Behind the ‘Gram: 10 Secrets Influencers Don’t Tell You About Being Insta Famous

Travelling to a new, exotic country every month, eating overpriced smashed avo and açaí bowls everyday, and never wearing the same outfit twice seems like a cinch, right? Not necessarily. Here’s a list of things your favourite influencers aren’t telling you about what it’s really like being Insta famous.

By Monique Courtney

10. You can’t just be photogenic; you also need to be business savvy

Despite how it may seem, influencers can’t just sit back and let brands approach them about collaborations and promotion deals. Influencers often have to seek out brands, pitch themselves to potential collaborators, and have killer negotiation skills. Most influencers represent themselves professionally, so they have to assert themselves in order to ensure they’re not being taken advantage of or ripped off by the brands they work with.

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9. Even those #nofilter shots are still probably edited

A lot of time and effort goes into editing the photos you may think are unedited. While the photo may not have a filter on it, the influencer who posted it most likely still edited the photos to get rid of any imperfections or imbalances.

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8. That “candid”, “natural” shot was actually one of about 100 photos taken

Influencers: they’re just like us! No one can be expected to look good in every single picture, and not every single picture is going to have the right lighting, angles, poses, and focus the first time round. Influencers often take dozens—sometimes even hundreds—of photos each shoot and narrow the selection down to the one or two perfect photos you see on your feed.

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7. Tons of time is spent researching and location scouting

Believe it or not, influencers weren’t born with an innate, natural ability to stumble upon picture-perfect photo locations, like lavender fields or colourful doors or cliff-sides overlooking the ocean. Lots of time is put into researching shoot locations and visiting different places to scope out the best times of day to photograph. Insider tip: most influencers gravitate toward early morning to shoot—the light is softer and more photogenic, and less people are around.

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6. Smartphone cameras are almost always a no-go

Despite the fact that Instagram is a primarily smartphone-based social media platform, influencers rarely use smartphones to take the photos they post. Most influencers use digital cameras as they’re small and easy to carry around. Some influencers use optical zoom cameras because they produce higher-quality photos. A few influencers even travel with personal professional photographers!

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5. Once you’ve switched on, it’s hard to turn off

Lifestyle and fashion blogger Hannah Marriott wrote an essay for The Guardian about the reality of being an influencer. In the piece, she revealed that it’s hard to switch off from being in influencer-mode. Even when she’s simply catching up with friends over brunch, she’s constantly thinking about what a great photo op her cappuccino is, or how she would position her handbag if she was photographing the meal.

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4. Insta fame doesn’t happen overnight

In this age of social media, we as consumers want things to happen overnight; Insta fame doesn’t work like that. Many influencers are active Instagram users for years before gathering a large follower base. Insta influencer Zoe Lazerson, for example, has been on Instagram for 7 years, but has only become well-known on the platform in the last couple of years.

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3. There’s more to influencers’ wardrobes than what meets the eye

Influencers seem to have a bottomless budget for their wardrobe and a flawless sense of style. But influencer Alyssia Bossio revealed that most of the clothes that she’s photographed wearing are either returned to the store post-photoshoot, or sent to her for free by brands that she reaches out to when she’s running low on new outfits to photograph. She also explained that tons of thought goes into what she wears when she knows she’ll be taking photos that day; she doesn’t simply wake up and throw on whatever outfit she feels like wearing that day. She chooses outfits that she knows will look good with her surroundings and match the vibe of the shoot location.

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2. Influencers aren’t always taken seriously

Influencers often struggle to be taken seriously by people in other professions, especially those in other areas of online content creation, like online journalists. Taking bikini shots on the beach or standing on your chair at brunch to get the perfect angle of your latte tend to garner a few laughs from anyone watching. Luckily, that kind of thing is becoming more and more common and accepted as the number of Instagram influencers rises.

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1. Sometimes you just need a vacation from your vacation

While an influencer’s Instagram posts may make it look like they’re enjoying an idyllic vacation on a pebbly beach in the South of France, the reality is that often those “vacations” are more like work trips. They’re littered with business meetings and photoshoots, not allowing the influencer much downtime; there’s even more pressure to constantly post perfect photos if the trip is paid for by the hotel or another brand (you can usually tell an influencer is being paid to stay in a certain hotel if they tag the hotel in their photos). Many influencers prefer to take a few trips that are paid for completely out-of-pocket to take away the pressure of having to promote a particular brand while they’re holidaying.

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Interested in becoming an influencer yourself? Check out this article on how to become Insta famous!


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