5 Instagrammers from 5 Continents You Need To Know

All of the five featured Instagrammers have their own story to tell and chose different priorities in their work.

Daniel Weissleder works as a Project Manager Online/Social Media at Oliver Schrott Kommunikation (OSK), Germany’s fourth-largest PR Agency, based in Cologne. At OSK Daniel Weissleder develops and realizes successful online and social media campaigns for the agency’s various clients in the automotive sector. The qualified journalist has a profound knowledge in Instagram as a marketing and communication platform. During his recent research for the company’s blog, he talked to five different Instagram influencers from five different continents.

Instagram announced at the end of last year that their network is visited by more than 300 million active users each month. A total of 100 million new users joined the network in the past nine months. Around 70 million photos get uploaded by the community day by day.

Instagram is not only growing strongly, it also has the highest interaction rates among the major social networks and is mainly used on mobile. Brands use the network intensely for their marketing activities – Nike, Netflix or Mercedes are only some brands which have already launched their campaigns on Instagram, put a lot of work into the maintenance of their own accounts and co-operated with well-known Instagrammers.

Pei Ketron, USA

instagram1© Photo: Pete Halvorsen

Pei Ketron represents the very active Instagram community in the U.S. The photographer — who was born in Taiwan and grew up as part of a multicultural family in the Navajo Nation, Arizona — lives in San Francisco nowadays. She only posts photos taken by her smartphone on Instagram. Her regular DSLR photography is published on her website, her Tumblr and her Facebook. Nevertheless, Instagram is currently the most important platform for her to display her work. She has more than 800,000 followers.

Ketron does not see herself as an Instagrammer, though:

Instagram is where my audience is and it’s one of the hottest markets for brands these days, so I give it a lot of my attention. I love it because it has served as a great way to meet and network with other photographers and because it has pushed so many newbies to take up photography. In my opinion, one of the best things that has come out of Instagram is that it has pushed more people to get out and explore their surroundings. It’s made us all more aware of the things happening around us that are worth documenting.

For Ketron, it is very important to be present on other social media channels apart from Instagram – despite the fact that she can barely keep up with the maintenance of her various accounts. Ketron says that her strong social media presence is simultaneously an essential legitimation of her status. It is also important to her to constantly participate in the discourse concerning photography. Potential clients would, of course, google first to find out with whom they are dealing and opt for a photographer who contributes to the community and is locally known and well-respected.

Ketron has already co-operated with several brands:

To be involved in a large scale campaign for a global brand and to see the step-by-step process of what goes on before the shooting even happens is a fantastic learning experience. There’s also a sense of camaraderie that develops between other photographers who are shooting the same campaign, which is fun.

One of the Instagram profiles that she particularly liked lately is NYonAir who market their product “Aerial photographs from New York” via Instagram.

Another current favorite of hers is the Instagram campaign by General Electric:

They’ve given photographers access to some pretty incredible spaces and large-scale machinery as a way of sharing with the world what they do. The shots that have come out of those shoots have been total eye candy for me. For that reason, I’d love to work with GE, and for personal reasons, I’d love to continue to be involved in travel campaigns and campaigns for non-profits.

Gareth Pon, South Africa

instagram2© Photo: Timothy Gerges

Instagrammers outside the U.S. also reach an impressive number of followers: Gareth Pon from Johannesburg, South Africa, has around 220,000 followers on Instagram:

I’ve preferred to always call myself a filmmaker and photographer who has a large following on Instagram. Although the “title” of Instagrammer is becoming more and more recognized and people are starting to see it as a profession rather than just a social media platform. Instagram has definitely become my main channel for exposure of my work, I use it daily and get great feedback from fans of my work.

The platform mainly thrives on the socialization within the community – the interaction rates are considerably higher than those of other major social networks:

I love that Instagram is so community driven. I’ve met so many amazing photographers and people through the platform and also found a collective group of inspiring photographers who push photography on a daily basis. Because Instagram is so visually strong, it’s been the most appealing platform for me by far.

For him, the use of other social media is essential to keep in touch with the community:

I use Facebook to mainly ask questions, I use twitter to highlight articles and pose inspiring quotes or questions. I use my blog to post photo sets whenever I have time and I use my Vimeo to showcase my film work.

Pon is constantly looking for opportunities to take photos and tell stories with them. In addition to this, he also founded “Instagrammers South Africa” to unite South Africa’s Instagram community. He has already co-operated with several brands:

It’s always interesting because every campaign is different; it’s new and uncharted territory being in the Instagram space. Being part of campaigns is always fun because it’s never just shooting, it involves giving guidance and advice around the platform. Instagram really is a dynamic medium and a lot if brands and companies are still figuring the space out, so it’s great offering that extra service as a creative consultant.

Amongst others, Gareth Pon had the chance to collaborate with Nike. From his point of view, Nike offers the most convincing pictures and tells the best stories. One of the best US campaigns he has seen lately is #GLApacked by Mercedes.