How to Crowdsource Your Wedding Photos with Instagram

It’s crazy to think how much technology has changed the way we interact with our weddings. I’ve only been married a few short years, but thanks to iPhones and…well, let’s face it, iPhones, the landscape now is completely different than it was then. In some ways this is not so great (ever been to a wedding where the guests spent more time recording the ceremony than experiencing it?) and in other ways, it’s kind of awesome. In the time since we ran our first ever How To DIY Your Wedding Photography post, advancements in technology and user-friendly social media platforms have made wedding photography even more accessible than ever. So today I’m excited to introduce Mallory, who crowdsourced her kick ass wedding photos through Instagram. And she wants to show you how. 


How to Crowdsource Your Wedding Photos with Instagram | A Practical Wedding

Crowdsource Your Wedding Photos (With Instagram)

Early in our planning, we agreed that we didn’t want hundreds of posed wedding photos. Flipping through years of pictures, the candids always transport us back to the moment the picture was taken. Our favorites include amateur snapshots taken by family and friends with cheap digital cameras, iPhones, and even a few wind-up disposables.

So we decided to crowdsource our wedding photos.

I was in the middle of launching a project at work, using a mix of social media tools to compile photos from students at my university. And then it hit me—we could use this same idea for our wedding! And so project “Instagram Our Wedding” was born.

You will need these (free) tools:

• Instagram mobile app
• Predetermined wedding hashtag
• Online photo storage site
• Account on
• Several wedding guests with smart phones

From there you just have to:

1. Download the Instagram mobile app on your smart phone device. For noobs, Instagram is a (free) social, photo sharing app. You can take pictures, add cool effects, and share them with your friends. It’s like your Facebook newsfeed with pictures only. Drink the kool-aid, hipsters.

2. Choose a wedding hashtag. Just like Twitter, Instagram filters pictures by using “hashtags.” For example, our tag was #pbwed. So if you were to search #pbwed on Instagram, you would find a boatload of lovely photos taken at our wedding by our beloved guests. (Tip: before you begin, search for your chosen hashtag to make sure no one else is using it.)

3. Decide where you want to store your photos. It’s best to use pre-existing accounts to save yourself some hassle. A few options include: Dropbox, a Facebook page (not profile), or Flickr account. In the next step, you’ll perform some wizardry that will automatically upload your Instagram photos to your photo storage site.

4. Create an account on or, “If this, then that.” First you will activate “channels,” which will include Instagram and the photo storage options you chose in step #3. Basically you are linking your existing accounts to the site.

Next you will create “recipes,” which will create a chain reaction. For example, we created two recipes for our wedding:

IF THIS [wedding guest tags a photo with #pbwed on Instagram],
THEN THAT [photo automatically uploads to preexisting Facebook wedding album]

IF THIS [wedding guest tags a photo with #pbwed on Instagram],
THEN THAT [photo automatically uploads to preexisting Flickr album]

Be patient with It took us a few test photos before we got it right. (Tip: you must link your accounts before you create the recipe/s.)

5. Share your genius plan. Soon after we announced our engagement, we created a wedding-themed Facebook page to share updates with our friends and family. We gave simple instructions, “Help us document our wedding! Snap pictures of celebratory gatherings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and our wedding ceremony using Instagram. Tag with #pbwed.” We also included the instructions in our wedding program.

It was awesome to see our wedding day from multiple perspectives. We have photos documenting all of the celebrations leading up to our actual wedding day. We were able to spot new friendships forming and what our guests enjoyed at our party. Our guest list was small, but we ended up with 263 photos from Instagram alone. Sure, they’re a little blurry and unfocused—but to us, they are treasures reminding us of the love and laughter we shared that day. If you are looking for a way to supplement your professional wedding photos and keep your guests engaged—give this recipe a try!

Instagram from Mallory’s Wedding

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  • Kelly

    We had an Instagram hashtag (#vansantwedding) for our wedding in September, and it was seriously one of the best things we did. We didn’t think of it until a week or two before, so I just made a sign with the hashtag and our usernames, framed it, and put it on the table with the guest book. It was a HUGE hit. Even my professional photographer joined in!

    The next morning on our honeymoon, we had an instant mini photo album, which was magical.

    Question: do you know if we can set up this recipe, etc. after the fact? I’ve just been taking screen shots of these instagrammed wedding photos on my phone, which is less than ideal.

    • Mallory

      I think the trigger works as each photo is tagged. But I think I found another way!

