- Select the file and post in the usual manner
Here’s a short video to show you how it’s done:
The email method described for iPhone users also works on an Android device, but why would you bother…???
So there you go; 3 easy ways to get your photos and videos onto your iPhone and Android device. Let me know in the comments below if you try any of these methods, and what your favourite method is. Also, if you have another way of doing it then tell us so we can try it out too!
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