Written by Marjorie Dawson

Best Nine #52Assignments No. 26

Best Nine #52Assignments No. 26

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2021 has been a stressful year for everyone but, in spite of this, I think we have all enjoyed taking better and better photographs with our cameras and smartphones. This week’s 52 Assignments project is the ‘Best Nine’ and it prompts you to look back over the past 12 months to discover which of your photos resonated with others on Instagram.

What is This #BestNine Thing?

The apps that create the best nine photos on Instagram assemble your most commented on and liked photos into a cool grid of nine images. The apps don’t give you control over which photos appear so you might be surprised by the results.

Special Bonus Tip

As an extra bonus I have discovered that if you still have photos you like better that the selections the apps make, you can showcase your own favourite photos in the same format. Check out the details and app recommendations below.

Best Nine Section of the 52 Assignments book.
52 Assignments Instagram book

Smartphone Apps For Best Nine Layouts

It is worth noting that the website mentioned in 52 Assignments was not working when I checked in December 2021, but Adam Juniper notes in 52 Assginments that it should redirect to the current year’s page, as this happened in previous years. From here you create your best nine block.

I have found Apple and Google Play smartphone app options, plus a ‘create your own Best Nine’ 3×3 template in BeFunky.

  1. Apple: Top Nine App Store
  2. Google Play Best Nine Google Play
  3. Create your own using BeFunky > Collage Maker. [Computer and App versions – free]
Best Nine Sample
dashkittenphotos (c) Instgram

The #bestnine hashtag is always popular at the end of one year and the start of the next so be warned, the site gets busy in December and January. Results may take longer to arrive.

Create Your Own Best Nine

You can create your own grid of photos and include your personal favourites. It’s a great way to showcase cat photographs on a theme, using a tone like sepia, or spotlighting one particular cat you love.

Your own photo editing app may even help you create your own best nine display, so check it out. I will focus on one, simple to use option here – Be Funky for smartphones. I recommend it as it’s easy to use and makes a great collage.

Be funky Screenshot demonstration of best nine layout
Screenshot of BeFunky’s Blank Template

I’ve included two sample grids in this post. The top image shows a photo grid with a plain background and the grid below shows a polka dot background. There are also plain colours you can use as backgrounds depending on your own preference or the effect you need.

Hashtags for Best Nine

There are only two relevant hashtags #bestnine and #bestnine2021 so add in a small handful of other relevant hashtags that relate closely to your theme.

A three by three grid for instagram photos
Grid Created in BeFunky Smartphone App DashKitten

Instagram Hashtags

Instagram seems to be refining its search function and wants to focus on your specific interests e.g. cats, photography, adventuring with cats etc. and maybe moving away from the 25+ hashtags per post idea to a slimmed-down number of maybe 4-7. So many people use Instagram their algorithm is struggling so changes are coming.

Instagram Hashtag Update: Thanks to Annette of Where Pets Are Found I have some more information on the hashtag developments at Instagram.

  • Keywords in captions are more important than # tags. I heard it from this presenter at Social Media Examiner a couple of months ago, and in this video from last month (Nov’21) at about the 7min mark she reiterates that fewer is better:  https://youtu.be/-cM_UbBJ_cs

Other 52 Assignment posts you might like:

Marjorie Dawson

Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can shoot and edit wonderful pictures they love regardless of the camera they use.

She is a Professional member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.

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17 thoughts on “Best Nine #52Assignments No. 26”

  1. I am always learning from you and have finally conquered Canva for photos and videos I am posting better posts on Instagram but learning each day something new. Not having a smartphone and using a camera I am learning daily

  2. This a cool concept for a photo collection, & better than having to scroll through a year’s worth of photos yourself to find the top 9! Great tip from Annette, I never thought much about keywords in Insta posts.

  3. You’re amazing with how you can inspire people to try new challenges. I’ve yet to figure out Instagram very well. Or be very consistent with it. But I do aspire to do so and I will try to model your techniques in my own way. Thanks for the inspiration with these apps!

  4. Your assignments are fantastic and motivate and encourage people to try things and have fun. Which is what it is all about.

  5. I did something like this once, but forgot how to do it. I’ll look into your suggestions. It’s always fun to see the most popular!

  6. Instagram and I don’t get along much–though I appreciate that I can now upload photos or videos from my computer instead of just the phone.

  7. I’m not the best at being consistent with Instagram. I can’t even keep up with all the algorithm changes myself. I love your top nine selections. It’s a great way to do a round-up with this featured app.

  8. Your top 9 are lovely! I might have to do this too. Instagram is by far my favorite social media platform.

  9. Hi Marjorie,
    I had heard that there was a shift to more focused # tags and that 3-5 were best… 4-7 sounds fair 😉
    Keywords in captions are more important than # tags.
    I heard it from this presenter at Social Media Examiner a couple of months ago, and in this video from last month (Nov’21) at about the 7min mark she reiterates that fewer is better: https://youtu.be/-cM_UbBJ_cs

  10. We did the best nine thing in Instagram the last few years. It’s kind of neat, but we always forget until the last minute. Thank you for the reminder!

  11. Oh, that might even be a fun way to compose a Christmas card.
    I do have an IG account, but I don’t post there…same with my FB…I do post there sometimes,, though rarely.


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