The best Instagram captions can add context to your posts, show off your brand’s personality, entertain the audience and compel people to take action.
Instagram is an image-first social platform. If your photos and videos aren’t up to scratch, you’ll have a hard time finding success.
But even great images and videos can fall short of expectations if you’re a slouch in the Instagram captions department. The words that accompany your graphics are a key component of building a brand on the network, and especially forming a connection with fans and followers.
The best Instagram captions can add context to your posts, show off your brand’s personality, entertain the audience and/or compel people to take action.
Captions can be up to 2,200 characters in length and include up to 30 hashtags.
That said, most captions are nowhere near that long or stuffed with that many hashtags. No matter the length, the important thing is for your Instagram captions to grab attention and be easy to read and follow.
Here, you’ll find 264 Instagram captions you can model or just copy-and-paste directly into your own Instagram posts. At the end of the list, we’ll also provide a few tips for writing effective Instagram captions of your own.
Look at this adorable snowy caption from Lee’s Donuts:
Beach Instagram captions
From sunny summer days to moody winter storms, beaches provide loads of material for Instagram content.
All the best drinks come with umbrellas
Catch a wave
Life’s a beach
Resting beach face
Sun, sand, sea
Sun’s out, guns out
The ocean is the best hair stylist
Toes in the sand
We dream in colors borrowed from the sea
Where it’s at
Birthday Instagram captions
Whether it’s your birthday or you’re wishing a happy birthday to a fellow Instagrammer, birthdays are a great excuse to celebrate on Instagram. Not your birthday? You could also celebrate the anniversary date of a product or business.
All about the cake
Another trip around the sun
Candles just want to get lit
Happy, happy birthday, baby
Next-level wisdom achieved
One year wiser
(S)he’s a jolly good fellow
Sweeter than a cupcake
Too many candles
Instagram captions for selfies
Ah, the ubiquitous selfie. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ve got to caption ‘em.
A selfie a day keeps the doctor away
But first, selfie
Confidence level: No filter
First I drink the coffee, then I do the things
I’m kind of a big deal
I speak fluent sarcasm
Life is too short to be boring
Living my best life
Me, myself, and I
Messy hair don’t care
Personality cannot be added with a filter
Ready for my closeup
Some days are better than others
There’s always a wild side to an innocent face
Why hello there
Woke up like this
Instagram captions for couples
If your significant other tends to share your Instagram space, check these Instagram captions for couples.
Always on your team
Everything I do, I do it for you
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle
Love you to the moon and back
Partners in time
P.S. I love you
The best bad influence
You make my heart sing
You’re my lobster
Instagram caption quotes
Sometimes, someone else’s words perfectly capture everything you want to say.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” – Henry David Thoreau
“I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” —Michael Jordan
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” –Maya Angelou
“If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton
“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” – Walt Disney
“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible!” – Audrey Hepburn
“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” – Tony Robbins
“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon
“The road to success is always under construction.” – Lily Tomlin
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
Hashtags for Instagram captions
We’ve got a whole blog post explaining how to use hashtags effectively in Instagram captions, but here are 10 popular hashtag picks to try, along with the total number of postings for that hashtag.
#travelgram (123.3 million)
#goodmorning (117.1 million)
#streetphotography (78.43 million)
#foodstagram (69.98 million)
#naturelovers (65.67 million)
#entrepreneur (64.40 million)
#outfitoftheday (52.83 million)
#sundayfunday (50.80 million)
#momlife (50.18 million)
#positivevibes (48.72 million)
6 helpful Instagram caption tricks
Here’s everything you need to know to create your own original Instagram captions that work.
Instagram demographics tell us that the largest group of users is 25 to 34 years old, and that women very slightly outnumber me on the network. But those are the broad strokes. In order to create the best Instagram captions for your audience, you need to understand who’s following you and seeking out your content.
How old are they? Where do they live? What sorts of jobs do they have? What do they do outside of work? Our post on social media audience research can help you figure this out.
To further define your audience, it’s a good idea to create audience personas. This helps make sure you think of your audience as real people with real preferences you can speak to.
Once you know who you’re talking to, you can answer questions that will inform what you put in your captions:
Will my audience understand this reference?
Are emojis and netspeak appropriate to use here? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Do I need to add more context to this post?
What hashtags does my audience follow?
This example from bidet producer Tushy showcases the brand’s good understanding of their following. This type of edgy humor wouldn’t necessarily sit well with other audiences:
2. Identify your brand voice
If you haven’t identified your brand voice as part of a broader social media marketing strategy, ask yourself: ‘What are the qualities and values I want my brand to embody?’ Make a list and use it to shape your voice.
You might also try jotting down a few adjectives that describe your business and use those to find the right tone. “Bold,” “curious,” and “authoritative” might make sense for a travel brand, for example.
In general, Instagram users don’t expect a formal or serious tone. Of course, it depends on the industry and audience, but you should strive to keep things light, use humor where appropriate, and show personality. For some Instagram post inspiration, check out this episode of Fridge-worthy, where our social media experts break down why this sparkling water company’s brand voice is SO GOOD:
3. Place the most important words at the beginning of the caption
If you want your entire caption to display “above the fold,” stick to 125 characters or fewer. After that, followers will have to click More to see the rest of your text.
So, don’t bury the lead. If you’re going to use a longer caption, make sure to put the most important and attention-grabbing info right upfront. Put any @mentions and hashtags at the end.
In this example, it only makes sense that information about the giveaway is front and center. After all, that’s what this post is all about, and the bold intro helps grab the audience’s attention.
If you want to use several hashtags but don’t want to clutter your caption, group your hashtags in one “paragraph” at the end of your post.
5. Ask a question
Asking a question in your Instagram caption is a sure way to spark engagement with your post. Engagement is a key component of the Instagram algorithm. It also creates a great opportunity to interact with your audience.
You won’t likely want to ask a question in every Instagram caption, but this is a good strategy to employ from time to time. Just make sure that you monitor your comments and get engaged in the discussion your question sparks.
6. Use a call to action
If you want people to take a specific action after viewing your post, don’t be afraid to say so. If you want people to visit your website, direct them to the link in your bio.
In this example from clothing brand Frank and Oak, the caption includes a call to action asking the brand’s followers to post pictures using a branded hashtag.
Interesting note: We recently ran an experiment and found Instagram posts that included the phrase “link in bio” in the caption slightly outperformed other posts.