#INSTAMUM

Photography, or perhaps I should say photos, have always been something I’ve been passionate about. So whilst being obsessed with my phone is a relatively new habit, being obsessed with taking pictures definitely isn’t.

Way before things got digital, I was always snapping away, using up reams and reams of film (remember that?) and spending my Saturday afternoons at the photo shop collecting the latest set of images of someone’s eighteenth party, a weekend away or pictures of the sixth form common room end of year shenanigans.

I remember the first photo I ever posted to instagram, when Tigs was about 7 days old, on my actual personal account. At the time I had zero followers, and to this day that picture has zero likes. Five years on, I haven’t ever gone crazy on my own account, for fear of being labelled a total Mum bore by most of my friends. There is the odd family snap, nothing arty, and less that 100 photos in the five years since I took off.

And then, there was the blog. A whole new channel to breathe freely and let my passion for imagery and my kids happily come together without the fear of judgement. No need to worry about being labelled an oversharer by those who don’t welcome their news feed being polluted by pretty yet dull images of my everyday life as a stay at home Mum. Now I have a new audience of kindred spirits who subscribe in (and out, definitely quite a bit of that too) to a (hopefully) pretty, realistic and charming set of snaps into our life. Just less than two years on, I’m fast approaching 1.5K images, and my followers are always on the up.

For the record, what remains a constant in my blog is the lack of identity. No faces, no vlogging and no names. That can make creating an engaging instagram feed quite a challenge, but also a unique selling point. Not everyone will get it, but that’s fine with me. I’m not looking for everyone, I’m just looking a lovely picture.

The thing is with Instagram, is that it can completely get under  your skin. There are plenty of elements of being an InstaMum which are downright crazy, and I reckon a few of you will know these bizarre stereotypical behaviours of an InstaMum only too well…

QUICK DRAW MCGRAW

Your camera phone will always be within arms reach for an impromptu photo moment. A front or side pocket of a bag (never at the bottom), in your inside jacket pocket (close to your heart) or my favourite, in your back pocket of your skinny jeans. You favour articles of clothing with pockets for the purpose of camera phone storage and have a bit of a tick of tapping your pocket to check your phone is there.

In the perfect moment your phone can be switched from hibernation mode to capture in a fraction of a second, and you can even take a stealth photo of your feet totally unnoticed in a packed out room.

SORRY, WHAT WERE YOU SAYING?

Picture the scene – you’ve met a friend for lunch and she’s recalling to you in intricate detail the latest saga with her boyfriend / her hopes for that promotion / her birth story. On the surface you’re making all the right noises, but inside you have noticed an incredible tiled floor that you just have to get a shot of (#IHaveThisThingWithFloors). Or, you have just spotted an unmissable frame behind her on the veranda and you’re wondering how you can make a detour to the loo via that view without looking like a bit of a nob. I was listening, honest. #FairCop #GuiltyAsCharged

BRING ON THE WALL

Every Instamum knows exactly the best spot in her home for a plain background shot. As it goes, they also know where the best light is for a flat lay too.

PUKKA PAL | You know you’ve got a keeper when one of your mates drops by with an impromptu gift, just to make you smile. Which, by the way this totally did! SAHM mum by day, crazy laptop zombie by night isn’t always the easiest option but I’m incredibly grateful for having found some #workthatworks for me and mine and allows me to get a few extra @aldiuk special buys and #hidethebags moments minus the guilt. Whilst of course being able to experience the first hand joy of the school run and tea time meltdown. Sending love to team pukka, @mother_pukka @grandmother_pukka (amazing job holding the fort!) @papa_pukka Mae and of course to my gorgeous pukka pal, @digitalmums in the making, @wot_nwkent xxx PS this is a G&T cooler cup right? 🍸😉 . . . . . . . . . #coolmumclub #flexappeal #digitalmums #ukparentbloggers #kentbloggers #pukka #letstalkaboutflex #thismamaloves #uniteinmotherhood #pinklinker #rockingmummylife #friday #cheers #solidaritea #iamslummymummy #parenting #workingparents #momblog #mumsthathustle #mumsthatslay #mumboss #momblog

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Less of an issue for a shy blogger like me, but then there is the whole pose in front of the wall thing. Even I can appreciate a good instagram worthy wall…I just like to ask my kids to turn around and face it! (They’ll grow up with such a complex).

