The growth of my instagram account surprised me. I certainly didn’t set out for it to grow at big as it did. And I certainly am surprised it continues to grow at the pace that it does. I’m going to try to capture why I think that is.
These aren’t all my own photographs. If they were all my own, I know my following would not be the size it is today. Because the fact is, I’m just not as good a photographer as most of my community.
The irony does not escape me here. I have an eye for a good photograph but I don’t always take the best shots. Regardless, I still know a good shot when I see one.
I don’t alter the photos I repost in any way. I may have an opinion on how to improve a photo with an edit of some sort (or I may not, given the previous point). But I don’t touch them. It’s a sign of respect to the photographer.
I’ve seen so many accounts blatantly pretend that shots are their own. Never understood the point of that. Because inevitably the lie is exposed. Frankly, it disgusts me. My reaction is to block the person from my account. It’s the least I can do.
My account has about 500 submissions a day. And I’m generally quite a lazy guy. I could easily fall into the trap of reposting the first image that comes along. But I don’t. I take my time going through as many as I have time to.
Speciality coffee has an incredibly unnecessary snob element attached to it. Most of that comes from the fact that knowledge about coffee isn’t openly shared. I try to demystify it all through the shots I post and in my blog.
I post often. Sometimes more than 6 times a day. The flip side of this effort is spam. And that fine line between frequency and spam has taken a while to find. What’s worked for me is 1 post every 3 hours.
I try to keep the account relevant. If aeropress as a brew method is taking off, for example, I’ll be sure to post some shots that feature the aeropress. If it’s Christmas Day, all of the shots posted on that day will have a Christmas theme. If I’m in a new city, or a new shop, I make sure to feature it (check out the posts on my recent trip to London and Edinburgh).
I keep the captions simple. In fact, I repeat the same call to action in every shot. This is actually more practical than it is clever. Fact is, I may post 8 times a day. And I’m just not creative enough to come up with 8 witty captions a day. And posting at that frequency means the process of posting needs to be effortlessly quick. I can have a post up in less than 30 seconds these days. I’d rather spend more time going through those 500 submissions to find the right shot.
Like any job, having the right tools is key. I’ve kept that simple too. My weapon of choice is whatever the latest iPhone is (can’t wait to get my hands on a matte black 7 Plus). The camera is excellent. And the phone’s ability to take screenshots that don’t lose the photo’s resolution in any way is great. I use Snapseed for cropping and, for my own photos, some editing. And I use VSCO almost every time I edit one of my own. On the rare occasion I do add text to any photos, I use Over.
Those are the most important reasons I can think of right now. If I am reminded of more, I’ll do a follow-up post. If you have specific questions, comment below.
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