If you’re lucky enough to own an iPhone, then you MUST download the Instagram App. It magically makes your photos look retro and gorgeous – you can read more about it at  Even though Instagram comps are restricted to entrants with iPhones, more promoters are launching them because they’re fun, creative and viral. Today I’m telling you a bit about the App – and linking you to five Instagram comps you can enter!
To use Instagram, you can either open the App on your phone and take a photo, or you can add effects to a photo already in your library. You can even use an old photo – I usually email them to myself and then download from the email app to my iPhone photo library. Then the fun bit – crop and add effects to your photo. Then add a caption including the competition ‘hashtag’ (#AbsolutLondon for example). You can choose to share your Instagram snap on Twitter or Facebook too (in some cases, the promoter requires that you DO share on Twitter, and mention them). You can search and browse other Instagram photos using hashtags, and ‘Follow’ users as you would on Twitter or Pinterest – you can LIKE and comment on others’ photos too.Here’s an example of a competition entry I did a few weeks ago where you had to upload an Instagram photo of ‘my paradise’ and Tweet it with two hashtags. You can view my entry online at

Recently Ford UK gave away a car as a prize in their Instagram competition. Marketing agency Blue Hive uploaded this video to show how the campaign worked – and I was chuffed to see my own entry (a shot of the Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill LP) featured at the start. Sadly they don’t mention which photo won the Fiesta!

Ford Fiesta. Fiestagram campaign from Blue Hive on Vimeo.
My current favourite Instagram competition is the one that Absolut Vodka are running over a five week period, with a prize fund of 50 limited edition bottles of Absolut London. All you have to do is capture an image of something that sums up one of London’s greatest features (you DON’T need to take the photo in London!). Then you must add the #absolutlondon hashtag PLUS one of these category hashtags: #london #entertainer #music #entrepreneur #fashion. You can read all the terms here and the competition closes every Thursday at midnight until 15 March. 

I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of the Absolut London week one winners – with another vinyl shot (I do love my LPs!). This is a photo of The Sundays ‘Can’t be Sure’ single, a great London band on a great London indie label (Rough Trade) – it won in the #music category this week.


For those of you in Manchester, you can win prizes from Incognito and Instagoodies by taking an Instagram photo on the theme of ‘One Off’ and using the hashtag #oneoff. You then need to email it through to with the story behind it along with your Twitter name. Read more about the event here and enter before 28 February.

H and M are giving away clothes from their new Marni range. To enter, share your most inspirational images on Instagram with the hashtag #MarniatHM. The five images with the most votes on 1 March will win Marni at HM clothes and accessories, and the one judged to be the best will win a full outfit plus handbag. See the photos and read more on their Facebook page.

Win a  £100 Firebox gift voucher by uploadng a photo on the theme of Winter with the caption ‘My #Fireboxwinterinstagram @Firebox’ – upload before 12pm on 9 March. Read the details on their blog.

Metro Print give away an 8 x 8 C-Type matt print of their favourite Instagram photo each week. This week’s theme is SKY. To enter, tweet your photo before Thursday using the hashtag #photothursday – and make sure you’re following @Metro_print! For this comp, your photo can use any retro camera App (e.g. Hipstamatic or Vintage Camera) if you don’t have Instagram – you can read all the details here.

Another tip!
Apart from the Instagram competitions, you can also use the App’s effects to make your existing photos more appealing and quirky for entry into Twitter and Facebook competitions. After you’ve posted to Instagram, you can choose to email it to yourself, then you’ll be able to save it to your computer and upload it to Facebook, add to a competition Tweet, pop on Pinterest or anywhere else you fancy. And if your photo isn’t great quality, using Instagram can really add a bit of life to it. Here’s a Before and After shot of Ryland as an example – happy snapping!

4 Responses

  1. Emma Franklin says:

    Instagram is also available on android phones, I have a Sony. I recently won a gorgeous Jack French Handbag on Instagram simply by re posting.

    • Thanks Emma! This post was from 2012, and I should definitely write a new guide to Instagram now we have video and messaging, plus a website and apps for Android phones! Congrats on your win!

  2. Maba says:

    I so need an i-phone x

  3. Mbruce10 says:

    Thanks Di, just given it a go and entered the Firebox one 🙂

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