DAMN YOU STEERING WHEEL

One of the most ridiculous thoughts that goes through my mind as an instagram obsessed Mum, is the actual frustration I feel when I see a beautiful scene and I am driving. So many times I have considered pulling over to capture a sunset, or a beautiful scene of rolling hills, or even a wisteria clad cottage. To date I haven’t actually followed through with this, but it’s only a matter of time.

For the record, when I’m in the passenger seat, I often reach the destination with a couple of dozen total rubbish blurred shots which need to go straight in the trash – will I ever learn?

SEASONAL SPECTACLES

Us InstaMums get proper excited about a seasonal spectacle of nature… Yellow rapeseed fields, rows of lilac lavender  or woodlands carpeted in bluebells. A deep freeze gets us pretty snap happy too, and before we know it our ‘unique’ capture joins the reams and reams of fellow InstaMums’, becoming just one in a whole host of seasonal spam.

These events in nature are pretty frustrating to an InstaMum – it’s so so difficult to translate the immense magic of something first hand onto a still photo, and in my opinion, separates the cameraphone Mums with the proper photographers (of which I do not count myself).

I GOT THE POWER

An InstaMum knows exactly how long 68% of battery translates to in units of time, and most probably won’t leave the house without a spare battery pack. When indoors, a cheeky top up is never turned down – and I’m not talking about the sav blanc here (well, maybe not…).

For an InstaMum, being somewhere beautiful without camera access is like torture. Forcing yourself to switch off from capturing that shot is both painful and liberating; both a shame and a fortunate accident when it happens from time to time. I’ve definitely learnt to laugh, embrace the moment and treat it as a sign from a greater force  when it happens! (After the initial heart palpitations, obvs).

ANYTHING GOES

When you’re an InstaMum there is a photo opportunity in absolutely everything. Baking? Snap. Craft? Say cheese. Dropped something all over the floor? They’ll love this…

It can get a bit all consuming, so keep your feet firmly on the ground. And be sure to realise that some things in life are worth keeping all to yourself.

MORE STORAGE THAN IKEA

At phone upgrade time (an InstaMum’s Christmas) she shudders at the thought of a smartphone with inadequate storage. I personally made the leap to 64GB a few years back and never went back. There is of course the cloud, dropbox, and other forms of storage, but to this InstaMum, I want all my images right there in my jeans back pocket. Well, and on Instagram of course.

CLUTTER

Back in the day when I used to get my 24 & 36 sets of film developed, the rubbish shots would clutter up my cupboard until the day I had a good old clear out. Now, the rubbish shots (of which there could be 10, 12, 20 plus a few accidental bursts) are all hanging around in my photos folder until the day I’m sat waiting for an appointment or too early for school and decide to do a bit of a clean up.

AT ONE WITH NATURE | This little flower fairy is at her happiest collecting flowers (from the floor, not picked – that’s illegal as she always tells me), stones, sticks, pine cones, leaves and feathers. We literally stumbled into the most incredible field today, just at the moment we said we’d head home for tea. Needless to say she immediately dived into the long grass and breathed it all in. That’s my girl. 🌿💚🌿💚🌿💚🌿💚🌿 . . . . . . . #coolmumclub #totsphoto #perfectandproud #rockingmummylife #clickinmoms #littlefierceones #childhoodunplugged #thismamaloves #366daysofpositive #myhappycapture #thismamaloves #dearphotographer #thatsdarling #takemyheartdear #oureverydaymoments #cameramama #littlefierceones #ig_motherhood #pixelkids #cherisheverymoment #thehappynow #rememberingthesedays #littleandbrave #childofig #pinklinker #happylittlebuttons #tribalchat #capturingtheday #lionessmama #livingfearlesslyauthentic

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One thing that makes me a little sad is that often when people ask to see a photo of my kids, I have to scroll through dozens, possibly hundreds of shots not showing their face until I find a beautiful smile staring at the camera. Something I’ve noted and have started to correct for our own personal collection.