      You can create a recipe with that uses “likes” as triggers. Every time you “like” one of your tagged wedding photos on Instagram it will save it to your preselected storage site.

      Hope this helps!

    • Ben

      Apparently, if you ask the folks at Eversnap and negotiate, they’ll import the photos from instagram with a hashtag. They’ll do the same thing and pull them into all the eversnap photos too. Eversnap is on a ton of platforms which is nice.

      They’re on 7 platforms.

  • mimi

    LOVE this idea! Thanks for the tip!

  • sandyliz

    Awesome post! IFTT is such a great resource, but I wouldn’t have thought to use it to download Instagram photos (I used it for my job search).

    Have any APWers tried the Wedding Party app? I’ve downloaded and set it up, but I’m concerned there will be some trick that makes it difficult to access the photos without paying a ton.

    • Himani Amoli

      Hi Sandy,

      I’m the founder of Wedding Party and I promise you there’s no trick/cost associated with the app. You will not have to pay to access your photos (yuck, that sounds terrible!)
      Please feel free to email me if you have any questions (

      Have a great day! :)

    • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

      How did you use IFTT for your job search? I’m intrigued.

    • Sasha

      We used Wedding Party! We thought it was great–it was totally free, the Android Beta worked, and even some of the parents generation got into using it (The photos from my Father in Law are often blurry and still some of my favorites.)

      It was fun to see what people added and catch perspectives we missed, like people gathering and waiting for us to arrive, and see people meeting or catching up when we weren’t around.

  • Stephanie

    You know, I see all these posts on other websites about how to get guests to NOT take pictures, but to just “enjoy the wedding,” and this is AMAZING. As a guest, I just love taking pics with my iPhone (discreetly). The wedding photographer isn’t going to get all the guests or all the awesomeness. So, thank you, and I will totally tell my engaged friends to do this!

    • Kristy

      Totally agreed! Technology free weddings seem so snooty to me. I want everyone to take ALL THE PICTURES!

      • Corrie

        Personally, I can completely understand why someone would want their ceremony to be technology free out of concern that people would be tooling around on their phones more than paying attention to the vows and other important aspects of the ceremony. Especially in a church. As someone who grew up going to church for most of my life (even though I don’t anymore), I think it’s very rude and distracting for people to have their phones on or in use during church in general, let alone during a wedding ceremony. Kind of like at the movie theatre, only more important. Then again, some people might want to have a more interactive ceremony where their guests are involved, so perhaps involving technology could make sense in that case.

        On the other hand, I have a hard time understanding why someone would want a technology-free reception – it’s a party! I would be curious to find out if anyone asked their guests to turn off their phones for their ceremony, but encouraged them to use their phones during the reception with something along the lines of this post. That would be something I would consider doing.

        • Caroline

          We will be asking people to turn their phones and cameras off at the ceremony. We want them to be fully present witnessing the begining of our marriage, not taking photos.we will have a photographer to do that, and are happy to share the photos. To me, I view it as like takin photos during a church or synagogue service. Even if it isn’t your religion, it would never be appropriate. It is a sacred moment to experience, not document.
          At the reception, we don’t care if folks take pictures, BUT we are going to do our best to ask people not to upload or share those photos to most uploading or social media sites. We will create a private server for guests to share photos, and ask that they do not post photos on Facebook of our wedding, or at least, not of US at the wedding. (We may “release” one photo of us to Facebook.) Not sure yet how we will communicate this politely, but my partner feels strongly about it. Not actually as much from a privacy point of view, but from a rights point of view. He doesn’t want Facebook, imageshack, Flickr, et al to have rights to images of him, as best he can control.

        • Emily

          Agreed! I think there’s a huge difference between a technology-free CEREMONY and a technology-free RECEPTION.

      • Melodie

        As a photographer, I see both sides.
        During the ceremony, tech-free weddings ROCK. It’s incredibly frustrating to go back after the fact and realize that in every wide photo, Uncle Bob was standing with his iPhone. It’s worse when an iPhone photographer jumps in the aisle and blocks the wide shot of the first kiss.

        But during the reception, bust out those puppies! With everyone milling about, it’s very easy to miss some guests when it’s just you and your partner.

        A fully tech-free wedding and reception would be quite bothersome for all parties involved, I think.

  • Emily

    another tip – make the hashtag unique enough that it’s not going to be picked up and used after your wedding. Otherwise you’ll end up having to sort through the random wedding photos from other weddings who used your hashtag and are now in your Facebook album/Dropbox what have you. (Although, could be hilarious).

