photography & instagram

finding your instagram voice


How on earth do you find your voice on an app with 300 million monthly users worldwide…? How do you know where to plant your feet? Or at least where to start walking from. I’m not convinced that there is a concise answer to this, so here are just a couple of things I try and remind myself of fairly often..

Be yourself

Always and unapologetically. You have your own thoughts and interests, your own style and ideas, use them! Don’t be swayed by what others are doing, just be you.

Don’t worry too much about what others are posting

Leading on from above this tip is applicable a few ways.

Firstly, think about what you love about the here and now. For example there have been pumpkins galore recently as I scroll through my Instagram feed. Autumn scenes, colourful leaves. In the southern hemisphere it’s been all about spring. Sometimes it’s nice to go with the flow, perhaps even easy, and at other times better to go against it, start your own flow… Post whatever has caught your eye recently.

Secondly bear in mind that influence is one thing and imitation quite another. To admire the style and composition of others can be so inspiring but don’t try and replicate what you see. Look at life through your own eyes. There is no rule book here, you don’t have to take a walk in the woods and hold a leaf in front of the camera…

Post what makes you happy

If taking a walk in the woods and holding a leaf in front of the camera makes you happy then post it!! There is no rule book here (see what I did there…?) good thing too! If you want to post a photo of your feet/coffee/children/kittens/mittens/dancing shoes then DO!! It’s your gallery, use it your way.

Try not to dwell on numbers

How many followers, how many likes, how many leaves on a piece of white card… Who cares, it saps the fun and spontaneity. I say this from experience. I’ve been guilty of pouring over such ‘facts’ and have learned, er, not a lot. There is no rhyme or reason to it, what your followers love one week they may feel indifferently about the next. Or they may love it even more. There is absolutely no logic that I can find. Forget the numbers, refer to my last point…

Remember comparison is the thief of joy

This is a fact. Please just take my advice. Take it with a nice cup of tea and some pretty flowers. Comparing yourself to other instagrammers is not worth your time, enjoy what they post for whatever reason you follow them and leave it there. How well you perceive them to be doing is not helpful to your enjoyment of the app.  Just be you.

Find and follow other instagrammers that inspire you

Use the explore page, your favourite hashtags, see who instagram are following and have a nosey at their accounts… (This is where you will find the current suggested users.) Some of the mahoosive (absolutely a word) accounts like @VSCO post other people photos. Even if you don’t follow their account the odd visit can introduce you to people you may not come across otherwise. If flat lays are your thing have a look at @flatlays… Hubs are a great way of discovering many accounts in one place. When I first joined instagram I followed @nothingisordinary_ (mainly as I liked the name) and found some great accounts through them. I love a little instagram journey, click on people who have commented on either your or other peoples photos, you may just find some gems along the way…

I am not trying in any way to patronise or scare you. I have posted almost daily for well over two years and have felt and experienced both the highs and lows of Instagram. Highs and lows. I love this app, it has opened a whole world of possibilities for me. But at the end of the day these are just my thoughts on the matter and of course you should play it your way. Be you.

Happy ‘gramming!

Julia x


16 comments on “finding your instagram voice”

  1. ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ such good words! Why do we compare ourselves?! Great post x

  2. I just found your blog and IG through another account I follow. This article resonates with me so much. I have kinda been addicted to IG a bit lately, and I have been questioning myself so much. There was a time when I used to aggressively monitor followers ( phew so much effort, and so not proud of myself lol ) – but in the end I ask why? I think I am forgetting that the whole purpose of being on IG and blogging( for me at least) was to enjoy it! I think I forgot that for a while and got caught up in numbers. ‘Post what makes you happy and don’t dwell on numbers’ – This is exactly what I needed to hear, to keep me in check! Thanks friend! :)

  3. Wise words – always good to have a reminder – self-doubt always creeps in when you are having a bad day -usually a good idea to put down your phone at this point! And how had I not come across @flatlays before? Thanks for the intro xx

    1. Yes this is so true Zoë, self doubt can be so detrimental to enjoyment of the app! Flatlays (I’m sure this is an instagram term!) can be so varied, it’s fascinating to have a browse xx

    1. Thank you Abi, I think we could apply this thinking to many areas of life, I have learned that sometimes letting go of things that aren’t making us happy can be the most liberating experience. Not always easy but yes, I firmly believe in choosing happiness xx

  4. love this article dear julia, you are one special lady, and,i think you really should consider publishing a book! :) xx

  5. Love this Julia – agree with everything you say – and comparison is the thief of joy – dying over that line, love it! So so true!! x

    1. Thanks Jules, actually although this post has been in my head for a while, your thoughts on Instagram since Oscar prompted me to write it. I absolutely firmly believe you should post what makes you happy. Comparison is the thief of joy is a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, one of my absolute favourites as it’s so true xx

  6. Love love love this post. You are so good at writing too mrs, not just taking photos! Comparison is the thief of joy, I’ve not heard that before, but I like it, so very true. And also @flatlays, how had I not heard of them, thank you xx

    1. Thanks lovely Emma! It’s been floating around my head for a while and actually it really applies to a lot of this blog too. Post what makes you happy, be yourself. Comparison is the thief of joy is a quote, Theodore Roosevelt, but SO true xx

  7. Hi Julia,
    I agree totally with the ‘post what makes you happy’ phrase. I have followed you for a long time and find your feed inspiring and pretty. I’m always torn between my weekday and weekend shots. They are soooo different but I enjoy doing both. I even considered starting a separate IG feed for them but it would become too much like hard work. I have to stop worrying about the followers and just Post what makes me happy!

    1. Hi Lesley, thans so much for sharing your thoughts, I really appreciate your lovely comments! It’s the biggest thing I try and remind myself (often!), post what makes you happy, be yourself. Have you made your daily commute into a book yet…? Seriously love them xx

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