#KNOWYOURHASHTAGS

One of the tricks to growing an instagram audience is to add on your full max 30 hashtags pinging them out to a wider community within your niche. There are other things going on, pulling the strings of what  you see via the algorithms of Insta. But, regardless, engaging and joining in with communities can only be a good thing when it comes to growth.

In my opinion, it’s just as important to get involved with the small communities where you can build new connections at the same time as the big guns – where you might be a drop in the ocean.

Of course InstaMum has a pre-prepped hashtag list on her notes of her phone for easy access. For the record, here are some of my faves…

#coolmumclub, #thismamaloves, #pinklinker, #happylittlebuttons, #funseekingkids, #perfectandproud, #saturdaysiblings, #livingfearlesslyauthentic, #mummyshot, #rockingmummylife, #littlefierceones, #ukparentbloggers, #lionessmama, #tribalchat, #snaphappybritmums

Please feel free to tell me the ones I am totally late to the party with!

BEHIND THE CAMERA

Whilst some InstaMums seem to have a professional photographer in tow to capture them and their perfect wall moment, many of us (me included) live mostly behind the camera. Note to Dads, we love the off candid shot of us with the kids too from time to time, so shots with us in are extremely precious. That’s a hint.

STAYCATION | A rare moment in front of the camera (thanks Mr G). Been a super busy ten days with these girls and I’d be lying if I said it’d all been picture perfect (red nail varnish on cream carpet this morning, for example). BUT all in all it’s been pretty lovely, exploring new corners of #Kent and beyond. Looking forward to the 4 day weekend of family events ahead, and maybe, just a little bit, the return of normal routine! 😬 . . . . . . . #perfectandproud #rockingmummylife #clickinmoms #littlefierceones #childhoodunplugged #thismamaloves #366daysofpositive #myhappycapture #thismamaloves #dearphotographer #thatsdarling #takemyheartdear #oureverydaymoments #cameramama #littlefierceones #ig_motherhood #pixelkids #cherisheverymoment #thehappynow #rememberingthesedays #littleandbrave #childofig #pinklinker #happylittlebuttons #tribalchat #capturingtheday #lionessmama #livingfearlesslyauthentic

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A CLARENDON OR A HEFE KIND OF GIRL?

If you’re an InstaMum, you’ll be talking my language. Chances are you have more than one means of processing your shots than the simplistic features of Insta alone. Whilst we can all appreciate a #NoFilter moment, let’s face it, they are few and far between.

TELL US A STORY

So now, all the less than instagram worthy shots and video clips can be added to….Instagram. Well, instagram stories that is. A place where you can become weirdly engrossed in someone else’s mundane day and what they are having for lunch. So. Addictive. But us InstaMums, we love a good Instastory. It’s like a Mum version of Snapchat, apparently. #NoClue.

CAMERA MAMA

So is InstaMum an actual photographer? Can anyone be a photographer armed with a smart phone camera and a few insta filters? A lens blur and a black and white effect doesn’t make you David Bailey, that’s for sure.

There’s no doubt that the quality of photo is far improved using a camera – you know with a lens that protrudes out of a box, and that you can’t make a phone call on. BUT, that comes with it’s downsides too. As an owner of a DSLR, I can’t be carrying that around on the school run, on my play date, or have it bumping around under the buggy. I can’t add editing and uploading shots to my never ending list of stuff to do, and I’m not sure for all the extra effort at this time it’s going to take me to my end goal – because I have no idea what that end goal is, other than to capture and share the magical moments of our growing family.

x MMT

Rhyming with Wine
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