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Do you love to travel and take pictures along the way?
Are you always sharing photos of your travel pics on Instagram?
If so, you may be wondering how to become an Instagram travel influencer. While it’s not easy, it is possible!
This blog post will share tips from the pros on becoming an Instagram influencer and gaining a large following. Keep reading to learn more!
How do Photographers connect with Travel Writers in Newspapers?
Google led a travel writer, Adrian Bridge from The Telegraph, a London-based newspaper, to me as I am a photographer who often photographs Instagram Influencers with large followings. He was coming to the Riviera Maya and was thinking of doing a story on the process of how one becomes a REAL Instagram travel influencer.
So, I gladly offered to help him out. Adrian accompanied me on a fashion photoshoot of an Instagram influencer to see how the process works. He took notes and observed the flow of how a photoshoot works.
We headed to Punta Esmeralda, a lovely beach in Playa del Carmen, on this beautiful sunny afternoon. We photographed Marianela Pitteri, a talented Musician and Instagram influencer who is also learning to be a YouTuber.
So What’s Happens Next?
Adrian and I brainstormed, and we decided to photograph him as if he was an Instagram travel influencer. We wanted to illustrate that working with a professional photographer and a want-to-be influencer could accelerate the fundamentals of creating an eye-catching Instagram feed.
The advice I offer to My Clients On How To Take Better Pictures
Below is Adrian’s piece on how one could become a travel influencer.
Read the Telegraph Article
By Adrian Bridge, Travel Writer & Future Instagram Travel Influencer
The full story on the process of how to become a Instagram travel influencer, can be read here.
Our 62-year-old writer decided celebrity hotspot Tulum was the perfect place to finally join social media and share his travels online
Adrian hired his own personal photographer in Mexico Credit: Joshua Ardoin
Palm trees swaying in the breeze and shimmering turquoise seas; soft white sands and barefoot ease, wall art wonders and lapping waves… If I was ever going to find my Instagram mojo, the magical stretch of the Mexican coast known as the Riviera Maya was definitely the place to do it.
An Instagram heaven and a hotspot for influencers and Hollywood A-listers such as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lopez, this holiday honeypot in the far eastern state of Yucatan has come a long way since it was luring backpackers and intrepid travelers determined to seek out the Mayan ruins at Tulum and swim in the Caribbean. With its wow factor settings and blazes of color, it is now the place to which film stars, celebrities and influencers with products to promote flock; likewise Instagrammers, keen to make their mark and boost their follower base.
The Riviera Maya is also now home to a number of rather lovely upmarket resorts, one of which – the Tui Blue El Dorado Seaside Suites – was one of the first to welcome back British holidaymakers when long-haul travel to Mexico was back on the menu. At last, I thought: the perfect opportunity to branch out and experiment a bit, to explore not only a new place but also new ways of telling stories about it. To finally join the Instagram generation.
What? Me, an Insta star? An influencer? At my age (62)? I’d always assumed that this was something for a younger demographic. I’d also never felt comfortable with the idea of something which seemed to me so overtly self-promotional – look at me and look at the fabulous place I’m in right now! Look at me sipping a cocktail in this tropical paradise! Look at me posing beside this ancient pyramid! No thanks.
And yet I was intrigued. It wasn’t quite how I saw my journalistic career evolving – but maybe you can teach a seasoned practitioner new tricks. I was lucky in that there were plenty of people in the resort who fitted the Insta/Influencer profile rather better than I did, both in terms of age and looks. I asked for advice from one, as they were posing beneath a palm tree. She was highly supportive: “There’s plenty of room for other voices, looks and takes. I think a more mature view could definitely gain followers.”
If it worked for so many others, maybe it could work for me? It could certainly raise my profile, and it might make me see the world differently. And besides, what did I have to lose?
We hadn’t even checked in when I got a vision of what lay ahead. On the long, sparkling driveway to the hotel reception area, I spotted a painted mural of a war-like male with leopard spots and a leopard mask beside which a glamorously attired woman was posing (and pouting) magnificently, all rendered in glorious color filters by her boyfriend phone, no doubt for the Insta account.
I made it a pact with myself that I would be photographed in the same place towards the end of my trip. But first I needed to get the lie of the land, seek out the photogenic spots, watch how others did it – and gird my loins.
Girding one’s loins is not altogether difficult at the El Dorado Seaside Suites, which lies 20 miles south of the lively resort town of Playa del Carmen and is one of the first winter sun destinations to which the travel giant returned to late last year.
