I’m so happy to be interviewing Danielle about her incredible instagram account and how it’s grown exponentially over such a short space of time!
Danielle is so genuine and lovely, and takes such care over everything she creates. Her photos are super creative and I’m always blown away by how she achieves her edits using nothing but iPhone apps.
She’d grown a hobby into a business, that’s allowed her to quit the day job and to take up photography and instagram as a full time job. In this interview we’ll dive into how she’s achieved this and the secrets of her success.
Your account is growing at break neck speed. How quickly has your account grown and what do you think are the secrets to your success?
Yes my account has grown so quickly, I started it a little over a year and a half ago, so to be sitting on 140K followers today feels surreal. In the last 5 months I’ve grown over a 100k new followers, which just blows my mind!
I know the key to my growth has been down to always posting my best content. As good content will always trump any other strategies when it comes to growing. By good content, I mean the best that you can do with your ability and knowing who your audience are.
So even in my early days I was very strategic and consistent with what I posted, I knew that I couldn’t spend an afternoon setting up a photo, creating something beautiful that would surprise and delight my followers and then the next day follow it up with a selfie, or a half hearted attempt of a photo.
So my top tip to grow, is to always post good content, you might not be the best photographer or you’re finding your feet with what your style is, but post the best that can do, with the skills you have, and over time your skills will develop and you’ll find your unique style too.
Secondly, and just as important, you have to keep your gallery grid looking cohesive. This is a must! if you’re doing the above then you’re on the right path, you can then put your time into other strategies that will support this.
I love how creative your posts are and how you surprise me with something new each time. How do you continually come up with fresh ideas?
Thank you so much.
I sometimes question how creative I am, as most of my photographs are of Sienna sleeping. I guess that’s why I have to push myself to be creative, so each post feels unique.
Most of my inspiration comes from my endless brainstorming. I’m very good at thinking of a concept or a theme for a photo and then brainstorming the life of it.
So I might have an idea for a photo I want to create – say an afternoon tea photo. I’ll brainstorm everything associated with an afternoon tea – vintage teapot, cucumber sandwiches, Alice and Wonderland and so on. I’ll then pull props from my home and choose an right outfits, I would then take my time setting the scene.
So every aspect is well thought out. I’m always trying to create the best interpretation of an idea or a theme. If I don’t have the right props, I’d save that idea for another day, as its the little details that make all the difference.
Pinterest is also great for inspiration, I may see a few images I like and then think – how could I re-create that? Sometimes Sienna just has an unexpected nap and I’ll quickly think of an idea for a post, so I always have a prop box handy with handy props.
How do you make the time to plan, take and edit your photographs alongside work and motherhood?
I don’t, is the short answer.
It’s such a juggling act trying to keep on top of everything. There’s always something that suffers and 99% of the time its my housework.
I think for anyone trying to balance working from work, looking after a toddler and keeping the home in order, will be finding it a juggling act. Also as Ryan works away, so its pretty a solo operation too. So throwing in the mix being a creative Instagrammer, makes it even more challenging, as I pretty much mess my whole house up for one photo!
I find I can focus on two things really well, but throw anything else in the mix and I drop all the balls! So I just focus on what I need to do for that week. Sometimes it’s my photos and editing, working on my blog, working on sponsored content, or it’s about fitting in extra quality time with Sienna. I recently left work so I’m trying to figure out what a good working week is for me, I’m going to see if themed days will help, so a day for blog content, a creative day, and admin day and so on.
Since I left work, I now have the freedom to spread creating content over the week, as before I only had the weekends to take photos and the evening to edit. So I feel so lucky to be able to create as and when I want and still spend all of my time with Sienna, which was my biggest goal!
I’ve heard that you do most/all of your editing on phone apps, which amazes me as your edits are so technical. What apps do you use and would recommend to others?
Yes, all my editing is done on my phone.
I take my photo’s on my Canon 200D and then use the Canon Connect app to transfer the photos to my phone. My go to apps are Lightroom, Snapseed, VSCO, PicMix, Magic Eraser And BomehCamFX. I use different tools in each app that give me the look and feel that I want.
My advice if you’re using these apps to play around with them, try the different tools and see what effects you can create. Its amazing how much you will learn, just through experimenting. Through experimenting each day which apps. I learned so much through trial and error.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone looking to rapidly grow their Instagram following?
As I mentioned earlier, the only way to grow organically is to have good content. You might assume that trying every strategy in the book will work for you, but if you haven’t got good content it won’t work. So post your best, always. Work on your gallery as much as your individual posts, its your gallery that will determine if someone wants to follow you.
Then, reach out to your community, engage and tell stories in your captions. Use your caption to your advantage, tell your story through your pictures and captions, let your followers get to know you.
I remember when I had less than a 100 followers, I was scared about what my friends and family would think of my captions, as I started to share more and tell stories, I wrote for my followers not my friends and family, which felt so scary at the time, but I soon got comfortable with it.
So be intentional with everything you do. Look at your grid and see if it needs a little love, try keep the colours flowing and be consistent.
How important is engagement with other accounts to you? Do you try to spend a set amount of time engaging with other people and their photographs each day?
In my early days this was so important and so much easier to do. When you’re just starting out you have to engage with other similar accounts, accounts just like yours. They probably have a similar follower count and are trying to grow too.
I think its so important to help each other and support one another. So If someone commented on my photo I would always return their kindness and comment on theirs. This was something I could manage easily in my earlier days, but as my account grows the harder it
What benefits has having a successful Instagram account brought you?
Instagram has totally changed my life. I guess it’s now my job. It still feels strange to think of Instagram and blogging as my job. Although my blog is something that I really need to give a kick up the bum and start blogging more frequently. So hopefully this extra time will help. I
also have a fab community around me. It’s so lovely to wake up to wonderful comments and DM’s and questions from people all over the world. To hear I’ve inspired people is even better.
What are your aspirations for your account?
This year, I want to really push myself creatively. I am slowly trying to mix up my posts, as I fear eventually everyone will get bored of a napping toddler.
I also want to make more use of stories. I still find them a little daunting, but whenever I do post more day to day things in my stories, I get more dm’s and feel more engaged with everyone, so hopefully I’ll be a little braver and share in my stories more.
Can you name a few of your favourite ‘must-follow’ Instagram accounts?
I have so many favourites, but I’ll stick to my to three. Dominique of @allthatisshe for her boundless creativity. Bronte of @bookishbronte as I love how she brings books to life and @alexandrialens for the dreamy worlds she creates.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Danielle for sharing all her knowledge with us and taking the time to answer all my questions! If you don’t already follow Danielle, then now is the time to put that right. You’ll find lots of creative instagram inspiration both on her blog and of course her instagram account, @sienna.and.i.