Over a year ago I made a decision to start putting in serious effort into my Instagram account. I made the conscious choice to work as hard and intentionally as I could towards making Instagram my visual portfolio and creative outlet that could eventually earn me a living.
In the scope of a year I´ve grown from just around 1000 followers to almost 50k and gotten featured on Instagrams own page an incredible pinch-me -I-can't-quite-believe-it 5 times!
This all has finally given me the confidence and courage to start calling myself a content creator, an Instagrammer, maybe even an influencer even though I still think that´s sort of a weird word.
Some things about becoming an "Instagrammer" I did expect, I knew you could make money by collaborating with brands and doing content for them. I also knew that the pressure to create good and interesting content would probably get higher.
But, there are also things I didn´t see coming, things no one really talks about or warns you about, so I thought I´d share those.
1. Sometimes (actually, quite often) you need to put on the "Annoying Creative Director" hat at home
The thing about working from home is that it's really difficult separating "creative work" time and "private relaxing" time. Like with most creative projects that you feel passionate about they never really leave your mind, and unfortunately this obsession has a tendency to spill out onto anyone who is nearby when you work from home.
My boyfriend is really supportive and has become my silent creative partner that often takes my photos, but that doesn't mean he is always up for hour long discussions about ideas and the ins & outs of Instagram.
Obviously I need to respect that, but other times I need to put on the Annoying Creative Director hat and make sure I still get my content done, even though that sometimes messes with the peace at home.
I bring him lots of chocolate though and then he's usually very happy again. Apparently bribes not only work for kids & pets but adult men too :D
2. You don't have to be photogenic
I like to look at photos that have people in them which is one of the reasons I'm also often in the photos I take. I feel human presence just gives me the ability to tell stories in a way that work for me and feels interesting.
I've never felt I was very good in photos though, so this was and still is a big challege when you're committed to being in your own photos a lot.
But, through lots of experimenting I've realized I can divert the attention by creating a lot of context and focus on the things around me in my photos so it doesn't become so much about me me me. And, to be honest getting a better camera really does miracles too (the iPhone is probably the most difficult one to take good portrait shots with).
I wrote a blog post with 10 tips for self portrait photography when the camera doesn't love you if you're struggling with the same thing as me that you might want to check out for some light hearted tips ;)
3. The stuff you want to make, may not be the stuff you are good at making
Even though you might have an idea of what type of stuff you´d like to write about or what kind of photos you'd want to take, those might not be the ones that come naturally to you.
Every once in a while I get this idea that I really want to take these pretty fashion blog style paparazzi shots, and every time I try they just don´t turn out as I had envisioned.
Slowly I've just realised and come to accept that maybe that style just isn't me, and that's totally fine.
The more you experiment the more likely you are to find your own style, just try try try and you'll see crazy progress :)
4. More followers doesn't mean more self confidence
Seeing that your creative work resonates with people and growing your own tribe feels good and will give you a self confidence boost, but it doesn't take away that self doubt and feeling of having to improve and up your game all the time.
Yes, it can be stressfull to constantly have to keep at it, but it's also a very good thing because I think it keeps pushing your motivation and in the grand scope of things is the thing that will make you develop.
Reaching for perfectionism will probably never end and that is the end goal in itself, the process and feeling of growth is where the meaningfulness lies :)
5. Instagram can be a very unpredicatble platform
This is something I've especially exprienced a lot lately. It seems the Instagram algorithm is constantly changing which means that your reach and how many people will see your post keeps fluctuating, and content that did really well before might not be as "safe" anymore.
I do try to embrace change, but when you realise that this platform and thing you've poured so much of your creative soul and heart into is actually very much out of your control it does feel a little scary.
But, like with anything worth pursuing I think persistance is the key. So, the way I deal with this is to trying to focus on the bigger picture instead of obsessing about the small bump along the way.
How did you first get into Instagram (note how I automatically assume evryone’s on Instagram ;))?
Has your reasons for being on the platform changed over time?
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