1. Could you share a little bit about yourself and how you got started in photography?
I have been into photography for quite a while. I used to always purchase disposable cameras when I was in middle school and take shots of my friends and I skateboarding around town. When I became an archaeologist and began participating in surveys in the outdoors, I started to really enjoy landscape photography. I was hiking around while working in some beautiful places and had a strong desire to capture them.
2. When did you first hear about Instagram, and how has your account grown since then?
I first heard about Instagram in early 2011. At that time it was only an Apple app and I had an Android. I picked up an iPhone 3GS in September of that year (not specifically for Instagram, but that was one of the first apps I DLed). For the first year or so I used Instagram like 99% of people do, for pictures of things I was doing and my friends and I, stuff like that. I would occasionally post some of my landscape shots and began to realize people were responding to them. I decided in probably January of 2013 to change what I used Instagram for, and since then I’ve gained the approximately 22,000 followers I have now.
3. Do you use other platforms besides Instagram to share your photography? If so, how does your usage of them compare to Instagram?
The only other platform I use to share my photography is Facebook, and that is solely for my friends and family. I still use Instagram way more than Facebook, though.
4. What advice would you give to photographers looking to make the most out of using Instagram?
Really, it just depends on what you are looking to get out of Instagram. If you are just looking for something to share your daily moments, what you are eating, who you are hanging out with, etc., etc., then just post and that’s all you have to do.
If you are looking to grow and gain exposure then it becomes a lot different. First of all, I think posting good pictures is important. Second, being very engaging (e.g., liking and commenting on peoples pictures, commenting back to people who comment on your pictures, etc.) is important.
There are always exceptions to those “rules,” but those are the things I have found work well and get attention in a good way, rather than a bad way.
5. If you could choose just one thing that has made the most impact on your work as a photographer, what would it be?
It has actually been a few of the people I met through Instagram that have really affected the way I not only shoot, but also edit. I think the different points of view have made me think of things differently and therefore changed the way I approach photography. It has also given me the opportunity to adventure with like-minded people.