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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

Instagram’s Black Friday Holiday Gift Guide

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CanvasPop

Has a friend ever asked for the original version of a beautiful Instagram photo you took so they could use it as the background on their phone? Have your parents been ranting and raving to all of their friends about how wonderful your Instagram images are to anyone who will listen? If so, CanvasPop’s Instagram printing addition is the perfect holiday gift! You easily can transform any of your images into a 12x12 or 20x20 art piece for the home.

CanvasPop is providing a special price for a limited time and you can also buy a CanvasPop gift card for any of your Instagramming friends.

Casetagram

Let’s get real: Dropping an iPhone can be an expensive mistake, especially if it falls at just the right glass-shattering angle. Why not protect that brand new iPhone with a durable case made out of Instagram images? Create a unique design with Casetagram using any of the six layouts, including two new special edition holiday cases, for yourself or someone you care about.

PostalPix - Aluminum Prints

Metal is totally awesome, especially the kind of metal you can find on the periodic table. Do you know what would be even more awesome than metal? Your Instagram photos infused onto a scratch resistant aluminum plate, that’s what! 

With PostalPix you can easily order long-lasting prints of your Instagram images with your iOS device directly from their application. You could even turn them into a fantastically unique holiday card for your family members! Each aluminum print comes with magnets and double sided tape for easy mounting. 

Be sure to use the code “weloveIG" at checkout for 15% off any purchase made before midnight tonight!

Hatchcraft - Boo Box

These beautiful bamboo shadow box frames, from the freshly relauched Hatchcraft, are a fantastic way to display Instagram images and would make a wonderful gift for that Instagram fanatic in your life!

Though the frames wont be shipping until the new year, Hatchcraft is offering gift certificates under face value Black Friday through Cyber Monday weekend only. While you’re ordering a Boo Box gift certificate, be sure to check out their limited edition IG Addict bamboo iPhone case!

API Spotlight: Banana Republic

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We’re continually impressed with the many different ways brands use Instagram to visually communicate with their followers. To coincide with the holiday season, Banana Republic has just launched a new campaign on Instagram called the Ultimate NYE Party Contest, in which they’re encouraging users to share photos showing their party looks with #BRPartyLook for a chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip with 5 friends to New York City for a New Year’s Eve bash.

“Since the response to Instagram has been so positive from our fans, it was the perfect time to launch a contest using Instagram as an entry method,” Banana Republic says. “The holiday season is such a highly visual time - filled with sparkle, color and textures,” they say. “When we decided to launch a photo submission contest, Instagram was an ideal platform to not only capture these visual images, but also add a filter to evoke an additional sense of personality and vibe.”

Submit your party look via Instagram with #BRPartyLook by November 23rd for a chance to win a New Year’s Eve trip to New York with your friends! Starting November 24th, you can check out Banana Republic’s Ultimate New Year’s Eve page to see photos submitted to the contest and vote for your favorite styles.

As we see more and more brands use Instagram to communicate visually, we’re excited to see the many other creative ways Instagram and our API are used. Anyone can get started using the Instagram API by visiting our developer page, and you can check out other examples of how our API has been used here.

Photos by charronc, funderbug, thelisataylor, jillian_jigs, themariam & actorf.

Getting Nostalgic with Instagram

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Do you remember when you posted your first Instagram photo? Have you gone back through your timeline to those photos you snapped with Instagram from your vacation 4 months ago? In the last year we’ve seen over 10 million users register for Instagram and over 250 million photos shared. Take a walk down memory lane with these third-party sites that give you a look into your Instagram past.

IG Birth Certificate - Statigr.am 

Statigr.am is both a web viewer and a statistics aggregator, providing users with information such as your most liked & most commented photos, which filter you’ve used most, what day you post most frequently, and more! They also create snapshots of those statistics which you can send to your email, save to your library and share on your Instagram. Find your IG Birth Certificate and share the first photo you’ve ever taken with your followers!

Memories delivered to your inbox - And7YearsAgram & MorningPics

From the creators of 4squareand7yearsago and PastPosts comes And7YearsAgram, a service that will send you daily emails of images you’ve captured a year ago today. If you’ve already subscribed to 4squareand7yearsago you can merge it with And7YearsAgram to receive a single daily email!

