Instagram for students

In my casual surveys of architecture students from first year to final, I’ve been surprised to discover how few engage professionally with social media. While Facebook is ubiquitous and many have Instagram accounts jammed full of selfies, there is little interest to extend this activity into the professional sphere.

This is the 3rd of eight articles exploring the major social media outlets, how I engage with them, and how they might be of interest to students. An archive of the series can be accessed here.

Social media

Mihaly Slocombe
Following: 38
Followers: 76
Joined: December 2015[1]
Total users: 400 million[2]

Purpose: Instagram is the visual equivalent of Twitter, in that my networks on the two platforms overlap a great deal. However, it is less news-driven and more portfolio-like. If an architect uses only two social media networks, it is most likely these two.

Community: Up until very recently, my professional and personal Instagram activities were rolled up into one account. With a substantial business rebrand underway however, we’ve split off the professional content into its own account. Like Twitter, my professional feed is restricted to local architects posting interesting work. My personal feed is more diverse. I follow friends, artists and furniture makers.

Posting: The output of any architecture studio spends a lot of time being incomplete, making it challenging to capture beautifully on Instagram. With our new account, I intend to intersperse ongoing and complete projects. This will hopefully achieve a healthy balance between glossy images and insight into our process. Architectural pilgrimages and travel in general are also very Instagram-friendly.

Likes: Since there is no searchable record of the photos I’ve liked, I can’t use this function as I do on Twitter. I use it therefore as it was intended: to tell people I like something they’ve done.

Procrastination: Instagram is the ultimate time-waster. The contents of either my feed or smart search function are easily accessible, immediately consumable and endlessly interesting. I occasionally find myself, late at night and bleary-eyed with fatigue, scrolling deeper and deeper into Instagram’s beautiful content. Use with caution!

For students: Use Instagram to develop your portfolio. It can be as powerful as a strong traditional portfolio, if not more so. In this regard, I’m intrigued by the exploitation of Instagram’s three-column thumbnail layout I’ve seen around the place: from all black and white, to the colours of the Pantone rainbow, to repetitive triptychs. Instagram is also emerging as a way for architects to advertise job openings, so follow studios where you might like to work. Instagram is a wonderful source of inspiration, particularly if you look beyond architecture to other fields.

Good examples:

  • Vasilii Zhelezniakov. A graduate architect and artist based in Melbourne.
  • Ben Schmideg. A graduate architect at MA Architects (also a past student of mine).
  • Sheng Yi Lee. A graduate architect and artist based in Melbourne.
  • Ab Yamani. A graduate architect and photographer.

10 / 10


  1. Note: despite the date, I’m not a total Instagram rookie. My personal account has been going for four years.
  2. Leading social networks worldwide as of January 2016Statista; January 2016


  1. Instagram, logo copyright Instagram. Composition by author.

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