We’ve featured the lovely work of Caroline & Jayden Lee of Woodnote Photography before, and we’re delighted to have Caroline back today to talk Instagram etiquette. We adore her crisp, colorfully enchanting aesthetic and found ourselves anxious to delve into her photo philosophy.
How did you get into Instagram?
As a photographer, I fell in love with the concept of a social media channel that was dedicated to images, but when it first came out, I still had a flip phone. I had FOMO pretty badly for a while, and jumped on the Insta’train the very hour I got my first iPhone.
What do you think people look for in a photo? Do you think it has to tell a story?
Our lives (and Instagram feeds) are so cluttered and noisy these days. I think images really need to ‘pop’ in order to pull the scrolling thumb to a screeching halt long enough for people to read the caption and engage with the post. Most people will only stop to read a written caption if the photo grabs them first. And no, I don’t think every image needs to tell a story if it is beautiful or striking enough.
We’ve noticed you seem to have a preference for pink in your photos. Is that planned? How did it come about?
I don’t know what you’re talking about. Just kidding. Yes! I spent the first 26 years of my life thinking that pink was only for girly-girls (which I am not). Only last year did I realize that pink is for anyone and everyone, so I’m releasing my pent-up love for pink now. It’s kind of the best. Also, I spend a lot of time volunteering (with @elephantlanding) in southeast India, where they use pastels fearlessly. I think all of the time I’ve spent there has definitely influenced my pink affair.
You recently launched @echoandearl. Tell us about it! How will this feed differ from @teamwoodnote in style?
Echo and Earl is a collective with my husband (@jaydesypants) and brother (@robertingraham) with a focus on commercial and editorial photos and video. The aesthetic is similar in the sense that it’s ultra-colorful, but this feed will include less personal stuff and more styled shoots and models. We’ve been having a ton of fun with it so far, and I can’t wait for it to really get goin’!
Do you have an Instagram strategy?
Instagram should be fun and never taken too seriously. I know people who will delete an image if it doesn’t get a certain number of ‘likes’ within a certain amount of time, and that is far too uptight for me. That said, I do think it is important to post two to three photos per day (during hours when people will be awake), use a few favorite hashtags that you actually follow and engage with people! Comment and comment back—that’s what this community is all about!
Do you have any hashtags that you use or follow often?
Yes! I am obsessed with L.A., so I made the hashtag #lovesongforLA. It’s kinda my favorite. I also use #woodnoteworks whenever we are on a shoot. And, when we travel, we make a hashtag with the name of the place plus the word ‘reveals.’ For example, you can check out: #indiareveals, #moroccoreveals, #australiareveals, #spainreveals, #icelandreveals and others! I follow the hashtag #mytinyatlas because I love seeing glimpses of our amazing world, and I follow Instagram’s Weekend Hashtag Projects (#WHP) every weekend.
What makes a good Instagram shot? Do you take a lot of photos to get the “perfect” shot?
First off, good lighting makes or breaks a good shot. There are plenty of photos that I love because they represent a moment or person that I adore, but I wouldn’t post a photo that isn’t beautiful and/or is only sentimental to me and not to all of my followers. Images that are similarly edited throughout your feed are key. Take a look at your profile page and see how your images look together. Do they look like they belong in a gallery together? Are they all the same shape (consistently square or horizontal)? If someone new finds your handle, what will they see first, and will it be cohesive?
What are your favorite apps to use for Instagram? Do you have any filters you use most often?
I’m a sucker for VSCO Cam and its C1 filter. I make my own adjustments within VSCO, too (in things like tone and exposure), but I honestly like to keep things simple. I have a dozen other photo apps on my phone, but I never (ever) use them.
Who are your top 5 favorite people to follow on Instagram?
@dallasclayton, I love his use of color and incredibly thoughtful poems; @teklan, her colors are so good; @jengotch, this girl is hilarious and lives a color-filled life; @jemerling, I love her, and I love her travel photos; and @fuckjerry. Am I allowed to say that? Because that account makes me laugh daily. Also, @jaydesypants—he isn’t obsessed with Instagram like I am, but he is quirky when he posts, and I love him for it!
What are five best practices for creating a great Instagram profile?
– Have a handle that’s easy to remember.
– Your profile photo should really ‘pop’ when people are scrolling through their feeds.
– Write a short bio that hopefully makes people smile or even laugh.
– Create a ‘look’ to your images and stick with it, and shoot your photos in good light.
– Engage with others. Comment on photos and reply to people who comment on yours. And ENJOY the process!