Biz Tips: How To Crush it on Instagram

Biz Tips: How To Crush it on Instagram


How To Crush it on Instagram

“Canon AT-1 vintage camera on a gray fabric” by Philipp M. on Unsplash

Go Hard or Go Home

Medium is a weird place to discuss Instagram. Yes, I’m aware of that.

But if you happen to have any inkling of growing your Instagram influence, we are in the same boat.

I have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. I had bursts of inspiration where I go on weeks posting every single day and then getting burned out until stopping altogether. I can’t find continuity or sense into what it is I was doing.

This is my younger brother. My mom is in the background, Singapore 2007

My dad got me my first DSLR back in 2007 when we were visiting Singapore. He bought me an entry-level Sony Alpha camera. It got me into photography, and that led me into studying light exposure through books and videos. The most impactful book that taught me everything was Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

From that day forward, I became the designated family photographer. I took a thousand photos of gatherings and vacations. I even made a couple of photobooks because you know, Facebook was not yet a thing.

I was not a massive FaceBook user, until now I rarely use it as a platform to share anything. I only use messenger or get updated with family or friends. So when Instagram became mainstream, I jumped the bandwagon. Finally, a platform where I can post my photos and express my work as a photographer.

But it was on-and-off for me. I love it, and then I hated it. I enjoyed the shooting more than the sharing. After taking a photo and editing it, I was done with it. It stayed on my hard drive and would look at them sporadically.

One day I was buying a second-hand vintage lens from an online seller cause I couldn’t afford brand new lenses. When I met up with this guy, he gave me a film camera for free. I was surprised by the generosity. He wanted to share his passion for film cameras that’s why he gave it away. When I checked the price of the camera, it’s not that expensive but still a gift that I appreciated.

Photo by Zhen Hu on Unsplash

This prompted me to buy rolls of film and have my first taste of analog photography. A roll of film has a finite number of exposures, unlike a phone or DSLR that can take thousands of photos. They limit you to either 36 or 24 shots (depends on the brand and variety), so you need to think hard before clicking.

I devised a self-imposed challenge of taking one shot every single day. After one month, I had 30 photographs that took time and effort. I was so happy with the project cause I learned so much from it.

I saw taking a hundred shots as mindless photography. I need to take my time and think, before hitting the shutter button. Film detached me from the result — after pressing the button, you don’t see the image. I had to get it processed in a lab and wait for days. It was delayed gratification, and it made me fall in love with photography again.

My girlfriend at that time. She’s now my wife.

But the novelty didn’t last that long, it was hard to buy film rolls, and the local lab was damaging some of the photos. So I gave it up and sold the film camera.

I applied the lessons I’ve learned from analog into digital photography. The next challenge I gave myself was black and white (bnw). I took one bnw photo every single day. This forced me to think about composition more than anything.

Left is from a construction site, we were pouring concrete that day. Right is the stairs going to my boss’ office. The lines and geometry of things are enhanced with black and white photography
I met this girl in acting school. I saw her analyzing her script and rehearsing in a corner. Hardwork does pay off — she’s now a mainstream actress in our country.

Set your phone into a bnw filter and see the world from a different perspective. This challenge was influenced by Henri Cartier Bresson, one of my favorite photographers.

I want to get back into Instagram, and I want to make it a challenge. I have purged my feed twice already. I was not happy with the work and deleted all the photos — hard reset. I am contemplating about doing the same for the third time and start with a clean slate.

The photos are still on my hard drive, and I can always share them again. There is no sentimental value with the captions I wrote or comments that I got, so I’m not losing anything here.

Here’s the thing — I only operate with intensity and tenacity. I get to post on Medium because I do it every day. If I do it once a week, I’ll fail. I thrive on small consistent daily work.

I am boring like that.

Here are my self-imposed restrictions on a 30-day Instagram Challenge. Tag along if you’re interested.

1. Post one real-time photo every day, no throwback or late posts
2. Use my mirrorless camera, no iPhone photos
3. The caption should be stolen from the day’s Medium article
4. Color Photography only
5. Should include people in the frame
6. Take time in shooting and capture one photo only
7. Create posts after lunch

Instagram stories has a significant engagement with audiences. It’s a vlog that’s raw and intimate. I should work on restrictions with it as well but make it a constant companion to the daily posting. I can make this concurrent with the regular posting. The biggest problem I have is that I don’t have anything interesting to share or I resort to shooting whatever. So I’ll talk about whatever it is I’m doing or copy my medium content.

Plastering my big face here so you’d remember to follow me on Instagram

I hope that I can rekindle my love for Instagram. It’s an ex-girlfriend that I keep coming back to cause we have a deep connection that I can’t explain. We can iron out our differences if we can keep the boundaries aligned.

I can do it and so can you. Create your own self imposed limitations. Share your own concoctions in the comments section.

Talk to you soon my friend.

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