Lucie Lacava discusses Instagram hashtags with student Marissa Vonesh.
Lucie Lacava (right) discusses Instagram filters with student Marissa Vonesh. (Photo by Allison Pakrosnis)


Lucie Lacava is fluent in five languages, and Instagram is one of them.

She has 33.2k followers on her photography-based Instagram, @lulucrezia, but Lacava hasn’t always been “Insta-famous.”

“I’ve been sort of addicted to Instagram since the first year the app came out and I find it to be a great creative release,” Lacava said.  However, it wasn’t until she found her bearings within the intricacies of Instagram that the social network featured her on their Suggested Users list.

Now, her feed, full of abstract architectural forms, sleek structures and open spaces — all in blue — is constantly flooded with likes and comments.

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Lacava showed session attendees what was holding them back from Instagram fame when she asked them about how they use the app.

“It’s mostly my daughters and what I eat. I also have an Instagram for my brother’s restaurant in Panama,” one attendee said. “I’ve used Instagram since yesterday,” said another, summoning laughter. Many others also noted food, pets and personal photos as their main subjects.

Stressing that users should focus on a single theme or subject per account, Lacava offered three main tips for creating a strong Instagram following: tell compelling stories, create a strong personal brand and develop your own unique style.

Lacava then brought attendees step-by-step — literally — through the Instagramming process with what she called an “Instawalk” through a nearby park. Attendees put her advice into action, snapping pics of baby geese, abstract patterns and nature.

A session attendee snaps a photo of geese during Lacava’s “Instawalk.” (Photo by Allison Pakrosnis)


The Insta pro then brought SNDers through the editing and posting process. At the end of the session, participants posted their final work with the hashtag #lucielacava for her to critique.


Learning how to take better Instagrams in a very insta-friendly city #lucielacava

A post shared by Tyson Bird (@tysonbird) on


“I really liked hearing about how to use hashtags on Insta,” attendee Tyson Bird said. “I had a good following before, but even just one post with her hashtag tips seems to have gotten me an above-average amount of likes.”

One final pro tip from Lacava for those who weren’t able to snag a spot in the full-capacity session: “Instagram will darken your photo by 10 percent,” she said, “so always go lighter.”