Instagram and Success


Instagram and Success

Success with and on Instagram? Is it possible? And how do you do it? And why some people seem to be perpetually on vacation…

In this article I will give you some tips on what else Instagram has to offer, apart from just an interest in photography as such.
All pictures, including the ones you can see here, were taken during a campaign or project.

But let’s start with some simple tips:

Tip 1. Pick a topic you and many other people are interested in (e.g. fashion, food, cars, landscape, portraits) so that you can reach a broad audience base and new fans or followers can find you (I’ve chosen the topic “travel”).


If you look online, you will find many tips and hints on building up an account successfully. My advice: If you want to be successful, you have to orient yourself towards success – and success usually pays off – also in money. This might be a bit harsh, but unfortunately it’s true.


Tip 2: Follow accounts which inspire you in your own direction and which you can use to motivate yourself. Funny selfies are nice, but what can you learn from them? Naturally you will be following friends or acquaintances which are headed in different directions, but that’s part of it.


Tip 3: Quality pays off. Nothing is worse than a noisy and blurry picture – even the topic becomes unimportant then. Therefore try not to edit too much – more is less in this instance. By now I also take photos with a DSLR camera to achieve the desired quality in certain situation.


Tip 4: Activity on Instagram is very important. You have to draw attention to yourself, and diligently and regularly comment on and like other people’s pictures, but you also need to reply to your own feedback.

I could write more tips, but this is enough to start with, and everything else you will have to find out yourself or write to me directly.


Instagram is obviously a platform for those interested in photography. You will hear quite often that it is not that important to worry about followers, rather you should stick to the basic underlying idea (community + photography). But who says you cannot have both? Maybe it is not easy to achieve, however, it can be done.

There are a few big and good Instagramers who earn some (or a bit more) money with their passion and who travel a lot. But how do they do it?

For me it started about 3 years ago when a hotel group in Mauritius approached me. From there things developed quickly and I have had the pleasure to travel all around the world and test products. But everything has its price and requires organizational talent, determination, and a will.

Traveling with Instagram:
“Wow, you are on vacation again” – I still hear this a lot. However, traveling with Instagram or a campaign is not just pure pleasure, it is actually work.


What, taking a few photos and uploading them? Exactly! Instagram travel is often full of planned activities from early in the morning to late at night. Sleeping in and relaxing are definitely not part of the program. Are the batteries charged and have you made sure you have spares? Would be embarrassing if you had to stop taking photos after a few hours.
You have to keep the rhythm going among the huge amount of photos you’ve taken and sort, edit, and post pictures. But, please, not always the same thing. Your followers want to be entertained, too.
At night in my room after completing all the activities (normally around 10 or 11 pm), I usually do the following: charge batteries, upload photos to Dropbox, empty the SD cards, prepare photos ahead for the next day and again show some online activity. (This takes around 2 hours.) And everywhere there are fantastic sunrises which means you have to get up early (around 5 – 6 am).

Oh, and please don’t forget latergrams (photos to be posted at a later time) and to bring back 20 photos in high resolution!


Testing products – now that must be cool! I would like to be given such a camera, too!
As soon as you receive a product, the client then expects you to be actively working with it and to demonstrate results, for which you are given a deadline. For this you need a bit (more) technical expertise in order to test the quality of products (aperture, lens, exposure time), otherwise you will get one product once and then you’ll wait a long time to ever get another one (every industry sector networks extensively and obtains recommendations).

Of course there is the “iPhone-only” Instagramer, however, it becomes more difficult to do camera tests if you limit yourself technically to a mobile phone and thereby also limit your own technical knowledge of photography (just consider what a photographer used to have to know – they even developed their own pictures).


My conclusion regarding “success” (which each person defines for themselves in any case):
– be creative (very important for product tests and interesting for your fans)
– orientate yourself towards successful people and get your support there
– don’t let anybody tell you that followers are unimportant (a popular Instagramer is hardly going to tell you this, why all the big effort if nobody sees it?) Every medium is measured by the number of its viewers.
– continue to learn (yes, creativity does also require some technical knowledge)
– and as the saying goes: time is money; be active and work to be successful – there is no benefit in whining and being envious.

AND: To the next person who says that the popular Instagramers are always invited all the time and get everything without paying, I can say:
It is in your own hands!

Sylvia Matzkowiak


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