• Washington DC Cherry Blossoms: Instagrammers Guide

    Peak bloom is officially announced! This year’s prediction puts peak bloom between March 22nd and 25th, 2023. Weather can, of course, adjust this so you may see blooms earlier and later but the experts over at BloomWatch will have daily updates so follow them on socials and keep up-to-date. Also check in on the Bloom Cam any time of day.

    The National Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled for March 18th through April 16th.

    Some of our favorite Cherry Blossom events to photograph are below:

    Cherry Blossom Festival Events (2022)

    Kite Festival, March 26, 10am–4:30pm at the Washington Monument.

    This event is very popular and gets BUSY but while you’re dodging kite launches you can get some great photos.

    Kite Festival

    Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, April 9, 10am–12pm, Constitution Ave between 7th and 17th Streets.

    There is so much to enjoy here, including floats, balloons, performers and marching bands.

    Cherry Blossom Parade by @vpickering

    Petalpalooza, April 16, 1pm–9pm, Navy Yard

    A day of celebrations for all-ages brings art, music, and play to multiple outdoor stages, interactive art installations, a beer garden, crafts and more. The evening is capped by dazzling fireworks you won’t want to miss.

    Petalpalooza by @vpickering

    Petal Porches, March 20–April 17, city-wide

    The super fun Petal Porches is coming back for its second year. DC residents are invited to unleash their creativity and celebrate their springtime spirit by decorating their home. Register to participate, drive around and visit the porches and vote for your favorite in the People’s Petal Porch for each Ward. And this year, IGDC will form the judge’s panel for the Prime Petal Porch category by touring and judging the finalists from all DC Wards, Maryland and Virginia!

    Here are some of our favorite locations to photograph the blooms:

    Tidal Basin

    Cherry Blossom Tidal Basin by @MeaganEstep

    The clear winner here is the Tidal Basin Cherry Blossoms, which is surrounded by cherry trees gifted from the Mayor of Tokyo to Washington, DC as a gesture of friendship 110 years ago. The best time to capture the blossoms here is at sunrise; you will beat the crowds and can get beautiful light.

    Want to help preserve the Cherry Blossoms? Make a Donation to the National Mall

    Kenwood, MD

    Over 1,200 cherry trees flank the streets in this neighborhood. It is BUSY and street parking is limited so plan to do a fair amount of walking. If you visit, keep in mind this is a neighborhood and be respectful of people’s yards and property.

    Congressional Cemetery

    In the middle of the cemetery, surrounding the chapel near the front gate, is a beautiful canopy of cherry trees. While this is an historical and active burial ground, the cemetery is a popular spot for the community and even has a dog walking membership program.In full bloom you can get great photos with the occasional canine model.

    Martin Luther King, Jr. & FDR Memorial

    Both memorials are found along the Tidal Basin so don’t miss the chance to wander into each memorial as you walk around the Basin. The trees surrounding both memorials offer great framing for the monuments inside.

    Thanks for reading our Instagrammers guide to the DC Cherry Blossoms. If you have any questions about the blossoms let us know in the comments below!

  • Best 17 Gardens in DC: The Instagrammers Guide


    Best 17 Gardens in DC: The Instagrammers Guide

    Get the most out of spring in DC with this list of the best gardens in Washington DC.

    For being a relatively small city, Washington DC is full of unique and beautiful gardens. You just gotta get out there and explore them. This guide will help you find some of the best blooms around the district, so pack your camera and put on your walking shoes because these are some of the best places to spend an afternoon in the city.

    Here are the best gardens in DC:

    U.S. Botanic Garden

    DC Botanic Garden

    By far one of the most unique gardens in DC is the U.S. Botanic Garden. The orchid exhibit is not to be missed but our favorite is the conservatory room. Spoiler alert: Mrs. Peacock did, in fact, kill Professor Plum with the lead pipe here – Just Joking. But definitely take the time to explore this part of the Botanic Garden. It can get a little hot and steamy in here, but the vegetation is overwhelmingly beautiful. Plus it’s located on the east side of the National Mall making it easy to visit.

    U.S. Botanic Garden on Google Maps

    National Arboretum

    Capitol columns at the Arboretum

    Fun fact, the current U.S. Capitol dome is way bigger than originally planned. The larger dome of the Capitol was not able to be supported by the columns that had already been built so they had to scrap the columns altogether. The National Arboretum has benefited from the error and now you can see the original Capitol columns right in the middle of the 412 acres of land. It makes for a very cool place to check out any time of the year.

    National Arboretum on Google Maps

    Meridian Hill Park

    Meridian Hill Park is one of DC’s most central parks. Located just a few blocks from U street it’s a common area to enjoy some greenery. Built in the early 1900’s this 12-acre parks hosts a slew of events and a large fountain on the southside.

    Meridian Hill Park on Google Maps

    Congressional Cemetery

    One popular row of cherry blossom trees in Congressional Cemetery is often Instagrammed. When you visit the front gate will appear closed but all you have to do is flip a switch to get in during the day. You’ll notice plenty of people walking their dogs since it’s a great place to walk your dog without a leash. Periodically they will only be open to dog walking members which you can check the status of on their website.

    Congressional Cemetery on Google Maps

    Constitution Gardens

    If you ever needed a quiet place to just sit and watch some ducks swim past, check out Constitution Gardens. It is located very close to the WWII memorial at the National Mall however it seems to be tucked away so much that it’s rarely ever busy. A great place to just sit and relax with a stunning view of the Washington Monument.

    Constitution Gardens on Google Maps

    Enid A. Haupt Garden (Smithsonian Gardens)

    Outside of the Moongate Garden inside the Enid A Haupt Garden by @abpanphoto

    If you think the DC Cherry Blossoms are beautiful, you are definitely going to fall in love with the Magnolias at the Enid A Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle. It is as if you’re walking around in a pink cloud of dreams. The Magnolias typically blew a couple of weeks before the Cherry Blossom peak bloom.

    Enid A. Haupt Garden on Google Maps

    Theodore Roosevelt Island

    Theodore Roosevelt Island is full of walking trails and a large statue of Roosevelt himself. Located on the Potomac River you can access the island via a footbridge from the parking lot.

    Roosevelt Island on Google Maps

    Anacostia Park

    Anacostia Park by @austinkgraff

    With basketball and tennis courts, there is plenty to do at Anacostia Park which is located over the river in Southeast DC. Whether it’s picnicking or just relaxing the huge 1,200-acre green space has plenty to explore, including a roller-skate pavilion.

    Anacostia Park on Google Maps

    Rock Creek Park

    Stone bridge in Rock Creek Park by @abpanphoto

    If you’ve only heard of Rock Creek Park from the TV and movies, you may get a shady impression of the park. In reality, it’s over 3 miles of beautiful trees, streams, and nature bordering the state of Maryland. At any given time you will find dogs on walks, birds chirping and people enjoying many of the outdoor recreation facilities. Rock Creek Park is a popular destination during fall in DC.

    Rock Creek Park on Google Maps

    White House Gardens

    Public gardens North of the White House by @austinkgraff

    On the North and South sides of the White House are gardens for the public to visit. During the spring visitors can get White House garden tours that let them see the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, Kitchen Garden, and south lawn which are only accessible through a tour.

    White House Gardens on Google Maps

    Hillwood Museum & Gardens

    Hillwood Estate is full of things to explore including a museum and multiple gardens. The main gardens include a Japanese garden, cutting garden, greenhouse, and even a putting green.

    When entering Hillwood you’ll be asked for a suggested donation of $16 which can be paid with a credit card.

    Hillwood Estate on Google Maps

    Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

    Lotus Flower at Kenilworth Park by @abpanphoto

    If you ever find yourself east of the river, check out Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens. Our favorite is the aquatic gardens in the summertime. The lotus flowers are beautiful and can actually grow up to 6-8 feet.

    Kenilworth Gardens on Google Maps

    Washington National Cathedral Gardens

    The gardens at the National Cathedral are thriving in the spring and are a blast to explore. Plus the National Cathedral in the background of your photos adds a great subject.

