What's Your Instagram Story, Jules?
Jules, of this is Jules on Instagram, was probably one of the first Instagrammers I followed who had a beautifully curated feed. Quite possibly this was well before I knew curated feeds were a thing - I would just look at how her pictures had similar colours and tones, how it all flowed seamlessly and wonder just how she did it.
I'm therefore delighted to welcome Jules to my blog to be interviewed for What's Your Instagram Story? She has been a huge inspiration to me in this wonderful world of squares.
You can find Jules' blog at thisisjules.com.
Hi, Jules, and welcome. Scroll back through your feed to that first ever photograph. When did you post it?
My first photo on my feed is dated October 22nd, 2012 - however I know that I started this account in May 2012 so I've obviously gone back and deleted a big batch of photos at some point.. And before that I had another account under the handle of @julezwills which I started in approx. May 2011. Luckily for me we can't access those early, early photos :)
How would you describe your feed in those early days?
[See grid of photos above]
Not all that personal. Heavily filtered with the hipstamatic app. There is a real yellowish tinge to my grid... and there are LOTS of photos of trees!! I remember liking how my feed looked though, just as I like how it currently looks, so maybe in a couple of years I'll look back at 2017 and question my editing choices too!
How would you describe your feed as it stands now?
Colourful and seasonal, with lots of florals and landscapes and hopefully some personality in there too!
Why did you post that first picture? What was going on in your life at that time?
So I don't recall with the picture I've shared as I said it wasn't actually my first photo. But I do remember when I very first downloaded Instagram as it was a bit of an error really as I was looking for editing apps, and I thought that's all it was. I'd studied photography as part of my degree (having graduated five years earlier) so always loved taking photos - and Instagram gave me a route back into that - as almost immediately after downloading I was hooked and found myself wanting to go out and take photos every single day. I also really loved the instant feedback that I had from followers when I posted, and I became addicted to the community side of the app as much as the photography.
What are the similarities and differences between your account then and what it is today?
I still love a good landscape and when I look back at the places I'd Instagram in the early days, there's a lot of crossover as I still instagram those locations now. I never ever appeared in my feed in the first couple of years using the app - but as my life has evolved, becoming a mum etc I feel like more and more of me is in there, both in the pictures and the captions - and definitely now with Stories too.
I used to post a lot more freely, and I miss that. In the very early days I'd sometimes post up to eight photos a day (I wouldn't dream of doing that now!), and I never planned my grid - I'd post in the moment and didn't consider things like consistency and colour palette etc, which I do very much so now. Also the first three years plus of using the app I instagrammed purely because I loved Instagram, where as in the last 2-3 years, while I still love Instagram - I also make a living from it through brand work. Though it has to be said, that if that brand work stopped tomorrow - I'd still use the app daily for the love of it.
Tell us the story of your feed. When did you consciously start to 'style' your feed? Can you tell by looking at your grid?
Looking back I feel like it was probably in 2014 when I started paying attention to how it looked overall as that's when patterns started emerging in terms of me doing repeats of things such as flatlays, photos of my budgie Frankie perched on mugs and florals etc. I think my feed has always been pretty seasonal though and I hope that you can see the seasons change as you scroll through. And while it's definitely become more structured in terms of planning and brand work etc, I think it's also become more about what I'm up to on a day to day - particularly with the introduction of Stories. Also, Stories has enabled instagrammers to be more refined with what they post on their grid, as now there is somewhere else to share the other stuff that doesn't quite hit the mark - though I do sometimes post the same images to both Stories and my feed.
What drives you?
The friendships and the opportunities the app has brought me definitely drive me, as well as wanting to continue to do this for a living and have this precious time with my son. The creativity of other instagrammers I admire drives me too, they make me want to improve and be more creative myself.
How has Instagram impacted other parts of your life and what opportunities has it brought you?
Instagram has changed my life and brought me more opportunity than I ever imagined or would have dared to dream of. I've made some incredible friends - some of my closest friends through this app. My family and I have been able to travel and experience amazing adventures, to the likes of New York, Australia and Hong Kong. In July this year I left my job and now have much more time with my son because of this app and my blog, through the brand work collaborations that I do.
But it is also, all consuming. I invest a lot of time into the app, too much sometimes I think! I'm definitely addicted to it, and I find it hard to switch off, as the app is a constant. I often have to put my phone in another room if I want to be productive and it can also affect my mood - so if a photo is performing well I will feel great - if one isn't performing as well as I'd hoped then I'll feel stressed out about it. Very silly, as it is out of my hands how a photo is received and that may sound dramatic, but such is the nature of being an Instagram addict!
Thank you so much, Jules!
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