The 5 Most Successful Instagram Photos Of All Time

October 15, 2005

It’s been five years since Instagram launched, successfully and intrinsically merging the worlds of photography and social media. Its success has not only changed the way we share photos but also shaped the way we take them. Social savvy superstars are now always on the lookout for good photo opportunities and ways in which they can leverage their lives to propel their own personal brand and social media presence.

Half a decade after its launch, Instagram is still the fastest growing social media platform in existence. This year it went past 400 million users adding an average of 10 million users every month.

There are roughly 926 photos uploaded to Instagram PER SECOND…That’s more than 80 million a day, more than 5 BILLION a week! That’s a heck of a lot of breakfast pics, dogs and all manner of selfies. So in five years what are the top Insta posts of all time?

The five most highly engaged posts on Instagram

From least popular to most popular, these are the five best performing Instagram photos of all time.

5) Kylie Jenner’s graduation photo

2.3 million likes 84.9 thousand comments

We’re going to flag this early, the stars of Keeping up with the Kardashians are going to dominate this list.

What works:

One of the things that makes this photo so successful is that it is sharing such a significant and relatable life moment with the audience.

4) Kimye (Kanye & Kim) wedding photo

2.4 million likes and 61.5 thousand comments

We’re not going to lie, given the popularity of both Kim and Kanye we’re surprised this isn’t number one.

What holds it back:

Kimye may have missed out by using a side on photo. Photos with visible facial features get 38% more engagement on Instagram.

3) Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris holiday photo

2.5 million likes 76.1 thousand comments

Another celebrity power couple combines to rule Insta likes.

What works:

Tay Tay has built a brand around being super relatable; she’s the Jennifer Lawrence of the music world, and at least part of the appeal of this photo.

2) Taylor Swift’s flowers from Kanye

2.5 million likes 47.4 thousand comments

I’ma let you finish, but Taylor Swift has one of the best Instagram photos of all time.

What works:

Again, there is something incredibly fun and relatable about this photo (or as relatable as a photo of Taylor Swift getting a big bunch of flowers from Kanye can be). She owns the awkward and isn’t afraid to have fun with the situation.

1) Kendall Jenner’s crazy love heart hair

3.1 million likes 139.1 thousand comments    

The third Keeping up with the Kardashian feature in the top 5, Kendall’s hair broke the Instagram.

What works:

Kendall is the least profilic Instagrammer on the list mounting a case for quality not quantity on the social site. The photo is face focused which we’ve already established is a huge Insta win.

What can brands takeaway from the top 5 Instagram posts of all-time

Firstly, it helps to be a Kardashian, but even that takeaway is significant. It highlights the importance of leveraging social proof and using social influencers to reach your audience, but some more practical tips include:


Audiences want to connect with the people behind the posts, featuring faces is a great way to make your brand relatable, knowable and likable.

Be relatable

3 of the top 5 Instagram photos are significant moments that most people can relate too, weddings, graduations and holiday bliss. Give your audience content they can see themselves in and share.

That’s it for now; we need to take a selfie.