    National Cathedral Gardens on Google Maps

    Dumbarton Oaks

    When people think Georgetown, they usually think trendy stores and coffee shops with college kids running amok, but when it comes down to it, it’s a beautiful place to be. And Dumbarton Oaks just adds so much more to the beauty. Standing at the highest point in Georgetown, walking around this property will make you forget you’re even in a city.

    Dumbarton Oaks on Google Maps

    Brookside Gardens

    Located just outside of DC in Maryland is Brookside Gardens. With unique trees, Japanese tea house, and butterfly exhibit Brookside gardens is a hidden gem of the area. Brookside gardens is also popular in the spring for their tulips on display.

    During the spring the gardens are full of lush flower beds to explore.

    Brookside Gardens on Google Maps

    Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

    A little less than 20 miles outside of DC, Meadowlark Botanical Garden in Vienna, Virginia is a great place to spend a beautiful afternoon. With 95 acres of land, there’s plenty to see and admire. My favorite time to visit is in the springtime when the cherry blossom trees are blooming. It’s far less crowded than what you will experience in the city but you also pay for the admission ($6). One of the highlights of the entire garden is the lake in the center of the park. It’s great to sit in the little gazebo that extends into the water and watch the Koi fish swim around.

    Meadowlark Gardens on Google Maps

    The Yards Park

    If you’re looking to cool down on a hot day or just enjoy the waterfront the Yards Park is a perfect choice. Yards Park in Navy Yard features a tiny waterfall, public area to play in the water, and a unique bridge that makes for a fun spot to enjoy the sunset.

    They also have a great ice cream shop, bars, and restaurants. Since it’s located right next to Nats park we’d recommend stopping by the Yards if you’re heading to a game.

    The Yards Park on Google Maps

    If there are any parks or gardens we missed let us know in the comments below!

  • The 14 Best Cocktail Bars in DC: the Instagrammers Guide

    Beer is to Portland, Denver, Asheville, and Grand Rapids as cocktails are to Washington, D.C. Even as more breweries and distilleries emerge throughout the city, Washingtonians still like their cocktails. Whether it’s the bars on Capitol Hill catering to politicians or the outdoor patios on U Street for young professionals, both worlds center menus around cocktails.

    After living in the city for 12+ years and consuming more than just a few cocktails, I’ve ranked the best cocktail bars in DC around four categories:

    1. Quality of cocktails
    2. Vibe: the atmosphere it creates
    3. Neighborhood: how accessible and entertaining the neighborhood is (afterall, most cocktail bars are just one stop in a long arrangement of evening plans)
    4. Gram-ability: how photogenic the bar it is (since this blog is published by and for the DC Instagram community).

    As you read through the list, keep in mind this is one person’s opinion. I see dissent as a good thing. The fact that people will disagree with my picks means our city has a lot to offer.

    We have such a strong cocktail bar scene that it’s impossible to objectively decide on the top.

    Nonetheless, here is my list of the best cocktail bars in Washington DC:

    CopyCat Co on H Street NE

    Copycat Co. (Photo credit: @hellococktails)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Although Copy Cat’s menu offers a wide range of classic cocktails, many patrons go with bartender’s choice, a sure sign of trust in the quality of cocktails. The bartender will ask you one or two questions about preferences and will return with a drink perfect for you. The wide range of knowledge among the bartenders caters to all types from liquor forward to sweet drinks. It’s often reported that the top bartenders in the city go to CopyCat for a drink.

    Vibes: 4 out of 5

    • The bottom floor is a small Chinese street food shop selling potstickers, bao, and skewers. Take the stairs to the second level to discover the bar. They keep the tight space unassuming by ushering a small bowl of goldfish crackers to each table.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • If you don’t live near H Street NE, it can feel like a hike, but once there, there are plenty of bars and restaurants to hop from. The street offers top rated ramen, delicious pies, and even indoor putt-putt golf. There’s plenty to keep your evening going.

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • CopyCat is unassuming. It’s not divey, but there aren’t any colorful mosaics and marble bar counters like other D.C. cocktail bars. It’s small, dark, and not conducive to photography. I love that about CopyCat, but if you’re going for the ‘gram, think again. The only way to get a decent photo is by using the candles on each table to light it.
    CopyCat on Google Maps

    Las Gemelas in Union Market

    Las Gemelas by @austinkgraff

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • “The Twins” in Spanish, Las Gemelas is two restaurants- a taqueria and a more fancy restaurant/bar. The taqueria’s menu includes different kinds of margaritas- classic, mezcal, skinny and frozen strawberry coconut. The fancy restaurant/bar crafts eight different cocktails using ingredients like dragonfruit, clarified pineapple and pomegranate. Cocktails are $7 during happy hour and hit all palates.

    Vibes: 4 out of 5

    • Located within La Cosecha, a Latin American food hall and market, Las Gemelas comes with flair. A massive outdoor patio at both, customers enjoy their cocktails while watching the hustle and bustle of nearby Union Market. The design inside and out brings Latin America to Washington, D.C.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • With Union Market, a top food hall, and La Cosecha, the area is vibrant. There are the original mom and pop shops of Union Market like Mexican Fruits selling fresh produce and new restaurants and shops like St. Anselm and Byrdland Records. With large parking lots, bikeshare stations and the NoMa- Gallaudet U Metro Station nearby, it’s an easy area to find.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • With slick tiles and fluorescent lights, it’s always summer at Las Gemelas. Add a spacious outdoor patio and bright cocktails, it’s easy to snap a good photograph.
    Las Gemelas on Google Maps

    Trouble Bird in Navy Yard

    Trouble Bird by @austinkgraff

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Ranging between $14 and $17 for their normal cocktails, fourteen cocktails grace the menu, including two frozen and two large format drinks. Most cocktails are organized into two categories- “Breakfast For Dinner” and “Classics-ish.” Classics come with a spin like the avocado and bay leaf in the daiquiri. (It’s refreshingly sour!) 

    Vibe: 4 out of 5 

    • The space is small, but it works. With quirky wallpaper and dimly-lit lights, the space is simple yet beautiful. There’s a small bar with seating, a few high top tables and cushioned seats along the side wall. Service is chill yet masterful in their craft, rubbing confidence off of every patron. One thing to note is that sometimes the music is playing very loudly so plan accordingly. 

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • Rapidly-developing Navy Yard is the bud of every D.C. joke with its high rise apartment buildings and manicured park, but no one can fault them for having many restaurants, an outdoor museum about transportation, the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, and proximity to the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station. 

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • The dim space creates a photography challenge, but if you use the candles on the tables strategically, you’re bound to get a good shot. The quirky wallpaper and plants placed throughout make for good photos.
    @troublebirddc on Instagram
    Trouble Bird on Google Maps

    Denson Liquor Bar in Chinatown

    Denson Liquor Bar (Photo credit: @calzasofrench)

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • There are nine cocktails on the menu each well balanced and complex. Most are between $15-$16, but the caviar martini costs $26. The bartenders can also mix you any off the menu cocktail.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • It’s in the basement of a Chinatown building giving it a speakeasy feel. There’s a long bar in the back with small tables scattered throughout. It can get crowded, but if you get a booth, it’s perfect for a small group of friends.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • It’s not as hip as Shaw or Dupont Circle, but there is plenty to do in Chinatown. Denson Liquor Bar is right next to the Capital One Arena making it a great spot after a concert or game.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The lights are dimmed, but what you can see is gorgeous. The bar itself, with its low lighting and beautiful countertop, is worth photographing.
    Denson Liquor Bar on Google Maps

    600T in Shaw

    600T Cocktail bar (Photo Credit: @ann_adventure)

    Cocktails: 3 out of 5

    • Priding themselves in creating “innovative cocktails,” 600T’s menu is 30+ cocktails deep, including an entire section for martinis. Each cocktail is an art piece, coming in fancy glasses and garnishes. As you navigate down the menu, notice the symbols noting which liquor comes from minority-owned companies. The “Singani Ice” is a refreshing summer cocktail fruit forward. Where some of the cocktails lack balance, they make up for it in creativity.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • 600T is what you want a cocktail bar in Washington, D.C. to be. In the basement of a rowhouse, you walk into a dark, candle-lit space with speakeasy vibes. There’s an outdoor back patio decorated with a newly-painted mural.

