The best Instagram challenges for makers & why you should be taking part

Instagram Challenges, the best Instagram challenges, Instagram hashtags, Instagram tips,

Why Instagram Challenges are good for you – including a list of fun Instagram challenges to try

When Katie from Ceramic Magpie asked us to be the guest judge for her #wipsandblooms Instagram challenge we jumped at it. Flowers and craft together in one place? What’s not to love? But really it’s about much more than just pretty pictures: taking part in #wipsandblooms and other Instagram challenges (also called hashtag projects, hashtag challenges or photo challenges) is not only fun but a great way to get yourself in front of influencers and potential customers, grow your reach, build your brand and identity, and improve your photography, networking and styling skills all at the same time. They are a brilliant marketing tool for makers and creatives, or anyone who hates the idea of in-your-face marketing but wants to get seen more.

In this post we explain how Instagram Challenges work, how and why you should be joining in, and share some of our favourite hashtag challenges.

Wooden Camera Brooch in main picture by Ginger Pickle

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The beautiful winning #wipsandblooms picture by @botanical_tales. Read more about the winning image and why we chose it on Katie’s blog 

What is an Instagram Challenge & how do I get involved?

If you’re not sure what an Instagram challenge is, it’s when someone on Instagram sets a theme and asks people to share photos on that theme using a particular hashtag. There are also Instagram challenges that have daily, weekly or monthly prompts – usually set out in advance or announced on their Instagram account on the day. Some Instagram challenges have prizes that are awarded by guest judges, others are just a chance to think creatively, respond to a brief, feel reinvigorated, improve your photo skills and style, and connect with other people.

There are also Instagram challenges where the brief changes weekly or monthly, so there might be a general hashtag that has a specific suffix you add on to take part in the latest challenge or be eligible for the prize if there is one, for example #aquietstyle_spring  #WHPcolorstudy  #sgiew_ActNatural

To join in with an Instagram challenge, all you usually need to do is post a picture or video on your Instagram grid that relates to the theme and include the hashtag in your caption, but if there is a prize you might also need to follow the host and the guest judge if there is one.

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Some of our favourite images from the #wipsandblooms Folksy challenge: clockwise from top left @lotusblossombysarah  @katylivings  @eloisebindery  @beckypearcedesigns

 

Why take part?

If there’s a prize that’s an obvious incentive, but there are other reasons Instagram challenges are good for you and your creative business too. Firstly there are opportunities for your own professional development to grab here. If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in an Instagram rut and or you’ve lost your photo mojo, Instagram challenges can offer inspiration and take the ‘argh’ out of what to post today. They can also help you get into the habit of posting regularly, which in turn will probably help improve your photography and styling skills. Being able to respond to a brief is also good practice for any creative, and then there’s the additional inspiration you’ll gain by seeing all the other posts on that hashtag – perhaps you’ll pick up new lighting, layout, video or styling tips?

Skills and inspiration aside, Instagram Challenges are another way to market your creative business and get yourself in front of people. Since Instagram switched to a non-chronological feed, many users have found it harder to get seen and are finding their posts buried or even totally hidden as those with more comments and engagement or posts from people the algorithm thinks are your friends or favourites get boosted to the top. Taking part in an Instagram Challenge gives you another way to get your picture in front of people, as when you add a hashtag to your picture it will automatically show up in the ‘Most Recent’ feed for that hashtag – and if it’s one of the more popular posts on that tag it could even be displayed in Instagram’s ‘Top Post’ picks for that hashtag or in their Suggested Posts section.

Many people who host Instagram challenges will also do a round-up or recap of their favourite entries on their blog or on their own Instagram accounts, or share photos from the challenge on their Stories and tag you into them. So if your photos are good enough, this is another way to get yourself in front of more people. Looking through the photos submitted by other people, following and commenting, is also a great way to ‘find your tribe’, grow your network and connect with potential customers and collaborators.

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More of our favourite images from our #wipsandblooms Instagram challenge: clockwise from top left @paperbeacompany  @alf.and.myrtle  @gooseberryfool  @rekersdreesdesign @bymeeni  @ditsybird 

 

Some things to remember when taking part in Instagram Challenges or post on hashtags

  • Post the best pictures or videos you possibly can
  • Keep to the theme and only use share relevant photos on the hashtag
  • Check the current theme before you post to make sure it hasn’t changed and if there is a suffix for the latest challenge make sure you add that to your post (eg #wipsandblooms_tools) as well as the generic tag
  • If the Instagram Challenge has a prize, make sure you are doing what is asked of you, eg tagging the host & guest judge in your caption
  • Spamming a challenge with irrelevant or poor photos just so you get seen looks bad and won’t do you any favours

 

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More of our favourite images from the #wipsandblooms Instagram challenge: clockwise from top left @emmalouisecorry  @coverstory_craft  @maisymuffinragdolls  @olgaprinku  @silverhares_jewellery  @emma_giacalone_textiles

 

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Pink Make a Wish Dandelion Clock Print by Rose Filtered

