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Instagram used to be the simplified version of Facebook. Instead of seeing everyone’s EVERYTHING in a Facebook feed (FarmVille, rants, a million shared articles) people started to love the simplicity of Instagram. I used it for years as a place to randomly post personal photos and some portfolio work…. and then everything slowly started to change. There was a shift that happened in the creative world a few years ago and it dramatically changed how creatives used Instagram!

The real shift (in my opinion) was the introduction of Snapchat. Snapchat has been around for a LONG TIME but it wasn’t until a few years ago that the creative world really started to use it regularly. Snapchat took the place of Instagram’s carefree place to post personal photos and videos. Snapchat is now the more personal, real life, not-so-perfect social media outlet and Instagram has become more of a perfected, curated and branded social media platform. Is this true for EVERYONE’s social media accounts? Has EVERY single photographer switched to this new pattern? No… but I would say that 80-90% have…. at least in my world! Follow along on Snapchat: katelynalsop

So, I have a confession to make…… I’M NOT A GOOD INSTAGRAM CURATOR!!!! I get frustrated with making my TOP NINE PERFECTLY PAIRED!!! Is it because I can’t figure out how to balance tight, wide, clean and busy shots? No. When I actually TRY to curate my feed, it’s beautiful! I can totally SEE the design aspect of a curated feed. However, what is frustrating to me is the time and effort it takes to think through my feed, plug in images into the VSCO app just to see what they would look like and then hold off posting something I NEED to post simply because I need to post a more SIMPLE shot first to clean up my feed!

Don’t get me wrong…. I ADMIRE beautiful feeds! I do! My best friend Jilly has a GORGEOUS feed. It’s literally perfect! …. And she ENJOYS making it perfect. That’s the difference between the two of us. Some photographers and creatives LOVE having a perfectly curated feed and they enjoy the process of piecing their feed together like a puzzle….. and them some of us don’t always want to have to think things out so much!! So that is what brings me to my post today. How important is it to have a PERFECT FEED? Will I really gain hundreds of followers if I have a more perfect feed? Or is that only true for certain people? Do people follow me on Instagram because my negative space usage in my top nine is on point? Or do they follow me because of my personality? I honestly don’t have a clear answer to this but I do have a few thoughts……

– I’ve grown at a pretty steady pace on Instagram WITHOUT having a perfectly curated and well thought out feed…. so in my experience, an imperfect feed hasn’t hindered growth! We’re at 51.5K and we gain several hundred followers a week and that has been consistent for the past several years. You can follow along too, @katelynjames or by clicking here!
– I’m VERY personal in my captions and tend to talk to the Instagram world as if I were talking to a girlfriend sitting in my living room. So, maybe my personal approach in my text allows me to connect and grow on Instagram where some other photographers attract followers through having beautiful collections of images in their feed! Neither is right or wrong, good or bad… it’s just two different ways to use Instagram!
– Curation and perfecting my feed isn’t a priority for me all of the time and I often get annoyed with it…. so there are times when I just don’t care!! …. And that’s OK! I haven’t lost followers when I posted three “busy” shots in a row and my brand wasn’t scarred for life. I have learned to give myself some grace instead of being frustrated that my feed isn’t flowing as perfectly as others!
– There is a BIG difference between not worrying about a perfectly curated feed all of the time and not caring or curating at ALL!!! If you are a professional photographer and you start posting blurry, grainy, DARK photos that were taken with your iPhone and yet your style is crisp and bright… that’s not good. That would be more of an issue from a professionalism standpoint. You want your Instagram account to promote your brand WELL and in a professional way while still maintaining personal aspects to it.
– The perfectly curated feed vs. the non-curated feed is a very individualized decision. If it stresses you out… stop worrying about it! If you enjoy it, keep doing it because I guarantee that your followers love you for it! The point is…. you do YOU as long as you’re keeping your account professional and personal.

I want to make sure I don’t confuse anyone and so here is an example. This was my feed during a season when I wasn’t trying to curate a perfect top nine. Notice how busy it is? There isn’t a good use of negative space and so it’s hard on the eyes. HOWEVER, the images that I was posting were not UNPROFESSIONAL, they just weren’t perfectly curated from the perspective of the FEED!

THESE are examples of when my feed was curated a bit more!  I paid attention to color tones, how tight or wide the images were and how simple or busy they were before I posted them so that the feed would look perfectly curated!!

So what’s the answer? Do photographers have to have perfectly curated feeds? My thought is this… photographers need to have professional feeds with personal touches. If their top nine aren’t always perfectly curated, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. However, if you really don’t want to worry about curating very much at all, you need to make sure that your strength is in your CAPTIONS. I hope this helps all of you out there who may get a little stressed over this! Just take a deep breath and do what you enjoy!! You’ll build a better brand if you start focusing on your strengths and stop trying to do exactly what others are doing!

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xoxo, Katelyn
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