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • Right next to the Howard Theater, it’s in Shaw, a lively neighborhood close to the U Street Metro Station and a plethora of bars and restaurants. Being in a popular neighborhood, reservations are recommended.

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • Giving off speakeasy vibes, you’ll want to take out your camera to document the evening. However, lighting can be tough at 600T. If you take a photo, use the candles and table lights to light your cocktail. It will make the detail of the cocktail pop more.
    600T on Google Maps

    Cotton & Reed near Union Market

    Cotton & Reed Cocktail Bar (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • The drink menu is written on the wall and changes often. Being a rum distillery, most of their drinks include rum (usually white rum). The bartenders are nice and make you feel part of the Cotton & Reed family.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • It’s in a restored warehouse literally across the street from Union Market, D.C.’s beloved food hall. It gives off an industrial feel, and the bartenders are kind. They also offer distillery tours.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • It’s right next door to Union Market, D.C.’s largest food hall. However, outside of that, there isn’t much nearby unless you want to walk to Ivy City to the north or NoMa to the west.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Because it’s well lit, the high ceiling and exposed pipes make for a good Instagram photo. For the real money shot, take it from the outside looking in when the giant window is up during the summer.
    Cotton & Reed on Google Maps

    barmini in Penn Quarter

    barmini cocktail (Photo credit: @canonhirschler)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Arguably the most innovative cocktails in Washington, D.C., barmini’s menu includes 100 of them, including several cocktail flights. With such a large menu, these are some of the best cocktails DC has to offer and there is something truly something for everyone on the menu. If you’re overwhelmed, asked the bartender to guide you.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • Don’t let the sterile building fool you. Once inside, you’re in what seems more like a quirky science lab (cocktails can be seen mixed in beekers). To further the quirks, each chair is different from the chair with antlers to the swinging nest chair.

    Neighborhood: 3 out of 5

    • Penn Quarter is built for day time workers, but more and more restaurants open later are opening nearby. Close to the National Mall and near key hotels, there’s growing incentive to expand the food scene in this part of town, but the boom hasn’t come yet.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • If you want to wow your followers, snap a photo of your colorful drink or the quirky chair you’re sitting on. The bar with it’s science lab feel makes for a stunning photo too.
    barmini on Google Maps

    Morris American Bar in Mt. Vernon Square

    Morris American Bar (Photo credit: @coryandthecity)

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • Every cocktail is $13 and most use three ingredients creating a simple, yet bold drink. You can’t go wrong from their seasonal menu, but if you’re daring, ask the bartender to make you a drink off menu. You won’t be disappointed.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • If the Great Gatsby visited Washington, D.C., he’d come here. This bar is more fancy than the others, but the bartenders make you feel welcomed (even if you’re dressed more casually). It’s a great spot for an after work cocktail with a colleague.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • At first glance, the neighborhood seems dominated by the Convention Center. However, if you look past that, you’ll find Blagden Alley and Shaw are within walking distance offering some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • This bar is literally inside the Convention Center, which is in need of a design refresh. Despite that, Morris American Bar is shockingly beautiful. The simple tables play well against the blue tiles on the walls.
    Morris American Bar on Google Maps

    All Souls Bar in Shaw

    All Souls Bar (Photo credit: @graves33)

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • Their website says they craft “simple cocktails with care.” They may be simple, but they aren’t sparse. There are 34 cocktails on the menu with numbers rather than names. Each for $10, you can order the “No 1” or the “No 34.” If you’re adventurous, the No 11 includes smokey pickled carrot.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • If hipsters built a dive bar, it would be All Souls. It’s no-frills in design and attitude, yet clean and inviting. There’s a wrap around bar and the menu says there’s an open food policy (you can bring outside food in).

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • It’s in Shaw, which is home to a number of good restaurants and bars. If you want even more options, U Street is just around the corner offering dozens and dozens of after hour restaurants and bars. On weekends, it’s an especially lively scene.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The no-frills design plays to its favor. The brick walls, wrap around bar, and frosted globe lights make for a good photo.
    All Souls Bar on Google Maps

    Jane Jane in Logan Circle

    Cocktails: 4 out of 5

    • Organized by liquor, there are 34 different cocktails on the menu, including two non-alcoholic ones. They have five house cocktails and cocktails mixed with gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, vodka and cognac. Offering a diverse menu, there’s something for every taste. Enjoying more sweet and sour drinks, the margarita came recommended. For a stiffer drink, order the “Saratoga,” a cognac and rye whiskey drink made with angostura bitters.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • In a small space along a busy street, Jane Jane is cozy. The staff welcome you like family and guide you through the menu. Adding to the homey feel is a snack menu that includes favorites like house made pimento cheese and onion dip. From the design to the menu, it gives welcoming vibes.  

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • A short ten-minute walk from the U Street Metro, it’s along Logan Circle’s 14th Street NW. Surrounded by countless restaurants, shops and bars, the neighborhood is one that you can make a night of it. 

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • It’s small, but well designed. The tiles on the floor go up the wall into vintage wallpaper that just works. Booths for parties of four, tables for two in the back, bar seating and window seating, they make good use of the space. Find an excuse to use their all-gender bathrooms. With yellow tiles and vintage wallpaper, they could very well win a bathroom design award. (Do those exist?)
    Jane Jane on Google Maps

    Gravitas in Ivy City

    Gravitas (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • In fine dining, you’d assume all the energy goes to the food. Nope, not here. The cocktails are just as good. If you like sweeter drinks, order the Southern Butterfly or the Water Lily. The first comes with origami art and the second is the most complex sweet cocktail in the city. For an excellent stiff drink, order the Chesapeake Rum Runnin’.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • “Stunning.” It’s what you say when you walk into this former warehouse. The bar is in the very front with simple seating in the back. There are a few tables in the loft, and they recently opened a rooftop garden where cocktails are served. Since it’s a fancy restaurant, expect impeccable service.

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • The Metro doesn’t go to Ivy City, and parking can be hard to find, but if you do venture out, there’s plenty to keep you occupied. This neighborhood is where most of the city’s distilleries are, including female-owned Republic Restorative and local gin maker New Columbia Distillery.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • The bar’s backdrop is a white washed brick wall, open ceiling, and glasses, bottles and plants perfectly placed on five wooden shelves. If the hanging plants throughout the restaurant aren’t enough, photograph the loft. Every corner is worth capturing.
    Gravitas on Google Maps

    Silver Lyan in Penn Quarter 

    Silver Lyan (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • From an award-winning mixologist and his passionate team comes a menu with fan favorite cocktails, classy Jell-O shots and a D.C.-inspired menu. If you flip through the D.C.-inspired cocktails, each one honors the local D.C. that many tourists don’t see like the go-go music-inspired drink. There’s even a cocktail celebrating D.C.’s Ethiopian community. 

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • Inside the historic bank that helped purchase Alaska from Russia, Silver Lyan is in an old vault. Pass a giant gumball machine into a dimly-lit space with a bar and two dining rooms. The back room is decorated by trophies won by women lining lit glass cabinets. The vibe screams speakeasy with an accessible class. 

    Neighborhood: 4 out of 5

    • Located in Penn Quarter, you won’t find as much culture as neighborhoods like Columbia Heights, Congress Heights or H Street N.E. But you will find museums, sculptures, fine dining and several Metro stations, making Silver Lyan accessible to all. 

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Historic bank, giant gum ball machine, speakeasy vibes, Silver Lyan is easy on the ‘gram. It’s dark, but the appropriately placed lights help photos shine. Ask the bartender for the back story of your drink for a more in-depth caption.
    Silver Lyan on Google Maps

    O.K.P.B. in Mount Pleasant

    OKPB (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Every Monday through Saturday, the bartenders at O.K.P.B., Mount Pleasant’s new
      speakeasy write the cocktail menu on a piece of paper attached to a clipboard. The
      menu describes five rotating cocktails and a “bartender’s choice,” each $14. Order
      the bartender’s choice. It’s the truest test of a bar worth their salt. O.K.P.B. hits the
      mark every time. Order one, two, three, each will be different, stretch your palate
      and leave you wanting a fourth.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • It’s a true speakeasy as modern speakeasies come. Above a dentist office, ring the
      doorbell. A bartender will open it, take your name and text you when a table is
      ready. It’s first come, first served. Once inside, you’ll enter a dim, small space with a
      few tables and a bar in the back. The lighting, décor and atmosphere speak intimate,
      yet approachable. It feels like an old friend.