Some of the best Instagram Challenges to try…

We’ve put together a compilation of Instagram Challenges for you to try out. Some of these hashtag challenges only run during specific days or months of the year, and some of them run regularly but with changing themes or prompts, so check the accounts of the Instagrammers who run them for details…

#WHP – Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Project

This is one is run by Instagram themselves and this is what they say about their #WHP challenge: “Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post every week announcing the latest project.” Recent themes include: #WHPgetaway #WHPcolorstudy #WHPreflections

 

#aquietstyle
Stylist and blogger Emma Harris @aquietstyle runs the hugely successful and popular #aquietstyle hashtag, which has a monthly theme and quite often a prize to go with it. You can find the theme and details of the prize each month under a separate Instagram account @_aquietstyle, where Emma regularly shares her favourite images from the tag. “I leave it to the individual to interpret the theme as they see fit, but in order to be featured, it does need to feel like a quiet and calm image because that’s what #aquietstyle is all about,” says Emma.

 

08—"Making friends with myself" #100DaysOfBeingSeenByElleLuna #The100DayProject

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#the100dayproject 
The100dayproject is “a free global art project that anyone can participate in” with weekly prompts. It’s run by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thomson and this year’s challenge started in the middle of April so it’s now more than halfway through but there’s still time to join in and it will no doubt be back.

 

Happy Friday! 💕 I would love to see your #floralfridaycompetition images today. Let's make today extra pretty! xo

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#floralfridaycompetition
Floral Friday is run by Emily Quinton (read our interview with Emily here) and as the name suggests, it’s all about flowers. #FloralFridayCompetition started off as a weekly competition with prizes but as so many people entered it become too unwieldy to manage. So now there are no prizes, but Emily still shares her favourite images on her Instagram feed and there is so much goodness over on that tag that it’s definitely worth doing if you love botanicals, work with anything floral, have a garden studio or ever pass through a pretty garden :) To take part, just share a floral picture on Instagram on a Friday and add the #floralfridaycompetition tag.

 

#marchmeetthemaker Day 3: Workspace. My workspace for drawing/cutting/collaging/sewing is my lap, or the kitchen table. I have two iMacs (one geriatric, one newer) that I use for digital tinkering. This is my garage studio, where I make my prints on paper. The photos is from a when it was (briefly) tidy many moons ago. My dad helped my make the vacuum table from an old Formica table top, the milk bottle carton counterweight means the screen stays up when I lift it (without me balancing it on my head!). The big skunk grower's light to expose the screen is suspended from the ceiling on pulleys and is out of shot. The drying rack on the opposite wall was a fab purchase, gone are the days of leaving inky prints all over the house to dry. My tools and bits and bobs are within arms reach and my Grandma's statue of Our Lady keeps a watchful eye on me while I work. #marchmeetthemakerday3 #workspace #studio #screenprinting #squeegee #ourlady #clogs #joiedevivre #makersgonnamake #folksystudio #myworkwall #heathrobinson

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#marchmeetthemaker
Joanne Hawker first launched her #MarchMeetTheMaker challenge in 2016 and this year it was bigger than ever. Joanne explains how it works: “March Meet The Maker is an Instagram challenge that takes place throughout the month of March every year. I set a theme for each day (these are released in advance so people can plan ahead) and then designer makers create a post about themselves and their business based on that theme. The idea behind it is to simply tell your small business story. It’s all about showing and telling people what you do, why you do it and where you create it.”

Read more about Joanne Hawker’s #marchmeetthemaker challenge in our interview > 

 

#INKtober 
Created by artist @jakeparker in 2009 as a challenge to improve her drawing skills and develop positive drawing habits, thousands of artists now take in the challenge every year. “Anyone can do InkTober, just pick up a pen and start drawing and fill the 31 days of October with 31 ink drawings.” Read more at inktober.com

 

We have a winner! And eight rather wonderful runners-up, or is that runner-ups?? #sgiew_simplicity⠀ ⠀ A good turnout, thank you everyone who joined in, (new #sgiew theme later tonight, just got to squeeze a run in, and a haircut, and supper) – So – @ZoePower had over 800 photos to choose from!!! So many gorgeous images, however these nine caught Zoe's eye for their simplicity, space and calmness.⠀ ⠀ From left to right and top to bottom, giving you x14 creative instagrammers to follow:⠀ ⠀ @ehpyle⠀ @henryliebtlotta⠀ @tesslovesflowers⠀ @lisaerinwoodson⠀ @pears39⠀ @rekersdreesdesign⠀ @monica_cutraro_photography⠀ @mauskewicz⠀ @ttsbie⠀ ⠀ The winner is the centre shot – @pears39 – please do contact Zoe, and let her know which two prints you would like for your prize! Thanks again from you @sogoodineveryway hosts, @incredibusy @redtedart and @willowdaygram and a big thanks to everyone who joined in to make Zoe's job so hard this week! xx⠀ ⠀ #cherishandrelish_april #ccseasonal #thefloralseasons #aquietstyle_spring #savouringtheseason #embracingtheseasons #signsofspring #springblooms #springhassprung #tfispring #livecolorfully #pastelsquares #ihavethisthingwithpink #abmlifeiscolorful #popyacolour #prettiestpastels #capturingcolour #colorcolourlovers #seedscolor #sgiew_simplicity #myeverydaymagic #mymagicalmorning #inspiredbypetals #underthefloralspell

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#sgiew (So Good In Every Way)
#sgiew is an Instagram challenge intended to celebrate the good things in life. It’s a collaborative challenge run by @incredibusy and @willowdaygram and there are usually some really good prizes on offer. The challenge changes every fortnight when a new suffix (eg #sgiew_SlowLived) is added – you can find the current theme at @sogoodineveryway.

