Can you imagine getting paid thousands just for an Instagram photo?
This couple does just that. Jack Morris and Lauren Bullen have between them almost 4 million followers on Instagram. They’re lifestyle ambassadors that have successfully created a lifestyle enabling them to travel and get paid to do so. I first read about this couple in Huffington Post and I’ve been following them for a couple of months and I’d like to point out some of the reasons why they’ve got such a following, and why their photographs are worth ten thousand dollars each, or more.
First of all, Instagram is full of attractive people in bathing suits, or sheer dresses, or short shorts, or nothing at all. Young and old, man and woman, dogs and cats. It’s all there.
So what makes these two different?
For starters let’s look at some pretenders. And here’s our first contestant. Notice how this young lady makes herself the center of her photos? And she’s facing the camera and she’s smiling and showing off her hair. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she’s selling shampoo or working for a salon and if that’s the case, she’s doing a great job. Yet that graphic in the center would say otherwise. Her photos have all been taken in the middle of the day so we get a lot of bright sunlight. Ho hum. She’s posing in front of these well known monuments and edifices and she looks totally bored with the whole thing. “#sobored Might as well play with my hair.”
Here’s another one. And this young lady has gone so far as to crib the word “lust” into her Instagram handle. I’m guessing she really wants to emulate our two stars, Jack and Lauren. So notice that again, she’s center of the photo. And she’s got her back to the table even though it’s set with dinner. And to top it all off, she’s in focus while the background isn’t. What’s up with that? I look at this and my reaction is she believes she’s more important than the food or scenery. Which one of us, when presented with a beautiful meal, would get up then stand at the balcony ?
This is not an invitation to join her, it’s an invitation to look at her. If she’s selling yellow dresses or repping a professional salon, she’s doing a great job.
And how about this one? Alright we get it. You’re pretty and wear lacey bedroom clothing in the middle of the day. Again, she’s centered herself in the frame and everything important is out of focus. After reading the caption, I’d guess the folks at Life Water have paid her a few bucks to pose with their bottle. Yet she’s clearly trying to appeal to the Instagram travel industry and the background is out of focus? Sheesh!
If she’s selling water, well, good for her.
Now on to these two…Same crimes, same agenda. If you’re looking for a great beach to travel to, who better to advertise your beach than two grumpy twenty somethings? Jeez I’d sooner have Herman Munster in a thong on my beach than this sulking duo.
Different poster, same crimes…She’s centered herself, and these are all taken in the middle of the day so the lighting isn’t very intriguing. If she’s selling dresses, she’s doing a great job.
Photos such as these say to me “I’ve made this place better just by being here.”
Even though this is but a few folks, it represents a huge majority of what I see on Instagram. People taking photos of themselves trying to look as if their mere presence has bettered a well-known landmark, or beach, or town.
So now let’s get back to Jack and Lauren and some of their photos. Here they are at the Giraffe Manor in Kenya. Don’t know about you but the first thing I notice is the giraffe on the right. Why? Because he’s focused on you. The giraffe is looking right at you and he’s almost inviting you into the frame. He’s asking you to pet him. The next thing is the other one that’s helping himself to Jack’s plate of eggs. What sort of place is this where a giraffe can just stick his neck through a window and gobble up your breakfast? I’m not looking at Jack or Lauren, I’m focused on the experience, the fact that they’ve got giraffes eating off their plate! What I’m seeing is something crazy and wonderful and exotic and even though I’m a proponent of proper table manners, I’d like to join them for breakfast.
Here they are on a beach in the Maldives. And what do you notice first? That beach looks magnificent! Take a look at the way the tree line practically spills onto the beach and the sand is as white as sugar and look at those huts in the background! Heck that’s the hotel and it sits on top of all of that gloriously blue water. And the beach is practically untouched by human hands. I don’t see beach chairs, or cans of beer, or plastic beach toys, or umbrellas. I see a pristine, serene beach that beckons to the traveler in me.
Same here. This photo says “exotic”, “magical”, “peaceful”, and it really invites you into the frame. If you’ve ever wanted to go to Bali, Indonesia but weren’t sure why, this photo tells you why.
Here’s Lauren in a desert in the United Arab Emirates and again notice she’s not the center of attention in this photo. The scenery, the desert is the center of attention, she just happens to be in it. It’s a beautifully staged photo that really showcases the natural curves of the desert and not Lauren’s. And my guess is it’s evening and notice the way the light spills across the dunes and the shadows give texture to the photo?
Today’s lesson ends with this photo. Anyone care to tell me what’s so great about this one? The obvious answer is these two look great in swimsuits but go beyond that and notice they’re in motion and about to jump off that raft and right into that impossibly blue water?
Can’t you almost hear the roar of that waterfall? Do you feel the water slipping across your feet as you head to the edge of that raft? Did you take a breath before jumping off and splashing down into that lagoon? Can you taste the salt from that crisp Pacific water? This photo really invites the viewer in, then encourages them to click on that link because don’t you want to know where you can have an experience like this. And that’s why these two get paid to post photographs on Instagram.
If you’re a huge fan of Instagram and enjoy planning your adventures based on what travel professionals post, then definitely give these two a follow. Even better, if you desire to sell a product or service on Instagram then why not take a hint from these two. The lessons they share with their followers would certainly make Instagram a better place for all of us.
And if you or your team ever need professional help with Instagram, just give Jack a call. He can craft an Instagram strategy designed to take full advantage of this justly popular platform.
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