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • It’s along Mount Pleasant’s main street surrounded by local restaurants, bars and
      shops. If there’s a wait, walk down Mount Pleasant Street N.W. and stop into The
      Raven, a beloved neighborhood dive bar. Or find the many murals on the sides of
      buildings and down alleys. Or wander the neighborhood finding grand houses built
      a hundred years ago.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The very dim light makes it hard to capture photos, but if you’re strategic about the
      little lighting, a photo will pop. The simple, yet quirky decorations on the walls (and
      in the bathrooms) work.

    O.K.P.B. on Google Maps

    Astoria DC in Dupont Circle

    Astoria (Photo credit: @austinkgraff)

    Cocktails: 5 out of 5

    • Bartenders often say they unwind at H Street NE’s CopyCat. When its owner decided to open Astoria, the competition started to sweat. Borrowing from a similar cocktail menu as CopyCat, the drinks are consistent, balanced, and just darn good.

    Vibes: 5 out of 5

    • Astoria welcomes all. When you walk in, you’ll notice the royal blue booths the and white tile floors. Before you are intimidated, notice the bartenders are dressed casually. They also cook really good (and spicy) food like the chili wontons.

    Neighborhood: 5 out of 5

    • It’s along Dupont Circle’s 17th Street with plenty to do nearby. Within several blocks from Astoria DC is a quirky frozen yogurt shop (Mr. Yogato), a Nordic cafe (Mikko), and Thai fine dining (Little Serow). If all else fails, take a stroll through Dupont Circle enjoying the brownstones and embassies.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • The space is small, but the beauty great. It has everything an Instagrammer would want from royal blue booths and chairs that pop to a mosaic sign along the bar. The lighting is not as dim as other bars encouraging photography.
    Astoria DC on Google Maps

    Since DC is full of so many great cocktail bars this list could easily been much longer. While you’re heading out for a cocktail in DC you should also check out these instagrammable spots in DC.

    Let us know your favorite cocktail bar in the comments!

  • The 18 Most Instagrammable Places in Washington DC

    We all know how hard it can be to fill your Instagram feed with beautiful photos. 📷

    After years of featuring photos on Instagram via IGDC we’ve found some of the best places to photograph in DC. From typical places like the Tidal Basin and Washington Monument to less travelled spots like Blind Whino and Blagden Alley there is something here for locals and travelers.

    So grab your camera and hop on the metro;
    here are our favorite places to Instagram in Washington DC:

    1. Culture House DC (formerly Blind Whino)

    DC’s most colorful church can easily turn heads with its incredible mural. In addition to the exterior; Blind Whino also offers art shows inside which can be found on their website.

    700 Delaware Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

    Blind Whino in DC by @golightly

    2. The National Arboretum

    On a nice day a stop by the National Arboretum is a must. With acres of scenic fields, trails, and the Capitol Columns you can spend a couple of hours exploring the Arboretum.

    The Arboretum also holds a collection of unique bonsai trees that can be viewed seasonally.

    3501 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002

    3. Union Market

    Union Market is full of unique shops, coffee shops, and food stands but the outside is remarkable. Covered in murals that change periodically you’re sure to find something to Instagram (plus you can grab an ice cream at Trickling Springs).

    One of the most popular sights at Union Market is the heart wall full of rainbow hearts that was created by Mr. Brainwash for International Women’s Day in 2015.

    1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002

    4. US Capitol

    The Capitol is hard to miss, in the heart of DC the United States Capitol looks great at anytime of day. Plus if you’re awake for sunrise the Capitol Reflecting Pool offers a fantastic reflection of the Capitol and sky. If you’ve never been to the Capitol it should be high on your list, take a walk around the entire building for its full affect.

    East Capitol St NE & First St SE, Washington, DC 20004

    There is much to explore in the National Gallery of Art. Some of the most notable things to see are the light tunnel in the basement and the giant blue Rooster on the roof of the East building. The west building is also full of stunning halls and historical pieces of artwork.

    6th & Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565

    6. The Line Hotel

    DC Instagrammers love stopping by the lobby of the Line Hotel with their unique stairway with mirror in the corner. They also have a cute coffee shop in the lobby and occasionally have events on the rooftop.

    1770 Euclid St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    Right next to the Capital One Arena in Chinatown is the National Portrait Gallery. Full of impressive hallways and courtyards the Portrait Gallery has plenty of unique art exhibits to photograph.

    8th St NW & F St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    Kogod courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery

    8. US Botanic Garden

    If you love greenery the Botanic Garden should be right up your alley. With different rooms featuring different environments and unique series of plants it’s a no brainer to stop by. Plus if you’re visiting the Capitol it’s only a few blocks away.

    In addition to plants the Botanic Garden is also decorated for holidays.

    100 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20001

    Main courtyard of the Botanic Garden

    9. The Watermelon House

    This colorful house is hard to miss with its massive watermelon mural on the side. Whether you’re just taking a photo of the mural or doing a #watermelonjumps it’s a blast to see this colorful mural.

    1112 Q St NW, Washington, DC 20009

    10. Love Mural in Blagden Alley

    Blagden Alley is loaded with interesting murals, make sure to stop by La Colombe which is one of DC’s best coffee shops.

    Blagden Alley, Washington, DC 20001

    Love Mural in Blagden Alley

    11. Lincoln Memorial and Reflecting Pool

    The National Mall is a must stop especially the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial. Open all day and night the Reflecting Pool is a awe-inspiring spot everyone should visit at least once.

    2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20024

    12. CityCenterDC

    The main alley of CityCenterDC is always decorated for the season, from winter to fall there is always something to photograph at City Center.

    825 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

    13. The Wave Wall in Georgetown

    The huge wave mural on the side of a row home in Georgetown is great for taking a portrait in front of.

    3510 O St NW, Washington, DC 20007

    14. The Bridge at Yards Park

    The Yards park has great restaurants but also an impressive bridge that is perfect for portraits.

    355 Water St SE, Washington, DC 20003

    15. Call Your Mother in Georgetown

    It’s hard to miss this giant pink building in Georgetown. This colorful building houses Call Your Mother which is known for their delicious bagels.

    3428 O St NW, Washington, DC 20007

    16. Chinatown Friendship Arch

    The massive Friendship Arch in Chinatown is a staggering archway that is impressive day or night.

    H St NW & 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

    17. Union Station

    The grand hall in Union Station has beautifully painted gold ceilings.

    Union Station, Washington DC

    18. Artechouse

    One of the newest interactive experiences in DC is Artechouse which features large displays projected on walls.

    1238 Maryland Ave SW, Washington, DC 20024

    ARTECHOUSE’s In Peak Bloom exhibit by @golightly

    For more Instagram inspiration in Washington DC be sure to check out the #IGDC feed and to tag your photos.

    Let us know your favorite places to Instagram in the comments!

  • The 13 Best Coffee Shops in DC: | The Instagrammers Guide

    If you excluded Starbucks, Washington, D.C. was a coffee shop desert when I first moved here in 2007. Fast forward to 2021, there’s a plethora of quality coffee shops, most of which are independent. In fact, there’s so many good coffee shops that writing a blog of the top 13 is bound to be controversial. There’s such coffee shop diversity that everyone has their favorite one. It means the DC coffee wave is in high tide. ☕️

    Because I have a coffee problem, I’ve visited them all (literally). I’ve ranked this list of the best DC coffee shops based on coffee, vibe (atmosphere, service, and amenities), accessibility (how easy it is to get to without a car) and Instagram-ability.

    Here’s my list of best DC coffee shops in descending order:

    Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville, MD

    Photo of Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville
    Vigilante Coffee in Hyattsville by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Arguably the best local coffee brand in the DMV, they do all their roasting out of this flagship shop. Their coffee is perfectly brewed that it doesn’t need any extra add ins (there’s even a sign that says that at their condiment bar).