MorningPics lets you wake up to one of your Instagram images, including comments and likes, in your inbox daily. These carefully selected (okay, maybe it’s a bit more random) memories are a great way to start your day.

What was the first photo you posted to Instagram? Reblog and let us know!

Innovative Uses of Instagram

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The Vaccines – Wetsuit Instagram Video

The indie rock band The Vaccines asked their fans to submit their summer music festival photos through Instagram using the hashtag #vaccinesvideo for a chance to be featured in their new video. The result is an entirely crowdsourced video loaded with Instagram photos.

Instagram Wheatpaste

Philadelphia artists Casey Catelli and Mike Smith wanted to do something special with the Instagram photos of Philadelphia they’d captured over the past year. On his blog, Mike says:

It was so awesome to see the many places and faces we’ve encountered over the past year blown up into 8″ squares and especially all together on an 8′ x 4′ panel in the streets. Tons of awesome friends, artists, galleries, logos, music venues, graffiti, skylines, bridges and City Hall photos made it in there. 

Instagram in Central Park – Black Eyed Peas

Instagram photos were projected in front of 60,000 people in Central Park last week for the Black Eyed Peas concert hosted by Robin Hood NYC. Using the Instagram API, the organization worked with HD MADE to live stream fan photos from the benefit concert. Instagram was also used to show the Golden Ticket winner, a mom who got a chance to sit on stage with her three young sons for an epic concert.

Know of any other creative uses of Instagram? Reblog this and let us know so we can feature them here!

API Spotlight: “Shoes About Town”

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We love seeing how folks use the Instagram API to create compelling visual experiences for their fans. For their “Shoes About Town” campaign, luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman has created an interactive map that shows Instagram photos of shoes in, and around, Manhattan.

Beginning today, we invite you to join us in the charting of shoe obsessions via Instagram. Using the Instagram iPhone app, photograph your shoe in its natural territory, hash-tag it with #BGShoes and enable Instagram’s geotag so your shoes have a place in or surrounding Manhattan. Those photographed will appear on our interactive map of shoe fanaticism and may even find a place on the walls of our store. We can’t wait to see where your shoe obsessions take you.

Check out 5th/58th, the Bergdorfs blog, to read more about the project.

What creative uses of the Instagram API have you seen? Reblog this post and let us know!

Video

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Instagram Music Videos

We love when we come across people using Instagram in creative ways and, as music fanatics, we especially love when it comes from talented bands! Check out Allstar Weekend's Instagram-themed music video for “Blame It On September” above.

The Vaccines, an indie rock band from London, are looking for help from you on their new video for their upcoming single “Wetsuit”. With over 2,000 pictures tagged, that Instagram photo you snapped from Lollapalooza, Warped Tour, Outside Lands or any summer festivals could be used. Be sure to tag your image #vaccinesvideo!

How to Host A Photo Contest on Instagram

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Recently, the American metal band Deftones hosted an Instagram photo contest which challenged fans to help document their tour. To participate, Deftones fans were asked to tag their photos from the concert they attended with #deftones and #thecitytheyattended (e.g. #Orlando). The contest was a huge success: there are now almost 1,300 photos on Instagram tagged #deftones and the band’s account, @deftonesband, has gained close to 20,000 followers in 3 months.

Photo contests are a great way to increase visibility of your brand on Instagram. We asked Deftones and the brains behind the contest, Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group, for some tips on running a successful photo contest on Instagram. Here’s their advice:

Get Involved

Deftones (@deftonesband) are consistently active on Instagram, throughout the tour posting several photos from each city and sharing them across other social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook. The frequency of these uploads helped to build a familiarity with the app amongst the band’s fanbase.

Give It Time

The contest was spread out over the length of an extensive US tour (~2 months), which gave users plenty of time to learn about the contest, so they were primed and ready to snap their photos when the band visited their city.

