Friday, 16 June 2017

JOY Festival

A few very quick edits from a fabulous evening at JOY Festival before I head to bed!

I can't wait to go back tomorrow to explore some more!

Edit: Some amazing food on Saturday and I found a Fairy Garden!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Instagram Hubs

Since my mentoring session with Clare Barker Wells and starting my own BexPhoto Instagram page, I have been discovering more and more amazing photographers on there.  There are a few hubs I follow on Instagram which share work from so many inspiring photographers.  I often find new people to follow and admire so much work on these pages run by photographers.  If you don't know about these hubs, they're basically accounts which are based on hashtag sharing so photographers can use their specific hashtags to be considered for a feature.  I use roughly the same ones on all my Instagram posts in the hope of being featured by any of them.  (There is a limit on the number of tags you can use on each post so I should really mix it up a bit more and try some different hashtags.)

Some of them have specific topics which are pretty self-explanatory such as Moments in the Sun or Childhood Unplugged which is based on getting the kids out playing rather than indoors with screens and The Monochromatic Lens for, well, monochrome photos.  I also like Honestly Parents for beautiful images of honest, real family life.

And others are more general like Subject Light for photos with beautiful lighting, Camera Mama which is obviously family photography and there is of course Clare's own hub, The Lifestyle Collective, which she runs with Amy, for those who love lifestyle photography.

Some of them, like Clickin Moms, also have websites to help you learn more, Clickin Moms is obviously family based photography with a large hub (they have 101k followers and over 2 million images tagged!) and they have lots of courses and competitions, various forums, blog and a shop as well as a magazine.

So there are plenty of places to search for inspiration and just to gaze at beautiful images.  The advantages of adding these tags to your own photos are threefold.  One being the chance to get featured but also to gain more exposure as people will often look through the tagged images by searching the hashtag themselves.  Only a small number are chosen as hundreds or thousands are submitted so you can still find some gorgeous photos just by looking through these.  I've found a few new people to follow this way.  Of course, you get a lot more exposure if you are chosen to be featured and it can be a big confidence boost to see your image suddenly getting over 1000 likes being seen by thousands, compared to your usual 50+ with just 250 followers (which I am still chuffed with by the way!)  The third benefit is the community spirit involved, you can connect with so many lovely photographers, commenting on each others' photos, offering support and/or advice and making friends!

For me the recognition and exposure is exciting, it helps with my confidence as well as inspiring me to keep trying harder with my photography.  If you are running a photography business though, it's more important to make sure your images are being seen by as many as possible so there are major advantages to sharing to these hubs.  I'm still a bit shy about commenting at the moment but since joining the Dear Photographer Facebook group I'm finding these talented ladies are all absolutely lovely so I'm hoping to get to know them better.

I'm utterly thrilled to have had 10 features via these various hashtags since I started my account in November last year.  It can be surprising which ones make the grade but it's such a subjective thing and there are various mods choosing which photos to feature from the tags.  I'm so grateful to have been chosen, I was thrilled with all of them!

So far, I've been featured twice on Children of Instagram with this image of Kalyan's teenie baby feet (the first I ever took of him from my hospital bed) and again with this one of Priya hanging on to Dadaji's cheeks.  The same one was also featured on Our Candid Life who also featured me a second time with this one of Kalyan under the covers.  I've also had two featured on Honestly Parents although one was actually from my blog account of the twins' friends licking windows at Oast Farm Cafe which was also featured again as a mod favourite, the other was this one of Priya and Kalyan playing in the puddles outside our house which was chosen for their top 9 of 2016!

I had one chosen by The Document Your Days Project of Kalyan & Priya giggling when playing with the E45 lotion, another was featured on the slightly different Faceless Pics of Insta with this one of Kalyan shaking his towel, post-bath and I had two featured by Rustlord Kids, Priya dropping this leaf and another from my blog account of Kalyan with his dinosaur tail.

One of my proudest was being featured twice on one of the larger hubs, Candid Childhood, with these two images of Priya, the dribbling ice cream and her inquisitive face.  They have 113k followers and almost 3 million tags so it was a thrill to be chosen.

Some of the hubs have weekly themes to inspire you to try something new and I've recently discovered some like The Honest Lens which also share more information about how certain photographs were achieved to help others learn.

I love finding so many places on Instagram to explore and find ideas, gain new knowledge and learn more about my passion.  I would also LOVE to be a mod or guest mod for one of these hubs one day, getting to look through the tags and choose my own favourites to share from so much talent would be so much fun!

Where do you look for inspiration on Instagram?  Are there any other hubs you think I should check out or people to follow?  I'd love to know!  I'll be sharing another blog post with a few favourite photographers I follow soon too.

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