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • The baristas are usually friendly and seem to love their jobs. They sell a variety of pastries and breakfast items and even bring your food to your table. There’s Wi-Fi only during the weekdays (though some say it doesn’t work on Mac computers).

    Accessibility: 1 out of 5

    • Unless you have a car, it’s just not accessible. The closest Metro is the West Hyattsville Metro and then it’s a 33-minute walk. If you have a car, it’s a short drive from Capitol Hill. Otherwise, Lyft there.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • It’s perfect. They blend the coffee roastery vibe with wall plants and an open floor plan. It’s industrial while still being very hipster.

    Vigilante Coffee on Google Maps


    Potter’s House in Adams Morgan NW

    Potter's House Coffee via @caffeinatethecapital
    Potter’s House Coffee via @caffeinatethecapital

    Coffee: 3 out of 5

    • You can find better coffee, but it’s still pretty good and gets the job done. Their cappuccino rivals most.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • It’s been a community center since the 1960s and the bookstore inside maintains that mission. The books are all about activism and the many couches and tables inside encourage people to gather, to build community. It’s also a wonderful place to work with free, reliable Wi-Fi.

    Accessibility: 4 out of 5

    • Not close to any Metro station, it’s a 10-minute walk from the Columbia Heights Metro or a 19-minute walk across a beautiful bridge from the Woodley Park Metro. Multiple Capital Bikeshare stations are nearby.

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • It’s not the most hipster of coffee shops to shoot, but it will make your gram look smart with beautiful books in the background of that perfect coffee shot.

    The Potter’s House on Google Maps

    @pottershousedc #thepottershousedc

    Peregrine at Union Market NE

    Photo of the outside of Union Market
    Union Market by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Peregrine recently transitioned their coffee from Counter Culture to locally roasted Small Planes Coffee (also from the owners of Peregrine). Some customers have noticed the change, but the quality is still up to par.

    Vibe: 3 out of 5

    • It’s a coffee stand inside one of DC’s coolest indoor markets. If you go on a weekend, it’s crowded and you better pray it’s sunny outside so you can find a seat. However, if you go during the day (except when they close on Mondays), it’s a great spot to work. Free Wi-Fi and pastries for purchase from nearby Bluebird Bakery, you can’t go wrong.

    Accessibility: 4 out of 5

    • NoMa Metro is a 10-minute walk, but most people drive as parking is free at Union Market. If you’re into biking, there is a Capital Bikeshare station right outside the market.

    Gram-ability: 3 out of 5

    • Peregrine really isn’t gramable since it’s just a stand and chances are someone will sneak in your shot. However, Union Market is very picturesque with a simple white sign, plenty of food stands and soaring ceilings to keep the gram cool.

    Peregrine Espresso on Google Maps


    The Wydown on H Street NE

    Inside the wydown coffee shop
    The Wydown Coffee Shop by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • The Wydown has their standard menu (espressos, lattes, etc.), but their baristas are experts and can create just about any coffee drink you can imagine.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • The Wydown has been called “a modern java bar.” It feels more like a cocktail bar than a coffee bar raising the standard of coffee shops everywhere. Despite not having Wi-Fi, they offer plenty of seating. Grab a spot at the bar or venture into The Apollo, the apartment building that houses The Wydown.

    Accessibility: 3 out of 5

    • It’s on H Street NE where the Metro misses, but it’s on the end closer to Union Station. It’s a 14-minute walk or you can hop on the free streetcar to save your walking shoes.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The Wydown is straight out of Charleston with its beautiful tiles and wooden floor below you and 1960s lights above you. Extra points if you sip on your coffee in The Apollo connected to The Wydown. It’s the most Instagrammed apartment building in the city.

    The Wydown on Google Maps


    Doubles. in Park View NW

    Doubles. by @frenchieyankee

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • They brew Ceremony Coffee from Annapolis, Maryland, a balanced coffee walking the line between smooth and rich.

    Vibe:  4 out of 5

    • Doubles. is like your best friend. The first floor’s beauty invites you in and the second floor’s ping pong table shows you they know a fun time. The baristas are engaging and friendly and the free, strong Wi-Fi keeps you coming back.

    Accessibility: 3 out of 5

    • If you don’t mind a brisk walk through a beautiful neighborhood, this place is for you. It’s a 10-minute walk from the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro and an 11-minute walk from the Columbia Heights Metro.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • It’s mid-century modern, minimalist design mixed with perfect lighting ups your Instagram game. Extra points if you capture that latte art on the ping pong table upstairs.

    Doubles on Google Maps


    Swings on 14th Street Downtown NW

    Barista at Swing's coffee shop
    Swing’s Coffee Shop by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Swings has been roasting coffee in nearby Alexandria for more than 100 years. It’s not as smooth as Ceremony Coffee, but it’s still a decent cup.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • Swings is in the bottom floor of an office building, but sterile it is not. It’s a very light, clean coffee shop with bar seating and a few tables off to the side. They offer free, strong Wi-Fi and pastries, including a good bagel.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • It’s one of the closest coffee shops to The White House and only a 4-minute walk from the Metro Center station.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • Large floor to ceiling windows and a patterned tiled floor encourages you to get out that phone and gram away.

    Swing’s Coffee on Google Maps

    @swingscoffee #swingscoffee

    The Coffee Bar in Downtown NW

    Barista at The Coffee Bar DC
    The Coffee Bar by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • The Coffee Bar proudly serves Annapolis based Ceremony Coffee. It’s smooth and full of flavor, especially their latte.

    Vibe: 3 out of 5

    • It’s small. Physically small with only a few window seats and one long table in the center. Depending on the barista, sometimes you get served ice (and I’m not talking about in your latte), especially if you ask for the Wi-Fi password (they have none).

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • The Coffee Bar caters to the office workers of downtown DC and their hours speak to that (they close on weekends). It’s a 5-minute walk from the Farragut North Metro and even closer to the National Geographic building.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • They have a neon sign. Once cheesy, it’s now a staple of a good gram. Another mark of a good gram is photo worthy latte art and The Coffee Bar is an expert.
    The Coffee Bar Neon Sign

    The Coffee Bar on Google Maps

    @thecoffeebardc #thecoffeebar

    Big Bear Cafe in Bloomingdale

    Big Bear Cafe by @frenchieyankee

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Big Bear Cafe brews Ceremony Coffee, from roasters in nearby Baltimore, Maryland. They serve all the usual hot drink subjects as well as cold brew and decaf options. If you’re into lattes, theirs is smooth and comforting.

    Vibe: 5 out of 5

    • Weddings are held here. Do I need to say more? With ivy covered walls and a patio full of plants, Big Bear Cafe is like a hidden garden you stumble upon. The charm extends as you walk inside. Wood floors, wood tables, a wood bar, the atmosphere is cozy.

    Accessibility: 3 out of 5

    • Big Bear Cafe is in Bloomingdale, a charming neighborhood, but also one that’s cut off from the Metro. The closest station (Shaw Station on the Yellow Line) is a 13-minute walk. If you bike, there’s a Capital Bikeshare station nearby.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Again, weddings are held here, making it one of the most grammable coffee shops in the city. The ivy covered walls on the outside and the wood theme on the inside provide many photo opportunities. Go when the light is just right for a perfect shot!

    Big Bear Cafe on Google Maps


    Maketto on H Street NE

    Maketto by @frenchieyankee

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Nearby Vigilante Coffee roasts Maketto’s coffee and runs their coffee operation upstairs. It’s one of the best lattes in the city and is home to the most Instagrammed drink in the city, their matcha green tea.

    Vibe: 5 out of 5

    • When Maketto first opened, it was the closest thing DC had to Brooklyn, New York. It’s the most minimalistic coffee shop in the city and in a cool neighborhood like H Street NE. If you want to feel cool, spend ten minutes here. There’s Wi-Fi, plenty of seats, and decently friendly baristas.

    Accessibility: 3 out of 5

    • It’s a 25-minute walk from the closest Metro (Union Station). Unless you’re in need of more steps to beat your Fitbit challenge, hop on the free streetcar behind Union Station. It will take you right to Maketto.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Again, think Brooklyn, New York. That alone means it’s super gram-worthy. White washed bricks and wood floor inside and an outdoor patio with perfectly placed string of lights. You’re cool just posting about it.