  • Jackie Q

    ahh I don’t know why I didn’t think to use a hashtag for our July wedding! I’m kicking myself. The few friend pictures we’ve seen are awesome and I wish we had more.

  • Stacy

    Are the photos from instagram good enough quality to be printed out? Or are they digital memories only?

    • Katelyn

      I decided to look this up, and this is what the instagram site has to say:

      “Instagram will output a maximum resolution of 2048×2048, limited by the manufacturer’s camera and available application memory.” (source:

      This of course is limited by the camera on your phone. For reference, my Galaxy S3 has a default photo resolution of 3264×2448 and it is an 8 MP camera.

      I found this table on snapfish for the resolution they recommend for optimal prints:

      Essentially, a 2048×2048 resolution will print pretty much anything you want up to a 16×20 poster, but you’ll need to be careful and check the individual images. I think you’d easily be able to print standard prints on almost any modern smartphone camera resolution.

    • Emily

      There are also a bunch of cool websites like that print your Instagram photos for you. (Prinstagram also has memory books and framed prints!)

    • jeliza

      I would say that depends. On my phone, which can otherwise take awesome and totally printable pictures, I can’t get instagram to do anything but 600×600, which is going to max out about 3×3 inches. But other phones use the full resolution. However, the instagram FAQ says that the full-resolution pictures stay on the phone only, so you probably are going to need to ask for files for things you want to print, say, 4×6 or higher of.

    • Jen

      there’s also STICKYGRAM – you can make magnets out of your photos and put them all over your fridge!! we did this for a bunch of photos from our honeymoon and it is AWESOME! we also gave a few of the magnets to some friends that we met up with in Italy for a couple of days…great memories, and I look at them every day!!

  • Laura

    I kept wondering when the first wedding to be entirely shot on Instagram would happen… And here it is!

    I think the wedding hashtag idea is awesome.

  • Michelle

    I used Wedding Snap, which is another app similar to Wedding Party. Wedding Snap is available on both Apple and Android OS. It was a hit! They send you little cards with the directions of how to download the app and the album name. We put them in the welcome bags at the hotel and on the tables at the reception. Everyone was able to download it with no issues, and the pictures we got are great! Everyone kept saying what a cool idea it was. And everyone can see what others are uploading. You can also upload pics from a digital camera to their website, so it was a great way to collect everyone’s camera pictures too. Then afterwards, you access the entire album via their website (using your unique album name) and then you can order prints or just download all the files from there. I would HIGHLY recommend it!

    • kim kimberson

      Obviously… your employed by wedding snap. Terrible! What a joke

  • Mai

    LOVE this! So clever. I agree that candids are always the favorite photos- honest and raw. Congratulations!

  • Moe

    THIS is why I love APW so.

    I already had a hashtag for my upcoming wedding but was clueless about how to make prints or collect all the images to make prints. So thank you very much!!!!

    I’m a picture-taking junkie from weddings to what I ordered for lunch. I can’t imagine asking my guests not to take photos, I’d ask them to silence their ringers for sure though.

  • Maddie

    This is by far my favorite Instagram product. I love the idea of an iInstagram gallery wall.

  • Sabrina

    That’s a really good idea for weddings. Social media apps are cool. There are even additional iPhone apps that can edit photos like Photo Wonder. Though if folks did that during stag or hen parties, the result might not be as great.

  • Abby

    My husband and I did something similar through Twitter. I was skeptical of how it would work, but it worked out wonderfully. He created a joint account people could tweet at and a hashtag. He also used the account to tweet out things about the wedding or DC in the days leading up to it. Only a handful of people at the wedding were on Twitter, but at the end of the night we flipped through the tweets. It was great to see the photos people posted and the thoughts they had throughout the wedding. It was a really fun and unique way to experience the night through a different lens!

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  • Sonarisa

    This is a really cool post. I definitely think professional pictures are amazing (I always find myself drooling over artsy pictures online) but as someone who always takes pictures at a reception, I know there are some awesome memories to be had out there that you just can’t get unless you’re in the exactly right place and the exactly right time. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to encourage people to take pictures without making them feel like they should do that instead of enjoying the wedding. This seems like the perfect laid-back option. Thanks so much for the post!

  • Kat

    I always thought the hashtag for your wedding thing was a bit strange and something I could care less about … that is until THIS post! Hashtag created, joined, instructions added to our website… CANNOT wait to see this in action!

