With the risk of my Instagram stalker tendencies being exposed, there is one account that is always on my mind when I take an outdoor shot. Its funny, because I can literally remember thinking of her on all of the occasions I have taken these images.
What an incredible thing that my maternity leave hobby would have such an impact on my day to day life. And that I would find inspiration from other mummas, doing the same thing. What has been an added bonus is the friendships forged through similarities and stories that we discover about each other on the way.
jen.and.cub has a special place in my Instagram heart, her adventures, her travels, her penchant for a field. I love it all. And my love for her grew when we shared our stories of our tiny 5lb babies (you can read more about her story here). I was lucky that Otis grew well after birth, but it is still a shock to hold something so tiny in your arms when all the medical professionals were telling us we were having a 8lb baby. So its a special thing to see our tiny babies all healthy and plump!
Jen was a the top of my list when it came to Instagram Interview Series, with her stunning feed, her gorgeous little family and her truly brilliant hashtag #thebabyonhipseries , I hope you love her as much as I do. (insert hearts made from hands, just for you Jen)
1. How would you describe your Instagram account? (Professional? Hobby? Just for fun? Creative outlet? Something else?)
Throughout my life I have been extremely passionate about one thing or another and it always manifests itself in some form of creativity. I find taking photographs is just that, another creative outlet. I’ve always loved taking photos, I just never realised exactly what of. It’s only since having Caleb that I’ve developed a real passion for it (you only need to ask my instahusband about that one) but I’ve studied people’s techniques and edits and I’ve tried to better my style of lifestyle photography as a result. So for me, my Instagram, along with my blog is both a hobby/creative outlet and my little digital photo album. I remember every photo I post and every story behind it.
2. When did you start and what motivated you to get into Instagram?
I have had Instagram for years and I mean YEARS. I’ve always loved to post but struggled to find my niche (not that you have to have one) but I used to compare myself to other accounts and question everything I posted, always thinking my posts were pointless – yes you could argue they were just for me but that’s part of my problem. I’m a total perfectionist, and lover of anything aesthetically pleasing, so if a photo looked out of place in my feed it would bug me. Since having Caleb, it has opened me up to this whole new world of like minded mummies – single handedly taking over IG one baby spam pic at a time, only the photos are bloody good. So from that, jen.and.cub was born. I didn’t start a fresh or delete my old photos as they are all memories and tell their own story too. Believe it or not, but I lived a life before Caleb too! It would be fair to say that since I have have ‘found my niche’ (baby spam) I haven’t looked back! It might have driven some people away but what it has done is allowed me to connect with some truly amazing people and become part of this wonderful community I had no idea about.
4. How does Instagram impact on your day to day life? (For example Time spent? Places you go? Things you do? Because of/for Instagram)
I won’t lie. There are definitely times we ‘do it for the gram’. Similarly to @just.isla.and.i We’ve been to places because I’ve seen it on insta or found it on Pinterest but wow, have we found some gorgeous places and made amazing memories because of visiting them. We’re an outdoorsy family anyway so we’re always looking for an adventure and when we’re out my eyes hone in on photo opps or I actively seek them out on the gram. During my mat leave I was pretty obsessed with my IG and what people would want to see or worried about my algorithm and how it would be affected if I didn’t post etc, but since going back to work I have a different and fresher outlook on it all. The secret is, post what YOU love. If you love aesthetically pleasing photos, post them! If that’s not your thing then that’s fine too.
5. What have been the positive and/or negative effects of Instagram on your day to day life (for example people you have met? Opportunities that have arisen?)
I never in a million years expected anything to come of my Instagram account. I remember the first message I got asking to collab and I thought all my Christmases had come at once. I mean, who wouldn’t be chuffed that their account was catching the eye of someone and that they wanted to send you something for free!! I don’t have a huge following, my numbers are small but I have had some incredible experiences to come from it regardless, which I am so genuinely grateful for. I’ve also ‘met’ some really lovely and genuine people in the process – both in the online world and in the real world through this little community. But I have to say the real clincher for me however, is the messages and comments I have received from people who have read my blog and have in some way, related to some of the tougher experiences I have faced. I’ve been overwhelmed with the support I’ve been given and it’s been ridiculously therapeutic for me!
I never intend to come across as a perfect family or perfect feed – I just love a bloody good photo but what I hope I have achieved is honesty through my blog. Motherhood is hard and it’s ok to admit it. I’ve been so lucky to have had a positive experience on IG but I have experienced the ‘I’m not good enough’ feeling that can come with it too. I can be my own worst enemy but you have to have perspective. Yes, it’s hard watching other accounts grow when yours doesn’t, or not feeling good enough but really you have to let go of that and enjoy posting what you’re posting or otherwise why bother?!
6. What, if any, equipment/editing do you use in your photography?
Last Christmas I got an olpmyous pen EPL8 and it is my baby. I love it. It’s the bloggers camera because it’s so quick and easy to use. My phone camera isn’t the best quality but I never rule it out. I am a VSCO editing girl at heart but I tweak every preset I use and I always play around with the Instagram tools as well but that’s it. I don’t tend to use any added extras or apps on my images because for me, I want to take the most natural photo as I possibly can. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to set up a shot with ombré leaves or petals placed just so but my favourite photos are the ones I take of our everyday life and the adventures we go on.
7. What is your fave image to date and (if different) what was the most liked post?
My most favourite images are usually the most candid ones. My most liked photos are always the ones I don’t think twice about as well – funny! One of my favourites (I have too many) was this one taken at Hitchin lavender field. It was such an amazing place and Caleb fell asleep on me as I carried him through the field whilst my husband snapped some photos of us. It’s a memory of us I’ll treasure for the rest of my life.
My most liked photo is one of Caleb when he was a newborn. I remember coming home after 10 days in hospital and feeling so sad that I had barely any photos of him for one reason or another so I just snapped away and this shot was one which I adored that much I’ve posted it twice!
8. What tips would you give somebody who wants to get into Instgramming?
I would just say be true to yourself – only post content that makes you happy. We can all try and be someone else but people will believe you more if you are just you. Talk to people, take the time to comment on their photographs but really mean it. Be genuine. Don’t get bogged down by number of likes and comments but most importantly don’t compare yourself. That’s the worst thing you can do. HAVE FUN WITH IT.
9. Where do you see your account in 1 years time?
Honestly, just plodding on one baby spam pic at a time. Of course I’d love to turn this into something bigger, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t, but I don’t have any expectations. Instead, I just hope that Caleb will be walking by then (he takes his sweeeeet time with everything) so hopefully I’ll be able to take some really cute pics of him standing and walking instead of sitting and crawling haha.
@jen.and.cub live in Lincoln in the UK and the stunning family Instagram account was created by the talented Jen, and features the adventures of her son Caleb and her and the ever patient and always willing husband Tom (@twilkz). If you haven’t started to follow them, pop on over and check them out, even better get involved with Jen’s hashtag series #thebabyonhipseries
And… if you still haven’t had enough of the Wilkos, there are some excellent product reviews and even more scrummy photos of Caleb over on their blog jenandcub.blogspot.co.uk