Last year I was contacted by the team at Capture Magazine - Australia's leading magazine for professional photographers, who were putting together a story about Instagram and how photographers can use it most effectively. I was asked for my thoughts on the topic and was included in the final article among some incredible names in the industry. I thought it might be helpful to also share the full interview with you here on the blog, for anyone who might be interested in finding out more about my personal approach to using the platform. The article was published in the July/August 2017 issue.
Scroll down to read and if you have any comments or questions, I'd love to hear what you think!
Have you been formally educated as a photographer? If so, where?
I studied a Bachelor of Photography majoring in Photographic Art Practice at the Queensland College of Art in Brisbane. I graduated in 2009 and spent much of my degree exploring self portraiture, sculpture and textiles. This time to work with different mediums and styles really allowed me to experiment and be creative without fear of failure.
Did you do anything before you became a photographer?
I worked several part time jobs while at university and photographed weddings and portraits on weekends.
When did you join Instagram?
Five years ago, just before I left Australia on a five-month solo backpacking adventure around the world which not long after led to my move to Paris.
What benefit does Instagram have for professional photographers working outside of the social media sphere (ie. wedding photography)?
Instagram has played a strong role in developing my photography with the added bonus of it becoming an additional marketing resource for my business. As a photographic medium, it's obviously a great tool for showcasing your work but I've found one of the greatest benefits has been that I can share some of my personality and sensibility with my followers. I've met so many amazing couples on shoots because we've had things in common. It's also connected me to an incredible network of likeminded creatives and photographers.
Do these benefits have tangible/measurable outcomes for your business or you as a professional photographer?
I’m grateful to say that they do. As an Australian photographer living in Paris I work with mainly international couples and the majority of my clients find me initially through Instagram.
Do you use Instagram Stories? If so what benefit do they provide to you and your business?
No I don't use Stories. I feel that sometimes we can fall into a trap of oversharing. As I already document a lot of my life and don’t want to be on the phone all the time I try to avoid getting caught up in using too many social tools.
What is your posting procedure? i.e., What tools do you utilize (or not) within the app, use of hashtags, tagging, choosing what to post and when, use of Instagram Stories, etc.
I’ve never really had any kind of strategy and instead of chasing trends or trying to emulate others, I've just focused on posting my happiest moments - be it a pastry or a beautiful couple at the Eiffel Tower. I don't have an action plan in place and prefer not to be tied to a social media schedule. Instead I created my own distinctive voice just by staying true to what I enjoy. My account is a mix of personal snapshots of my daily life in Paris and professional photos. I post between 0 and 3 times a day. My feed is a fusion of both personal and professional content on one single account.
You seem to have a lot of architectural photos amongst your feed, as a wedding photographer where does the architecture inspiration come from?
I walk all the time in Paris which lets me truly appreciate all the gorgeous buildings I come across. The Australian landscape is so different to Paris that the city still always feels new to me. I feel like I step out onto a film set on a daily basis!
Have you been approached to do commissioned work as a social media influencer? If so please elaborate.
I personally don’t consider myself a social media influencer by any means but have been commissioned by magazines and bridal designers to work together on professional projects. I only collaborate with other brands or professionals when it feels natural and we have similar goals in our work.
What was your strategy for accumulating followers?
I’ve never had a strategy when it comes to Instagram. While I’m grateful that other Instagram users appreciate the photos that I post, focusing on the numbers has never been a priority for me. I think living in a beautiful city like Paris naturally attracts others seeking inspiration from it and in that way I’m thankful to be able to do what I love here and share my view of the world with others. I do make sure that all my photos are consistent in their look and feel, I'm active in thanking followers for their comments and I engage with other creatives on their accounts.
What advice do you have for somebody trying to use Instagram to it’s fullest to potential?
Be real and stay intentional - your followers want and appreciate authenticity. Tell a story - Instagram is a great place for escapism. Users want to be transported. Have fun with it and the rest will follow!
Do you have any tips or tricks to share?
Share the love and positivity! Take the time to like and comment on others photos that bring you joy. Avoid posting poorly composed photos for the sake of keeping to a schedule. Most of all - don’t overthink it. Post what you love and those who find your work inspiring will naturally connect with you.