 

{favourite tools}. Do you have a favourite? It really depends on what project I'm doing. I currently love no. 3 which is great for fluting and whittling away clay, which is so meditative and a skill that I would like to hone this year. Nos 7 and 8 are my trusty faithful, for making almost perfect holes in clay. And as a relatively new person to the wheel no. 5 is so useful to see how thick the base is whilst throwing. . This pic was inspired by this month's co-host of #wipsandblooms_tools @graceandflora. We would love to see more of a focus on your favourite tools, whilst you are making. I'm hoping to do some videos of me on the wheel – if I tell you here I will feel more obliged to do it! You're all my accountability partners! (More info on the challenge on my blog or a few posts back). . #knolling #thingsarrangedneatly #byarrangement #myfavouritetools #feelingfolksy #etsybham #etsyseller #inspiredbynature_ #makersmovement #wemakecollective #cylcollective #increativemoments #paperdollshandmade #makelightmakers #ceramics #ktrobbinsceramics #porcelain #wipsandblooms

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#wipsandblooms
#wipsandblooms is the perfect Instagram challenge for makers, as it’s a chance to show your works in progress styled alongside some botanicals or blooms. It’s run by Folksy seller Katie Robbins aka @ceramicmagpie and there’s often a monthly guest judge and a prize. For example, during June the theme is tools, fellow Folksy seller Kate Harvey from @graceandflora is guest judging, the prize is a piece of her jewellery, and to be eligible for the prize you need to use the #wipsandblooms_tools hashtag.

Katie tells us more about her hashtag challenge and why she started it here > 

 

#myweekof…
Every week @its_my_week announce a new Instagram challenge that anyone can join in with. You can post as often as you like and they share their favourites throughout the week and then in a big grid recap at the end of the week. Past themes include #myweekofblackandbright #myweekofweather #myweekofbrights #myweekofpastel

 

A little more shell faffery for you this morning folks 🐚🐚🐚 And my bleeding hearts just had to get a look in – they are looking so amazing at the moment ♡ It still boggles my mind a little that they completely disappear over the winter and then have a massive growth spurt in early spring – they are huge now! ♡ :: One for #mybeautifulsimplicity – I'll be back later to share some favourites, so do keep tagging away ♡ . . . #thingsarrangedneatly #collectedtreasure #natureflatlays #simplenaturefinds #prettiestpastels #flatlay #stilllifegallery #byarrangement #stillswithstories #styleonmytable #simpleandstill #foreverfaffing #petalsandprops #myflatlaysandfinds #justbefloral #inspiredbypetals #livecolorfully #pastelsquares #abmlifeiscolorful #popyacolour #capturingcolour #colorcolourlovers #colormehappy #candyminimal #seedscolor #pinkwhitepastel #howihue #dicentra

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#mybeautifulsimplicity
#mybeautifulsimplicity is a relatively new Instagram challenge run by photographer, blogger and designer @zoepower. For her challenge, Zoe is looking for beautiful, simple images that feel calm and free from clutter. Think flatlays, simple still lives and landscapes with lots of sky and room to breathe.

 

#hurrayforplay
When Instagram royalty @me_and_orla and @xantheb came together to collaborate on an Instagram project, something brilliant was bound to happen. #hurrayforplay was the result and it ran throughout May 2017 with weekly prompts designed to let you play, have fun and explore through your photographs. Although the initial challenge is now over, the hashtag is still in going strong and Sara and Xanthe are hoping to repeat the challenge with new prompts and ideas soon. Read more about the #hurrayforplay project on Xanthe’s blog here http://www.xantheberkeley.com/hurrayforplay-in-may/ and on Sara’s blog here http://meandorla.co.uk/hurrayforplay-2/

 

Other hashtags to join in with if you’re a maker…

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Even more fabulous images from our #wipandblooms challenge with @ceramicmagpie: from top left @janiceissitt_life_style  @deborahvasspainting  @elliepressuk  @little.black.heart

Here are some other great Instagram hashtags to join in with if you’re a maker or looking for creative inspiration. Remember to only use the most relevant hashtags when sharing a post on Instagram.

 

Find more good hashtags for designers and makers here >

Get lots more advice on Instagram and Instagram hashtags here >

Thinking of starting your own Instagram hashtag Challenge? Read this >

 

Do you know any great Instagram Challenges or photo projects that we’ve missed out in our round-up? Which ones are your favourites? Maybe you run your own hashtag challenge. Let us know by leaving a comment and we can add it to our list!

 

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