An adventure photographer’s advice on becoming an Instagram influencer

You know you’ve done it — scrolled through those Instagram accounts of influencers who travel the world taking pictures of themselves in remote locations having an epic adventure.

Their stories sometimes seem fake, but the truth is that many IG influencers are just showing their actual lives.

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We recently caught up with one: A.V. Wakefield. An avid hiker and adventurer, she started her accounts, @picobac and @northbirchgrove, when she combined her adventures in the Canadian Rockies with her love for and skills in photography. Wakefield studied both photography and design “not long before the start of Instagram,” she told GrindTV. “I was using sites like Tumblr and Facebook to share collections of my images with others prior to the IG boom.

“It was amazing to be able to connect with photographers and designers alike from all over the world. Little did I know what doors IG would shortly open for me creatively!”

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Wakefield began selling her photography at a local pop-up shop event called Market Collective in Calgary, Alberta. This is where she found her personal style by creating fine-art images in the app’s signature square orientation.

“I love how I can create precise and balanced compositions paired with fine-art techniques using this format,” Wakefield said. “I had also just gotten an iPhone at this time and was taking loads of photos in square format because it was an in-camera option. I found Instagram shortly thereafter while searching for photo-editing apps.

“It was so nifty to be able to share square images on a platform built especially for my style, and to tag my photos with hashtags specific to my content, allowing me to effortlessly connect with and also be inspired by others around the world.”

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Living in the Canadian Rockies, where an adventure is always right outside the door, led Wakefield to her true calling and her “sense of place in this wide world.” While shooting her own adventures, Wakefield wanted to encourage more women to get out on their own, so she founded @hike365. It’s not only an IG account, but also a meet-up for women to go on hikes together. Hike365 has grown from being a monthly trek to a blog that produces its own content and has enjoyed a huge international following.

Here are Wakefield’s four rules for Instagram.

Keep it organic and honest

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“A rule that I have for posts is that my content must be created in an organic and honest way,” says Wakefield, “meaning that I do not orchestrate much more than the time of day in which I shoot.

“In my opinion, images that are captured in the moment are the ones that speak to the heart and spark the best kind of emotions.”

Always be thankful

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“I’m blessed to be able to share images of the world as I experience it with others as my full-time job,” she says. “One rule for posts is that I never want to convey that I live a life that is above average. It just happens that my job as a photographer lends itself to creating beautiful content while out adventuring.”

Savor the trip

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“I am rather bad at posting regularly,” Wakefield admits, “because I really like to revel in the experiences I’ve had, savor them in my mind and my journal for just myself.

“A week might pass before I realize that I haven’t shared a moment or two from an adventure that I know would make others smile, so then I get to work.”

Find and share your true passions

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“My life’s work is also my passion, and that has to be one of my favorite things about being an IG influencer,” she shares. “I get to capture beautiful moments in time, sharing them with others in the most honest way I know how, through photographs.

“Find and share your true passions with this wide world. Dig your own niche, settle in and work honestly to create content that makes you most happy. Be sure to share your true self and the rest — this brand-new world of influencing — will surely follow.”

Learn more about adventure photography with GrindTV

The chaotic, dangerous life of an international adventure photographer

How to take adventure photos of your dog

Insider tips for photo-worthy bikepacking in Costa Rica

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