Spread the Word

Each day one photo was selected as “Fan Instagram of the Day” and featured on the band’s Facebook wall for over 1.5 million people to see – this helped spread the word about the contest on a daily basis. This also provided a great way to drive traffic from the band’s Facebook to their official website. At the end of the contest, the band wrote a story about the winners and featured the grand-prize photo on their website.

Use the Instagram API

Photo streams from both Deftones and their fans are pulled into an official Instagram feed on Deftones.com. Using Instagram’s API helped Deftones establish a consistent, simple and meaningful source of rich media content to be shared on their site and social properties.

Give Away Prizes

Rewarding the best photos helped drive participation. The grand prize winner received a signed 8-string ESP guitar signed by the band and 5 runners-up received limited edition signed vinyl records.

Ready to host your own photo contest? Visit the Brands forum for tips on getting started on Instagram and spreading the word about your account. And be sure to give us a heads up on what you’re planning – we’re always excited to learn about fun campaigns going on around the Instagram community: contact@instagr.am

rob_bee’s winning photo from the Deftones concert in Providence, Rhode Island

Topshop and Incase Photo Campaigns

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We’re excited to see the photo campaigns Topshop and Incase are running on Instagram this week. Topshop wants you to drop by for a photoshoot, where you can style your photos with Instagram filters, and Incase wants to see photos of nightlife in your hometown.

Topshop: Wish You Were At Topshop

Want to do an Instagram-styled photoshoot? Now’s your chance. Head into Topshop for a complimentary styling and make-up session before posing for your next Instagram photo. After your photoshoot, choose an Instagram filter to change the look and feel of your photo, then take home a printed copy of your photo on a postcard.

The campaign runs from June 1st - 4th in London, Dublin and Liverpool and from June 8th-11th in New York City and Manchester. Find more details on the Topshop website.

Incase: Picture Perfect Photo Contest

Incase wants you to show them photos of nightlife in your hometown. Just tag your photo #rhcontest and follow @goincase for a chance to win one of three bags from their Alloy Collection. Check out the photos that have already been entered and get more details about the contest at goincase.com/rhcontest.

API Highlights: Moby, Starbucks, Deftones

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We released our API as a way to make it easier for developers to create innovative ways to browse the ever-growing volume of photos posted to Instagram every second. We’re excited to see the many ways different brands and organizations are using Instagram and the API to create new experiences for their fans, and we wanted to share some of these projects with you. Take a look to learn how you can get involved:

Moby

Moby launched a microsite that integrates Instagram photos to premiere his new album, Destroyed. To add your photo to the site, just snap a photo of your city at 2am, include the hashtag #destroyed in the caption and set a location in the Where? field. Then go to destroyed.moby.com to see your photo alongside Moby’s and other Instagrammers’ on the world map and listen to the album in its entirety (thanks to Soundcloud’s API).

Starbucks

There are thousands of photos on Instagram taken at Starbucks cafes around the world, and now Starbucks features those photos on their website. Go to starbucks.com/coffeehouse to check them out and be sure to share your own #starbucks photos!

Deftones

The metal band Deftones have already integrated their Instagram photos (@deftonesband) and their fans’ photos into the Deftones website, and now they’re hosting a photo challenge to promote their current tour. To enter, just tag your photos from the show you attended #deftones and #thecityyouattended (e.g., #HamptonBeach). Each day one photo will be selected as “Fan Instagram of the Day” and featured on the band’s Facebook wall for over a million people to see, and one grand prize winner will receive an ESP guitar signed by the band. More details here.

Know any other cool uses of the API we should feature? Let us know at contact@instagr.am. We’d love to write about them!

CBS on Instagram

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We’re thrilled to see that CBS is using Instagram to promote its show NCIS: Los Angeles (@ncisla). CBS will use Instagram as a way for fans to follow the show through behind-the-scenes shots by the cast, including @llcoolj. They’ll also host a national photo competition called “Flaunt Your City” — just share your favorite hometown photos using the #NCISLA hashtag from now until April 1 for a chance for your photo to be integrated into the show’s season finale. You can find more details about the campaign on the NCIS: Los Angeles Facebook page.

We’re excited to watch the different ways businesses use Instagram to create brand new experiences for their fans, and are impressed with the CBS team for leading the way.