  • kyley

    Dudes, I am sooo excited about this. Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

  • Marika

    Does anyone know if this will work if people don’t upload pics right away? We are getting married out in the country and their really isn’t cell service. It sounds like fun, but people won’t be able to upload pics in real time.

    • Mallory

      Yes, it will work as long as your guests upload their pictures to Instagram when they return to the states.

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  • PlaceFull

    Fantastic post! I’ve just linked to this post from PlaceFull’s blog:

  • Britney

    We are getting married next fall and were looking for options like this as well. A friend just turned me on to another great mobile app that is really easy to use and is not just for weddings. Her dad’s friend launched it and it is called PixWithMe. It is for iPhone and iPad as well as Android. We have been making test boards with our bridal party and everyone loves it. It also is built right into Facebook so you can share and comment on all the photos. Their website is We are still going to have professional photographer for 4 hrs do formal shot but for all the candids from bachelorette party, my shower, rehearsal dinner, and reception we are using PixWithMe.

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  • kendra

    Hi. I was wondering what you meant by, (Tip: you must link your accounts before you create the recipe/s.). Which accounts must you link and how do you do it? Thanks!

  • Lindsay

    I’m confused. I love the idea and researching it like crazy…

    But as far as printing your instagram gems: Are you able to print something you ‘liked’? One of your guests took this picture so it’s not something your camera took.

    All these instagram printing sites I’ve looked at want access to just MY instagram photos…

    Am I missing something? How would I be able to print something that I only ‘liked’?

    Thanks! LOVE THIS

    • Mallory


      With the use of, all of our tagged Instagram photos automatically saved into our Dropbox account. This way we had access to each picture so we could print or upload to a printing site.

      • Lydia

        Hey, so I am using the same recipe to use for my wedding and I had a question: I saw that there was a limit of “10 images per check” on the Instagram trigger. Do you know what that means? I interpreted it to mean that the recipe will stop working after 10 images are hashtagged, but that seems weird to me.

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    surely as if your web site but the truth is have to take a look at the transliteration with quite a few of this discussions. Many of possibilities filled by using punctuation problems we still find it incredibly frustrating in all seriousness but I most certainly will undoubtedly are available again again.

  • HenorStag

    This is such a good idea! Social media is a great way to get the world to see your gorgeous special wedding photos. It is perfect. Some people may even use it to show several stages of the wedding process such as the hen or stag parties!

  • Leigh Ann

    This was THE BEST TIP EVER!!! Thanks so much for sharing. IFTTT is awesome for wedding events, and the rest of my life!

  • funny pictures

    This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.

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  • trending fasion

    I tend not to drop a comment, however I read some of the responses on this page How
    to Crowdsource Your Wedding Photos with Instagram

    • Eversnap

      This is an excellent post. We also offer a solution to this. A lot of brides use our hashtag functionality to pull in photos from instagram and twitter. (Source: )

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  • Ben Patrick John

    This a wonderful tip and a nice wedding planner to keep the wedding photos

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  • Keyra Taganas

    What type of facebook page? (ex. local buisness or place, entertainment, cause or community, etc.)

  • AmyInLove

    Nice post! The reason I didn’t use Instagram is that all the photos are automatically shared publicly. I used KeepBooth ( instead, which let me control the privacy settings and choose which photos to make public. Plus it also lets you crowdsource photos taken with smartphones AND digital cameras!

  • Ben Patrick John

    It is a interesting post on how to cloud-source the photo’s in instagram. I am Using the wedding mobile app to store my wedding photos.

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  • Dan Strang

    Instagram is an awesome way to share photos at your wedding, not only is it the app everyone has, but the filters make you look even better! Eventstagram actually does free slideshows displaying instant photos from your guests.

  • Tiffany

    Instagram is a good place to share your wedding photos, let all people to feel your happiness.

  • krystal

    WOW! It is fantastic and it is really a very good ideal.

  • Julia

    Hi, I just set up a recipe similar to yours but I’m very confused by it saying that Instragram photos are limited to 10 photos per check? Did you have a lot of photos uploaded? I’d assume it was more than 10….thanks!

  • fiona

    so amaing and fantastic !!! thanks for great post!1

  • Confused

    Technology and I do not get along. So reading your blog and doing everything, I find that the “hashtag’ won’t post my pictures but just listing my “wedding name” will. Are we suppose to use hashtags? How does the hashtag work exactly that it posts to my instagram and then to my facebook album? Sorry for all the questions…

    • confused

      Also, do the guests have to add/follow me on Instagram?