I love Summer. It’s without any doubt at all my favourite time of the year and for months I’ve looked forward to a slower August. Maybe it’s because I have a Summer birthday (does that follow?) I don’t know.. life just always seem simpler to me in Summer. I love leaving the house without having to think about coats, and hats and scarfs for the kids. I love only needing to wear one layer most days. Summer clothes, Summer food, Summer flowers, the countryside and the colours… the long evenings and many more hours spent outside. All the fresh air and all the light, these are the things that make me happy.
The Summer holidays were always a magical time for me as a child, and I’ve really looked forward to them each year since my eldest son has started school. It’s lovely having him around more, and the boys quickly become completely joined at the hip with each other again. However, it doesn’t come without it’s challenges. I’m sure anyone who is self-employed knows the work never really stops coming in. Maternity leave never really happened, emails need to be dealt with even whilst away on holiday, and the fact that the kids are around more isn’t any excuse for production to cease.
I did my best to “take August off” and I turned down a lot of work, but I still had picture framing to be done and a few lovely opportunities cropped up with photography that I didn’t want to pass up on! So despite getting to spend some really quality time with the children, it has of course in fact been the usual juggling act. I recently did my first webinar with The Photographer Academy and some of the questions that kept popping up were to do with how I manage Instagram, do I post myself or have someone to do it for me (!), how long do I spend there each day, how do I keep up with interacting with other accounts and replying to comments etc?
The Summer holidays and having reduced childcare has made me think on this even more, so I thought I would give you a few insights here as to my Instagram “workflow”, and how I have found a way to manage something which can easily become a black hole of time! I do of course do everything there myself, I would never give anyone else access to it even if that were possible. I tend to spend half an hour to an hour there each morning before everyone else in the house is up – I post my picture for the day, catch up with my feed and reply to comments. I don’t manage to reply to every comment like I used to, but I’m sure people understand why that’s the case. If I don’t get a chance in the morning (and I actually just want to keep my eyes closed until they are forced open by hungry little faces!) then I’ll take a day off, or post when I get a chance later on in the day. If engagement is a bit lower because of it then that’s ok.
One of my biggest saviours with my Instagram workflow is “batch” photography. I have actually not had much time to take photos over the Summer, but there have been several very photogenic occasions when I have stocked up my camera roll and they have served me well over the month! A day out in London with two very old Instagram friends @katherinedorrington and @humpreheyandgrace was one. All the photos above were taken whilst strolling together that day, and there may well be more lurking about on my camera roll yet to be edited! I have dribbled these out into my feed over the last few weeks and they provide the perfect, colourful interludes to my other shots.
A lovely weekend on a south coast was another such occasion, where I had lots of opportunities to photograph the kids, and some beautiful locations as well. I may well be posting images from this trip for weeks to come yet.
I also stock pile images in this way with still lives. I simply don’t have time to arrange and photograph stills every day, so if I have some beautiful flowers, some time, and some inspiration, I will try and photograph them in several different ways in order to give myself hopefully three or four shots that I will be happy to post on Instagram over the coming weeks. The images below were all taken on the same day, and you may also notice in my feed a certain pale pink hydrangea has actually popped up now four times. I still have two more images I took on that productive day which I may post yet!
Having a few images in the bank so to speak, gives me the opportunity to plan my feed in advance. Several apps have been developed recently to help do this, and I’ve used quite a few of them. My current favourite is UNUM, you can drag images around to see how they look nice, and even temporarily hide ones that may be deleted. I don’t actually post from the app, I prefer to be on Instagram when I post, to add hashtags, like other pictures and reply to some comments while I’m there.
So despite August being such a wonderfully photogenic month in the English countryside, I have actually picked up my camera precious few times. A slower month no doubt, blissfully lacking in routine, but a month with a different set of challenges. Thanks to my camera roll, a few moments of inspiration and faffing and a couple of nice jaunts, I’ve managed to keep posting for another month! Obviously maintaining (and hopefully growing!) an Instagram account can be a time consuming business, but it can also be done in a way that doesn’t consume too much of life and too much headspace. I love being around on Instagram and getting my daily hit of inspiration, but I also try to climb back out of the rabbit role before getting too lost in it!
As Summer draws to a close, Autumn of course brings new opportunities, and new challenges. My eldest is going in to year 2 at school and my youngest is starting his year at preschool. They are both so looking forward to getting going, which makes me excited for them. As much as I love Summer, I am looking forward to some foggy mornings, some photoshoots in the Autumn leaves, and all the magic the new season brings.
I have hopefully a trip abroad coming up next month, and some exciting collaborations too – including a very special giveaway which I can’t wait to tell you more about! I’m also very thrilled to be involved with a weekend workshop in Notting Hill from the 16th-18th September. Alongside some very talented photographers, stylists and Instagrammers we will be holding a weekend packed full of workshops and tuition, as well as plenty of great food and an enviable goody bag for each participant. There are still a couple of spaces remaining, so if this tickles your fancy all the details are here.
So I wish you all a very happy final fling with Summer, and I look forward to sharing the next chapter with you both here and on Instagram!