Photo dumps have become a fixture on our social media feeds — even POTUS has jumped on board!
But what exactly is a photo dump and why is it a user favorite?
We're diving into what qualifies as a "photo dump," why it's an engagement driver, and how you can try it, below.
Table of Contents
What Is a Photo Dump, Anyway?
A photo dump is a collection of photos and videos gathered together in one post on Instagram or, sometimes, TikTok.
Rather than perfectly edited photos and videos, a photo dump is a low-effort collection that conveys a story or mood.
Think a blurry selfie followed by an image of a half-eaten sandwich, a video at the beach, and a comical meme or GIF.
It’s the details that paint a fuller picture, revealing so much more than one single shot.
FYI: Later is a social media management platform trusted by over 4M businesses, creators, and marketers. Sign up today and start scheduling your carousel posts in advance — available on all paid plans!
Where Can I Post Photo Dumps?
You can post photo dumps on both Instagram and TikTok — they just have slightly different origin stories and uses.
Let’s take a closer look:
Instagram Photo Dumps
It’s no secret that the pandemic seriously impacted our Instagram feeds.
IRL events, concerts, and social gatherings took a back seat; yet our social media usage continued to soar.
Enter: The photo dump — a relatable way to convey our lockdown days:
And in the years since, Instagram photo dumps have surged in popularity — the hashtag #photodump alone has amassed over 2.8M posts and counting.
They’re a great way to connect with your audience through authentic imagery rather than the pressures of “picture-perfect” filters and hyper-edited content.
Additionally, photo dumps are a super-smart visibility and engagement tactic.
Since each slide — you can post up to 10 — can surface in home feeds multiple times, there's multiple chances to connect with your community as they scroll.
Level-up your Instagram strategy by planning, previewing, and scheduling your carousel posts in advance with Later — sign up today.
TikTok Photo Dumps
While photo dumps originally rose to popularity on Instagram, they eventually migrated to TikTok via “photo mode” — a carousel-style format.
With photo mode, users can share multiple still images — up to 35 slides — to a single TikTok post.
Set to audio, users can swipe through each image or let the app scroll through automatically.
And thanks to their loop-like format, photo mode posts are perfect for sharing educational content, spotlighting funny memes, or explaining the value of a product or service:
With the right strategy, you can boost engagement, increase brand affinity, and even drive product sales. Win-win-win!
How to Do a Photo Dump on TikTok or Instagram
FYI: You don't need to be an influencer or creator to jump on this trend.
From casual users to small businesses — photo dumps can work for anyone.
The number one rule? There are no rules — this is your opportunity to be a little more casual and show a different (or more intimate) side of your brand.
Here's our simple four-step plan to perfect the art of the photo dump:
#1: Decide on Your Photo Dump Direction
Do you want to convey a feeling, promote a product, or recap an event? It's time to define your photo dump goal.
Before you start looking at what content to use, think about what you want to achieve with your audience through your photo dump post.
Speaking of carousel goals, bookmark this blog for inspiration: 8 Creative Ways to Use Instagram Carousel Posts
#2: Curate Your Photo Dump Content
While your photo dump images and videos can feel like a random selection, it's worth being strategic with the first image in your carousel post.
Kick off your photo dump with an image, GIF, or video that will entice your audience to keep swiping for more.
See how content creator Peyton Dix immediately grabs attention by showcasing a video of Nicole Kidman as the start of her Oscar coverage carousel:
From there, it’s best to include a variety of content types: photos, videos, GIFs, and memes.
Nano TikTok creator, Dakota jumped on the trend by sharing a mix of the best tweets and GIFs from a recent Succession episode:
Use photo dumps to illustrate behind-the-scenes content, share an announcement, offer a sneak peek, or to simply show off your personality and humor.
#3. Craft The Perfect Photo Dump Caption
Once you’ve selected your imagery, choose a caption to match.
Remember, your carousel conveys a story, so it’s best to keep your caption short and sweet to deliver a punchier message.
For example, Clémence Lopez perfectly sums up her travels to London with a simple photo dump caption:
Having trouble coming up with a photo dump caption? With Later's new AI Caption Writer for Instagram, you can create on-brand captions in seconds — no brainstorming required.
#4. Schedule Your Photo Dump With Later
Once you’ve got your caption on lock, you can plan and prep your Instagram photo dump with Later.
Here’s how to get started:
It’s as simple as logging onto Later, heading to your Media Library, and selecting a few images (or videos) for your carousel post.
From there you can add your caption, rearrange media, edit, and crop your content:
Once you’re happy with your photo dump, choose a date and time, and click save.
When it's time to post, it will be automatically published — unless you select the "Send Notification" option instead.
For Notification publishing, you will receive everything you need delivered straight to your mobile via the Later app, so you can manually publish your carousel post in seconds.
And just like that, you’ve created your first photo dump!
3 Ideas for Your First Photo Dump
In need of a little photo dump inspo?
We’ve got you covered with three creative ways to post your very first photo dump, below.
#1: Promote a Product
Photo dumps allow you to share several photos, videos, and graphics all in one post — which is a great way to introduce a product to your audience.
Maybe you want to share product variations, like different colors or styles, or perhaps there’s some important details you want to highlight.
Take SSENSE for example. As part of their upcoming SS23 launch, the brand used a photo dump to share photos of skirt variations available on the site:
Not only does this tease their products, but it adds extra contextualization for how each piece can be worn or styled — which is an excellent way to encourage conversion.
Whatever your product, service, or content, photo dumps provide a great opportunity to dig into the details, inform your audience, and encourage clicks.
#2: Curate “In the Moment” Photo Dumps
Photo dumps are like the early years of Facebook when you’d dump a night's worth of photos into an album and post without the care of being aesthetically pleasing or not.
And now, that same sentiment has found its way onto Instagram and TikTok:
They’re like a mini collection of unpolished visuals that tell a story or mood, and because they feel more personal than a single grid image, they’ve become especially popular among the creator community.
Use the power of photo dumps to showcase a quick recap of your month, a day in the life, or a recent event.
#3. Round-up User-generated Content (UGC)
Alongside customer reviews, UGC is one of the most trusted forms of content that you can share on social media.
With an effective UGC strategy, you can increase brand loyalty, strengthen a sense of community on your channel, and drive more product sales.
And what’s better than a single piece of UGC? Well, lots of pieces of UGC.
For example, Parade curated a roundup of posts from their community to showcase their recent Target launch:
Moving away from a solitary post, photo dumps are an excellent way to gain visibility and connect with your community.
Whether you’re launching a new product or showcasing your team, photo dumps are making authenticity cool again.
Ready to get started? Plan, preview, and schedule your posts in advance with Later — sign up today.