    Maketto on Google Maps

    @maketto1351 #maketto

    La Colombe in Blagden Alley NW

    La Colombe by @frenchieyankee

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • The DC flagship location of Philadelphia roastery, La Colombe brews a good cup of coffee. If you have a sweet tooth, ask for the off the menu “sweet latte.” They’ll put out sweetened condensed milk in it changing your life forever.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • It’s in a historic alley. They give back to the world (They support charities like Charity Water). They are cool. All this makes up for the fact that they refuse to get Wi-Fi. Leave your computer at home and bring a book instead.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • Metro to the Mt. Vernon Square Metro station and walk three minutes into the nearby alley. It sounds creepy, but you’ll soon realize you’ve stumbled upon one of DC’s hippest spots with top restaurants and a great coffee shop in La Colombe.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5

    • Blagden Alley, the most photographed alley in DC, houses La Colombe. Open pipes, exposed brick wall, and a large garage door makes La Colombe worthy of a gram.

    La Colombe on Google Maps

    @lacolombecoffee #lacolombe

    Little Pearl on Capitol Hill SE

    Little Pearl Coffee Shop by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 5 out of 5

    • A coffee shop with a Vietnamese iced coffee, a banana latte, and house made white sesame and hazelnut milks can either be a prodigy or a farce. In this case, it proves they are one of DC’s top cafes.

    Vibe: 4 out of 5

    • Little Pearl did an excellent job in creating an on-brand space using a historic cottage. It means they weren’t able to change the structure or layout of the building. Despite that, they create a clean vibe with a few classy quirks (check out the wallpaper in the bathroom to find the best one). Free Wi-Fi, indoor and outdoor seating, the vibe is fine.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • Two blocks from the Eastern Market Metro station making it one of DC’s most accessible coffee shops.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • When our DC ancestors built this building many moons ago, they must have predicted Instagram would be a thing. The light is perfect and Little Pearl offers a large outdoor patio and indoor glass enclosed dining room to capture it.

    Little Pearl on Google Maps

    @littlepearldc #littlepearldc

    Dua Coffee at McPherson Square

    Dua Coffee Counter by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 5 out of 5

    • Dua Coffee is a brand known throughout Indonesia that roasts and brews Indonesian specialty coffee, which is bold in flavor. Despite a bold flavor, they craft a well-balanced latte that rivals Peregrine’s. They also make unique drinks like the “klavee”- espresso, coconut milk, and lemon.

    Vibe: 5 out of 5

    • This cafe is for the people of Indonesia and there’s a lot of pride in the staff and their most loyal customers. That pride is contagious. You want them to win. Also, the staff are friendly and the decor light and welcoming.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • Located in the heart of downtown D.C., it’s easy to get to. It’s two blocks from McPherson Metro Station and next door to a Capital Bikeshare dock.

    Gram-ability: 4 out of 5

    • The front of the house is decorated with pottery, white-tiled walls, and lots of natural light. The back has a few soft chairs and simple wooden tables that pop in photos.

    Dua Coffee on Google Maps


    Yellow The Cafe at Navy Yard

    Yellow the Cafe by @austinkgraff

    Coffee: 4 out of 5

    • Blending French technique with Middle Eastern flavor, they carefully brew Counter Culture coffee and add their own twist to it. The menu includes lattes in these flavors- turmeric, halva and date. The coffee comes hot or cold.

    Vibe: 5 out of 5

    • With everything designed in yellow, Yellow The Cafe transports you out of Washington, D.C. into its own world. Inside, order a warm chocolate halva or pistachio croissant. Outside, grab a table on one of two patios. With the river nearby, it’s the place to gather with friends.

    Accessibility: 5 out of 5

    • Yellow The Cafe is accessible by all types of transportation. A few blocks from the Navy Yard Metro, it’s also along the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail making it a popular breakfast spot for runners, joggers and walkers. A Capital Bikeshare docking station and a parking lot are nearby.

    Gram-ability: 5 out of 5 

    • Despite being in a heavily developed area, Yellow The Cafe pops on Instagram. True to its name, the design is yellow-forward. The door knobs, walls, menu, it’s all yellow. Even the outdoor patio tables and chairs are yellow.

    Yellow the Cafe on Google Maps


    This list of the best coffee shops in DC could easily be a top 25 list so leave a comment with a photo of your favorite coffee shop in the DMV! plus if you’re looking for more places to Instagram in DC read this list.

  • The Best Cameras for Instagrammers (2023 Buyer’s Guide)

    One of the best things you can do to improve your Instagram feed is to get a better camera, here are the best cameras for Instagram in 2023.

    Using a smartphone can be great for taking photos and posting to Instagram. But we know a lot of users will outgrow their smartphone and want a mirrorless or DSLR camera to step up their Instagram feed.

    When you get a camera with interchangeable lenses it’ll also allow you to change aperture, shutter speed, iso, and plenty of other settings to perfect your photos.

    Once you’ve made the decision to upgrade your camera it can be hard to choose the perfect camera. Choosing a high quality camera can last you years, we’ve compiled the best camera for Instagrammers.

    Things like weight, price, and functionality can vary between cameras so be sure to review all of our options. Paying a few extra hundred dollars now can increase the longevity of your camera in the future.

    First let’s note the biggest differences between mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. Selecting this is an important part since it’ll affect the overall experience with a camera.

    • Mirrorless: Smaller, lightweight, more modern features, and accurate viewfinder previews.
    • DSLR: Larger, heavier, better battery life, and better autofocus systems.

    Whether you’re posting on Instagram, printing photos, or need a camera for social media all of these cameras are great for capturing the moments from your adventures. If you’re a blogger these cameras will also improve your blog‘s photos.

    Here is the list of the best cameras for Instagram:

    Sony α6400 – Best Entry Level Mirrorless Camera

    Sony’s mirrorless cameras have taken the camera market by storm. Sony’s mirrorless cameras are known for their small form factor and great image quality. One of Sony’s most popular entry-level cameras is the α6400 which was released in 2019. Built around a 24.2 megapixel sensor the Sony α6400 sports great image quality, fast autofocus, and a portable design. The Sony α6400 also features some incredible video capabilities including 4k filming, 1080p slo-mo at 120fps and a microphone port.

    On the back of the Sony α6400 you’ll find a 3-inch touchscreen that’ll make for an easier transition from smartphone shooting. The touchscreen lets you select focus points in photos but sadly isn’t usable in the camera’s menus. The screen is a tilting LCD screen which is perfect for taking photos high up or low to the ground without laying on the ground. The screen also flips over the top so you can take selfies or film yourself while vlogging but if you’re using a microphone it’ll block the screen a bit.

    If you’re into travel photography you’ll love the lightweight form factor of the Sony α6400making it easy to throw into a bag.

    Wifi is also included in the α6400 body which makes it super simple to grab images from the camera using the Sony PlayMemories App. Wifi is a great feature for beginners who are familiar with editing and posting from their phone.

    The battery life for the α6400 is about ~410 shots. So it will typically last all day while traveling but the batteries are tiny so you can pack a few in your bag. So if you plan on buying this camera we recommend picking up a few extra batteries. Plus you can charge the battery using a USB cable (or he included AC adapter) which is great since you don’t have to pack another battery charger in your bag.

    If the Sony α6400 is too expensive you can also find a used α6000 which was released in 2014 and are much more affordable.

    Sony Alpha a6400 Mirrorless Camera: Compact APS-C Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with Real-Time Eye Auto Focus, 4K Video, Flip Screen & 16-50mm Lens – E Mount Compatible Cameras – ILCE-6400L/B
    • 20.1MP stacked back illuminated 1″ Exmor RS CMOS sensor w/ DRAM, large aperture 24-70mm1 F1.8-2.8 ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T lens
    • Enhanced subject capture: wide 425 Phase/ 425 contrast detection points over 84 percent of the sensor

    Sony α7 III – Best Camera for Instagram

    Sony α7 III

    If you are more on the professional side and desire the highest quality possible the Sony α7R IV and the Sony α7 III are the best mirrorless cameras for Instagram.

