blog

How I went from zero to 100,000 Instagram followers in one year

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.

Community

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.

Eye

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.

fullsizerender-45
@thejerryheil

Respect

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.

Credit

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.

fullsizerender-43
@brandongurney

Curation

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.

Demystification

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.

fullsizerender-52
@ttroubletaker

Frequency

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.

Relevance

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).

fullsizerender-46
@austinnguyen96

Simplicity

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.

Tools

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.

Thanks for following, commenting & tagging your friends. If you’re not following me yet, check out my account.

Cover image by @stradacoffee.id

4 comments on “How I went from zero to 100,000 Instagram followers in one year

  1. Hey! My name is Eric and I am a Commercial/ Lifestyle Photographer in Greensboro NC. Just wanted to say I am a big fan of your blogs and instagram posts. Also, I have a huge amount of respect for you choosing to give the photographers photo credit on the photos you pay. I have friend that I hoot for and local coffee shops that don’t even do that for me. It’s nice to know someone out there willing to do the right thing. I would also like to know how you started blogging. I am 22 and just recently married, and I seek adventure. Seeing your feed and post make me want to try and see the world in a different way. I want the publicity and to start a blog not for my own benefit, but to show the world how enjoyable life is when you notice the little things, such as coffee haha. Also, by the time my life is over, I want my wife to be able to say that she lived a life of adventure. I guess I’m honestly just trying to work or collaborate with anyone that is willing to give it a shot. I’m all open to new ideas and I want to help my photography grow and help others along the way. I know this message might seem like it is all over the place, but you probably know just as much as me, it’s hard to be noticed. Anyways, again amazing post and a big fan. I hope to hear from you soon! Keep up the awesome work!

    Sincerely, Eric

    • Hi Eric, thanks for your note. You’re absolutely on the right track. Start a blog. Write from the heart. And have fun. Everything else will follow. Andy

  2. Great post Andy and congrats on the amazing following. I’m always unsure of the best way to feature photos from other accounts…so do you just screenshot the pic on your phone, crop out the junk around it, and post?

    • Hi Heather, thank you! Yep, screenshot on the iPhone, crop out the caption, be careful not to cut any of the photo, and post. I found that the iPhone is the only device that screenshots without losing any of the photo’s resolution.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: