What's Your Instagram Story, Bronte?
Bronte has recently been featured by Instagram in one of their weekend hashtag projects (#whpstripes) and her account has grown significantly. As has Bronte's creativity. As soon as she was featured she upped her game and became more and more adventurous with her Instagram feed. Bronte is also incredibly generous and shares how she has created her photos in her Instagram Stories.
So, welcome Bronte. And thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. Tell me, why did you post that first picture on Instagram? What was going on in your life at that time?
I posted my first ever photo on Instagram because I wanted to start building up my audience as an author. I never knew how huge the Instagram community was - I didn’t really understand it, I just knew I needed to start building up my online presence in order to look more appealing to a publisher.
Scroll back through your feed to that first ever photograph. When did you post it?
The very first photo I posted (that I haven’t since archived!) was posed on 5th December 2016.
How would you describe your feed in those early days?
Lost. I was very lost. I was really obsessed with flatlays and for a while that was all I posted. It was very stereotypically ‘bookstagram’ because I was copying what everyone else was doing. I hadn’t found my own style yet and was just trying to get ‘in’ with the bookstagrammers!
Care to share your first few pictures? (Your first ever picture and your first grid of nine.)
How would you describe your feed as it stands now?
I like to think that my feed is original. I show my love for books in more creative ways that just doing flatlays of book covers. It’s a nice mixture of whimsy and fun and every photo is different. I’m always experimenting with new ideas.
What are the similarities and differences between your account then and what it is today?
I’m pretty sure the one similarity is that I showcase books! But there are no end of differences. I use a lot of Photoshop in my pictures today and do a lot of outside photos. Flaylays have become a thing of the past for my account and I only do those now for my work with @abookishphotographer.
Even the apps I use to add filters onto my photos has changed. I spend a lot more time editing my photos now and I think that shows. There’s a lot more ‘breathable space’ in my photos now, which makes them much more appealing to look at!
Tell us the story of your feed. When did you consciously start to 'style' your feed? Can you tell by looking at your grid?
Late February/Early March time was when I decided to start taking this whole Instagram thing seriously. And you can most definitely tell, because I started appearing more in my photos! It was by chance that in the middle of March, my account started to look very pink. It was then I decided to start theming my months with colours. April became blue book month, and May became yellow book month. This was when my account began to get some sort structure with my posts, as I decided to have 3 different styles of photos (in bed, white background and a bed of books). In June, I decided to do a fairytale retelling month and this was the first time I had a checkerboard theme. I absolutely loved this month because I adored all of the green. This was also the first time I started taking photos outside. I loved outside shots so much that I decided to have all of my July photos outside. I have sine archieved all of those! August wasa bit of a tough month for my account because I spent all of it in America without access to my ordinary book stash. I’ve since archived these photos as well. September was when my account started to look remotely like it does today and was when I really started to love Instagram.
How has your account evolved over time?
As you can see, my account in the early days is unrecognisable. I have really found my place in the community now and I’m not following what everyone else is doing. My photos are so much more creative now and so much thought and love goes into them, a love that certainly wasn’t there in the early days.
Tell us about your recent Instagram feature. Did you always create a picture for the weekend hashtag project? Did you create that particular picture with the hashtag in mind?
I think I had only entered the WHP about three times before I got featured. That particular photo was created for the #whpstripes in mind, but the concept of the photo was nothing new to my account. I had posted other ‘book stairs’ posts in the past and they always did really well (I still don’t know why as I was never particularly fond of them!)
What happened to your account once it was posted onto Instagram's?
In simple terms, it blew up. I went to sleep the night before I was featured with 7,500ish followers and I went to bed the night I got featured with over 11,000. It went absolutely crazy. I was bombarded with messages and not all of them were positive. I was being called out by people of certain cultures saying I was being disrespectful for standing on books. It was really heart-breaking because I had no idea that my photo would ever cause offense. However, I soon got over my anger and sadness and started focussing on the positives.
How has your account changed since being featured?
Before I got featured, a lot of my posts were very same-ish and there were a whole lot of bookstacks. A pretty ridiculous amount of them. I had never really used Photoshop on my photos before, but after I got featured I knew I had to up my game. I started to be more creative with my photos and tried more to make every post unique.
Your photos aren't a simple point and shoot - there's often hours of work involved. What drives you to keep creating photographs?
I didn’t realise how much I actually love editing photos until I started doing them. I think my new found passion and love for photo editing is what drives me to do it – simple as that!
How has Instagram impacted other parts of your life?
There’s parts of peoples lives that doesn’t involve Instagram? It’s honestly just become a part of me now. My university magazine has interviewed me about it and I’ve started getting people from real life (people actually do exist outside of the internet) complimenting me on my account. It’s sort of a bit weird! I think the only time I’m not thinking about Instagram is when I’m asleep (and even then I sometimes dream about it!)
What opportunities has it brought you?
It’s bought me a lot of work related opportunities. I’ve started working with some amazing brands (such as JORD watches) to produce sponsored content and I’m honestly loving it. It’s so exciting!
Thank you so much Bronte, it's a joy to watch your creativity unfurl.
Did you know I have a four-week e-course about storytelling and building a blog? It's on sale now.
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