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Instagram is a funny old app. The premise should be simple: take great photos, upload and watch the love come in. So why do some accounts look better than yours?

A new breed of celebrity, the ‘Insta-famous’, have beautiful accounts with thousands of followers, but outside in the real world, they’re just like you. So how do they achieve these great things without the fame or money of Beyoncé or Selena Gomez?

We spoke to the experts to find out and here are some of the best kept-secrets that Instagram pros don’t want you to know. 

1 – They know how to take (and edit) great pictures

Taking good pictures is (unsurprisingly) one of the biggest ways to stand out on Instagram.

Take a look at your own photos – how do they compare? Are they dark and dull or do colours pop off the screen? It’s worth reading up on how to take good Instagram pictures to help you hone your skills and learn how to edit them properly.

It’s a skill that doesn’t take long to master, and once you learn the difference between good and great pictures, you’ll be able to compete with the best of the best.

2 – They take time to engage with followers

While the photo is easily the most important part of the post, one way to develop a following is to engage more with other users.

Take some time to think about what goes in your caption – a question or asking an opinion is a great way to do this. Posts that just say ‘here’s what I wore today’ are not going to cut it, and you need to be clever with your captions to make an impact.

You should also take the time to like and comment on other people’s posts. This will make things more collaborative and feel like you’re part of a network, rather than just promoting your own content.

3 – They use good hashtags

Hashtags are something else you need to consider wisely to make them work for you.

A good way to find relevant hashtags is to see what other people are using or exploring lists of the most popular hashtags. Popular hashtags like #fashion, #OOTD or #WhatIWore are great for fashion, and as you can have up to 30 in a post, you should use as many as you can while trying to grow your following.

Bonus tip: post your pic and caption first, minus the hashtags. Write 30 hashtags in the first comment underneath your post, then edit the post to include another 30 hashtags so that you have 60 extra ways to get your post seen.

It’s handy to write a list of hashtags in the Notes section of your phone so that you can just copy and paste them in with ease.

4 – They use photographers

Some of the best Instagram accounts use professional photographers to capture their looks. Most people are honest about this and credit their photographer, and if you’re shy or self-conscious about setting up a camera and taking photos of yourself, hiring someone who specialises in fashion or glamour photography can help you get the results you need.

Many of the most popular fashion Instagram accounts rely on high-street clothes to be able to post regularly, as opposed to designer pieces that they’ll tend to use as accessories instead. Check out our top tips on making your clothes look more expensive to create a Insta-worthy look that will help you gain followers, propelling you to the dizzying heights of Insta-fame. Better start planning your next OOTD!