    The Sony α7 series features full-frame sensors that will result in incredible photos. Full frame cameras generally have improved low light performance, better dynamic range for editing, and produce high-quality images overall.

    When I decided to purchase a “big-girl” camera I went to the Sony α7R II. I have never been disappointed either. The α7RII has an incredibly powerful 42mp sensor so shooting in RAW brings out every colorful detail of your picture. The G Master lenses are expensive, but worth the investment. My favorite all around city lens is the GM 16-35mm. It is my “go to” lens. The high ISO is crazy good (I’ve taken at 12,800 ISO) and thanks to its amazing pixel count, what noise there might be, is hidden. Its viewfinder is great, and the camera itself is comfortable to hold. It’s sturdy and well made. I have never regretted my choice.

    The α7R II and α7R III are great choices if you need the massive 42 megapixels but for most travel photographers on Instagram, the more reasonably priced α7 III is the best camera available. With incredible image quality, wifi transfer, and compact body you’ll never want this camera to leave your side. If you want an even smaller camera you can also check out the α7C which offers very similar features in a smaller body.

    Additionally, if money is no object you can also pick up the newly released Sony α7R IV which packs a crazy 61-megapixel sensor. The α7R IV can even take 240-megapixel photos with their pixel shifting mode which captures incredible detail for landscape photographers.

    Sony Lenses: Sony also offers a high-end line of lenses called G Master (GM). These lenses in combination with the full-frame sensor will offer some of the highest quality images for consumers. GM lenses include a drive mechanism for optimal autofocus performance. All of the G Master lenses are also dust and moisture resistance which can be useful when traveling in harsh conditions.

    Many photographers who convert from Canon to Sony will pick up an adapter to convert their Canon lenses to the Sony E-mount system. A few companies make adapters such as Metabones but a lot of users report some performance issues making it ideal to use Sony lenses exclusively.

    The Sony α7 III also has a weather-sealed body so things like rain and snow shouldn’t be an issue for the camera.

    With 24.2 megapixels and amazing dynamic range, the Sony α7 III will meet all of your Instagram photography needs. Especially since you can quickly transfer photos off (including RAW files) with wifi into mobile editing apps like Lightroom CC.

    Sony a7 III ILCE7M3/B Full-Frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with 3-Inch LCD, Body Only,Base Configuration,Black
    • Advanced 24.2MP BSI full frame Image Sensor w/ 1.8X readout speed
    • 15 stop dynamic range, 14 bit uncompressed RAW, ISO 50 to 204,800. Compatible with Sony E mount lenses. Can be connected via Bluetooth with smartphones featuring (as of the date of release)- Android (Android 5.0 or later, Bluetooth 4.0 or later), iOS (Bluetooth 4.0 or later)

    Smartphone Camera (iPhone/Pixel)

    iPhone XS at the US Capitol. 📸by @someguy

    This is a no brainer, if you’re on Instagram you already have a smartphone. Some of the best smartphone cameras include the iPhone 15 Pro and Google Pixel 7 Pro. These are all great choices just in case you’re looking to upgrade your mobile photography.

    Plus using your smartphone camera is, of course, the easiest way to take photos and upload to Instagram. It is possible to upload to Instagram from a PC or Mac but we love using the app to post. Most of all you don’t want to miss out posting stories and using direct messages which is best done by using the native Instagram app.

    iPhone Lenses: If you want to level up your mobile photography the Moment lenses are incredible. It’s a fantastic way to get a wide-angle or telephoto lens on your phone. It’s also a way to make your Instagram stories more fun by showing a wider angle story to your audience.

    Editing Apps: Some apps we recommend to edit your photos include Snapseed, Adobe Lightroom CC, and VSCO. Additionally, the tools and filters built into Instagram are very useful at this point. If you’re looking to improve your photography starting with editing is a good idea since the skill will translate into any camera you’re using. If you want to learn more about mobile photo editing you can find plenty of free videos on YouTube or structured courses on Skillshare.

    Shooting RAW Photos on Mobile: Additionally, you can take more control over your mobile photography by shooting RAW with apps like Lightroom CC or Halide on iOS. iPhone lets you shoot RAW on the Pro models. Shooting photos in RAW will give you more data to work with while editing rather than the phone making all of the decisions. Many camera apps will also let you manually control things like exposure, shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. These can be great choices for learning the basics of photography before diving into cameras.

    Canon T6i – Best Entry Level DSLR Camera

    Canon T6i with flip-out screen

    People love Canon cameras because of their massive lens selection and fantastic image quality & color science. The Canon T6i is a great introduction to the Canon ecosystem. Some users prefer using a DSLR since you take photos through a viewfinder that uses a mirror.

    With a flip screen and touch screen, it’ll give you many features you’re used to using on a smartphone. One downside is that focusing while shooting videos and using the screen (live view) can be slow since it lacks dual pixel autofocus. So you’ll most likely be using the optical viewfinder to enjoy its fast focus system. Many newer Canon cameras offer dual-pixel technology which makes focusing using the screen much faster.

    If you’re using the viewfinder (which is a benefit of DSLRs) you’ll get about ~450 photo battery life. If you use live view to shoot your battery life will be crushed to ~200 photos.

    On the downside, the T6i doesn’t include some of the newer Canon features like dual pixel autofocus which can be found in the Canon 80D and M50. Dual pixel autofocus adds incredible autofocus when using live view, the T7i offers dual pixel autofocus. We recommend picking up a Canon camera with dual pixel autofocus if you plan on filming a lot of videos since videos can only be shot in live view.

    With the T6i’s built-in wifi, you’ll enjoy editing and uploading to Instagram on the go. You can grab your photos from any Canon camera using the Canon Camera Connect app which will allow you to download images and take photos from a distance.

    If you’re looking at getting the Canon T6 we think the extra money is worth the extra features in the Canon T6i. These improved features include a touch screen, articulating screen, 24 megapixels instead of 18mp, better image quality, and improved autofocus.

    Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR with EF-S 18-55mm IS STM Lens – Wi-Fi Enabled
    • 242 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor, ISO 100–12800 (expandable to H: 25600)
    • EOS Full HD Movie mode helps capture brilliant results in MP4 format Brightness Control Adjustable to one of seven levels

    $$$ If you have a larger budget you could pick up a Canon T8i, Canon M50, Canon 80D or the newly released Canon 90D. All of these include Canon’s fantastic dual pixel autofocus system that makes shooting with live view optimal.

    • Canon T8i: The Canon T8i features a better autofocus system when using the viewfinder and live view due to more autofocus points and dual pixel autofocus. Additionally, it includes a fast burst system of 7 fps, longer battery life, and improved ISO performance.
    • Canon M50: If you’re looking for a smaller camera from Canon the M50 has become a great choice due to its mirrorless body, 10fps shooting, improved ISO range, and large lens selection.
    • Canon 80D: The Canon 80D is a pro-level camera with its weather-sealed body, incredible ISO, ~960 shot battery life, and great autofocus.
    • Canon 90D: The Canon 90D is one of Canon’s newest cameras and offers an incredible 32.5-megapixel sensor. With improved focusing capabilities, battery life, and ISO performance over the 80D the 90D will be a powerhouse of a camera for Instagrammers.

    Canon 5D Mark IV – Best DSLR Camera for Instagram

    Canon 5D Mark IV
    Canon 5D Mark IV

    Many professional photographers use the Canon 1DX Mark III, this is an incredible camera but is huge and expensive. The Canon 5D Mark IV offers many of the features of the 1DX Mark II but in a smaller body. With a wide range of features and a 30.4-megapixel sensor it makes the 5D Mark IV the best travel camera DSLR.

    If you have a smaller budget the Canon 6D Mark II is a great choice plus it has a fully articulating flip screen making it a great option for vloggers. The 6D Mark II includes a 26.2-megapixel sensor and can record 4k video.

    The Canon 5D Mark IV is used by tons of Instagrammers who enjoy the 30.4-megapixel photos, great dynamic range, and wifi capabilities.

    Many users flock to Canon since they have a massive lens selection of over 200 lenses. Including unique offerings like tilt-shift lenses that allow you to control the depth of field and perspective of a photo.

