Recently I joined Instagram and it has become something of an obsession. I go on there *clears throat* for work – yes, I think my family see through that pretence! And it’s now a joke how I pimp up my photos with the airbrushing or lighting options. But in all seriousness, I like it because it gives you a different eye on the world.
When I first joined, wondering if it would be a useful social platform for my career, the kind of photos people posted surprised me – many focus on the detail of a scene or object, say in a bowl of fruit, the leaf of a tree or restaurant decor. Food is a popular subject, set out on neat plates as if everyone on there was a professional food photographer. And there are quirky items – the best I saw lately was a toaster in the shape of Darth Vader’s helmet. So now when I wander around shopping or walk in the countryside, I study the scenery like a serious of shots and angles. In a way it has taken me back to my childhood where – due to height (or the lack of it) you appreciate the small things in the world.
Of course, it is just huge fun as well. There are lots of photos of cute kittens and cake, the latter made to look even more delicious by using Instagram effects to add in depth of colour. And talking of those effects, there are a whole range to choose from. You can crop or rotate, add lighting to make the photo look summery or give it a vintage sepia or black and white feel. Plus you can follow your favourite show or celebrity – The Walking Dead was top of my list! You also have the opportunity to get to know your online friends better, as many post photos that they don’t upload onto Facebook or Twitter.
However, I do try to remind myself, first and foremost, that I should be on there for work. So I am trying to build up my followers. Then I post the photos I love taking, with some slipped in advertising my books. I’ve already made a few sales that I know of and met some lovely people whom I’ve now hooked up with on other social platforms. You add hashtags to your photos, as on Twitter, such as “writersofinstagram” or “books” which makes it easy to network and send your pictures to the right audience.
So, why not give it a go and have some fun? I’m on there as SamanthaTongeAuthor. Look me up and like one of the photos of my gorgeous Instagrammed Mitzie above!