    Canon’s high-end series of lenses are called L series, notably, these are the ones with a red ring around the front of the lens. All L series lenses are designed to be weather-sealed and are built for professional use.

    Canon’s 5D line also has some of the best weather sealing of any camera company. So if you get caught out in the rain or snow you won’t have to worry about your camera being damaged since it’s weather sealed.

    Additionally, the Canon 5D Mark IV has fantastic video quality. This is perfect for uploading to your stories, IGTV, or even as video posts. One of my favorite features is the ability to do time-lapses inside the camera. So you won’t have to worry about putting hundreds of images together since the camera can do it all for you. If you want to learn more about professional time-lapses the 5D Mark IV also includes a built-in intervalometer that will takes photos every X seconds so you can edit the photos together on your computer.

    If you’re looking for a high-end mirrorless camera from Canon they also make the Canon EOS R which has most of the premium features of the 5D Mark IV but in a smaller mirrorless body. Canon has only released a handful of lenses for this new RF mount system so you’ll probably want to pick up the EOS EF to RF adapter to use all of Canon’s lenses. Canon has also released the Canon EOS RP which is a fantastic value at only $1300 for a full-frame mirrorless. Canon has also released a high-end mirrorless camera called the Canon EOS R5 which features 8k video recording, 4k 120fps, and sensor stabilization.

    Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera Body
    • New 30.4 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting in nearly any light, with ISO range 100-32000; expandable up to 50-102400 (equivalent ISO).
    • 4K Motion JPEG video (DCI cinema-type 4096 x 2160) at 30p or 24p; in- camera still frame grab of 4K 8.8-Megapixel images; multiple video options include Full HD up to 60p, and HD up to 120p.

    Fuji X-M1 – Mirrorless Alternative

    Alternatively, you can pick up the Fuji X-M1 if you want something a bit different. Some stand out features includes Wifi and larger sensor. For its price, it’s a great way to learn the basics of photography without breaking the bank.

    The X-M1 also includes a tiltable screen, built-in wifi, and a large sensor in a very small body. Plus it’s hard to resist Fujifilm’s vintage style body. The Fuji X-M1 also includes 1080p recording at 30fps which can come in handy if you plan on shooting videos.

    Some note that the autofocus can be a tad slow compared to other mirrorless cameras and some of the dials are awkwardly placed. Those cons aside the X-M1 offers excellent image quality, low noise at high ISOs, quick start-up, and a tiltable LCD screen.

    Fujifilm X-M1 Compact System 16MP Digital Camera Kit with 16-50mm Lens and 3-Inch LCD Screen (Black)
    • 16.3 MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor
    • ISO 200-6400 (expandable to to 12800 and 24600)

    $$$ Upgrade If you have a higher budget the Fujifilm X-T100 with its tilt/flip screen, touchscreen, and the 24-megapixel sensor is also a great alternative to the X-M1. Additionally, the Fujifilm X-T20 is also a great choice with more modern features.

    Fujifilm X-T100 Mirrorless Digital Camera w/XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Lens – Dark Silver
    • 24.2 Megapixel APS-C size sensor with Color Reproduction technology refined over 80 years. Artistic expression are made easy with the x-t100 with film Simulation and advanced filter modes
    • Featuring super-fast autofocus and a variety of automatic functions, including an evolved SR+ auto mode which is capable of subject recognition together with conventional scene recognition

    GoPro HERO10 – Best Action Camera for Instagram

    If you’re capturing action or sports on your Instagram feed you can’t beat the image quality, size, stabilization, and waterproofing of the GoPro HERO10 Black.

    Best of all you can transfer your photos and videos to your phone with the built-in wifi. GoPro’s app has light editing features to edit your videos together. Plus with its RAW capture mode you can heavily edit your photos from the HERO10.

    GoPro HERO10 Black Features:

    • Color Front Facing LCD Screen:The HERO10 features a color display on the front of the camera, perfect for selfies and vlogging.
    • HyperSmooth 4.0 Video Stabilization: This simulates gimbal-like stabilization to make your footage ultra-smooth in all shooting modes plus it has in-camera horizon leveling.
    • Voice Controls: Use your voice to take photos, start recording, and more.
    • 5.3K60/4K120 FPS video + 23MP Photos: With stunning 5.3K video quality and 23-megapixel stills all of your footage will look fantastic on Instagram. The HERO10 also includes three microphones with advanced wind noise reduction.
    • Waterproof: The GoPro HERO10 is designed to be as rugged as possible, its waterproof body makes it fantastic for trips to the beach. Plus the HERO10 includes a mount built right into the base of it.

    Check out some of the best GoPro photography on GoPro’s Instagram account. Even if you don’t plan on taking adventurous photos the wide-angle photos from the GoPro will give you ample creative opportunities for your feed.

    GoPro HERO10 Black – Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD and Touch Rear Screens, 5.3K60 Ultra HD Video, 23MP Photos, 1080p Live Streaming, Webcam, Stabilization
    • Revolutionary Processor: Faster. Smoother. Better. The powerful new GP2 engine changes the game—snappy performance, responsive touch controls and double the frame rate for amazingly smooth footage. Designed specifically for the demanding nature of the GoPro, the GP2 “system on a chip” is by far our fastest ever.
    • High-Res Photos plus Videos, High Frame Rate: Step up to the sharpest-shooting GoPro ever. Upgraded to incredible 23MP photos and 5.3K video resolution at 60fps, HERO10 offers double the frame rate for amazingly smooth motion. Plus, there’s 8x slo-mo at 2.7K and you can pause videos and grab 15.8MP still photos from 5.3K video that look amazing.

    Another great action cam is the DJI Action 2. This action camera is cheaper than a GoPro and features a unique design. Plus if you already have DJI drones this might be a familiar product for you.

    Choosing Your First Lens

    If you’re starting out, the kit lenses (lenses bundled with the camera) are typically good quality. They usually offer a great range of focal lengths for all types of photography.

    After learning how the camera works using the kit lens we highly recommend upgrading to a 50mm prime (great for portraits!). You can usually pick one up for around $100 and most camera companies make an affordable 50mm for their cameras. Prime lenses will give you lower f stops so you have greater control of the depth of field in your photos. Shallow depth of field is often used in artsy photos especially when taking portraits. Plus if you pair a shallow depth of field with unique lights like fairy lights you can achieve some interesting effects.

    Once you figure out your style and what you like to shoot buying more lenses can improve the direction you’re heading. Wide-angle lenses (~16mm) can be great for landscapes and cityscape photography while telephoto lenses (~50mm) are ideal for portraits.

    On a side note, without adaptors, lenses aren’t interchangeable between companies. This is something to consider before you get heavily invested in a camera brand.

    Crop Factors: Just to note, all focal lengths noted above assume you’re using a full-frame camera (35mm). To calculate the focal length to a cropped sensor you can use a took like crop factor calculator. So, for example, a 16mm lens on a micro four-thirds camera will actually be 32mm so that is something to consider when looking up lenses. We recommend reading reviews of lenses to fully see what you’re going to get.

    Other Photography Gear for Instagrammers

    After getting a camera here is popular items photographers use to up their Instagram photos. This includes a tripod which is essential for long exposure photos, backpacks, and interesting props for your photos.

    • Tripod: If you plan on doing a lot of night photography a tripod will be essential to capturing long exposures and share images at night. When buying a tripod be sure to check the maximum load and if your camera is below the max weight.
    • Backpack: When you acquire more lenses a bag to carry all of your gear is important. Plenty of companies make camera bags but Peak Design is a popular choice for many photographers.
    • Instagram Props: Popular items Instagrammers place in their photos include a Lensball, Prisms, Fairy Lights, and the Moon Light. These have become very popular on Instagram being used by huge photographers like @brandonwoelfel.

    One camera won’t be the best option for everyone but balancing the size, budget, and features of all of these cameras will take fantastic photos. Hopefully, these cameras and gear will improve your Instagram feed.

    If you’re still trying to improve your photography we recommend checking out Skillshare and watching free videos on YouTube. Learning to perfect your editing can also greatly improve your photos.

    Let us know your thoughts and what you shoot on in the comments!