For a start, it is in a genuinely beautiful spot, with tropical loveliness, unassumingly stylish architecture, several pools (some with swim-up suites) and an idyllic stretch of white sand beach. With all meals and a wide range of alcoholic drinks included, it offers a number of watering holes and restaurants – from a beachside BBQ bar to a “Gourmet pub” and a “Latin fusion food” Culinarium. It also has a nicely discreet spa with signature treatments such as the Náay Water Journey and Kukulcan massage (which are as soothing as they sound).
Being adult-only, the resort has a calming, soothing, yet slightly playful air. Greeting people – many from North America but plenty of Europeans too – and wishing them well comes easily in a place where the lifting of tensions following the pandemic was almost palpable.
A popular Insta spot is the large illuminated love heart on a wooden jetty offering fabulous sunrise and sunset shots. Cheesy they may be, but there were lots of people seeking that visual affirmation, mostly as couples. They may have been at the start of their relationships, but equally, they may have been formalizing it – a pair from Dallas declared their vows during a memorable ceremony on the beach.
For those able to tear themselves away from the swings, sun loungers and whirlpool baths, the state of Yucatan has plenty of other distractions. Twenty miles to the south lies the town of Tulum, home to striking Mayan remains, some right on the beach (and delivering Insta-worthy snaps).
In the nearby market, I watched the flying dancers of Papantla, was wowed by dramatic costumes and skeletal masks evoking the Day of the Dead and munched on chapulines – dried grasshoppers – a salty snack that tastes surprisingly good with a shot of mezcal (tequila isn’t the only show in town). After that, I cooled off in the thrillingly refreshing waters of a nearby cenote, one of the exquisite pools of water linked to an extensive network of underground caves and tunnels in this part of the world. Considered sacred wells by the Mayans.
Further south lay another treat: the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an (“Where heaven begins”), home to myriad wildlife species including howler monkeys, manatees, jaguars, and crocodiles. It is also where you can snorkel, glide among bottlenose dolphins and rest your eyes on dreamlike desert island beaches. But what I enjoyed most was traveling through the mangroves in a speed boat. James Bond eat your heart out.
Speaking of Bond, when was this new star of the Instasphere and influencer wannabe ever going to appear? There had been plenty of great Insta opportunities up to this point and I had watched as people capitalized fully, posting scores of gorgeous images – of themselves and the fabulous things they had seen – much to the, ahem, joy of their friends back in a decidedly wintery UK.
I didn’t feel my own attempts at selfies were all that Insta worthy. So I called for professional help in the form of Joshua Ardoin, an American photographer based in Playa del Carmen who has done shoots for a great number of influencers and Insta fans seeking to boost their social media traction. (Or simply go home with some amazing lifestyle photos.)
“It’s our job to make everything look beautiful!” says Josh on his website. “I will show you how to pose and suggest the best beaches and locations in the Riviera Maya. You will now have a collection of beautiful images to share with those who matter most!”
Joshua Ardoin’s top tips for would-be Instgrram travel influencers.
- Pick a niche within a niche and be passionate about it. Try travel, fashion, or food.
- Have an attractive bio that highlights what makes you unique.
- Document your journey and give your best tips and lessons that you have learned.
- Make your feed beautiful, consistent and post the kind of work you want to be known for.
- Learn to post videos and educate via stories.
- Engage and connect with your audience in an authentic way
I can’t pretend to compete with some of the glamorous people Josh has photographed in the past, nor do I imagine that anyone will anytime soon be looking at me as some kind of fashion icon. However, Josh tells me good lighting and clever angles can work wonders, and that he will come to the El Dorado resort for sunrise the next day. “I’ll find the best spots. Just make sure you have a variety of outfits. I think we should do a few looks: beach, business, something you would go out in.”
I do my best with some beachwear and a couple of reasonably smart shirts. And over the course of an exhilarating two hours, being photographed looking wistfully out to the sea on a raised platform; walking in wonder along a palm tree-lined avenue; crouching meaningfully by a deliciously inviting pool; standing alongside giant-sized chess pieces; sitting on that swing, and, of course, posing furiously beside the mural of leopard man. I draw the line at pouting, though.
“Hey man, you’re an influencer!” says Josh, rather generously as we tuck into a bacon and black beans breakfast on the beach after the shoot.
I’m not sure about that, but I have to confess I rather enjoyed it. I now see the world differently. And two hours later, I successfully sent my first-ever Instagram post.
TUI (020 3451 2688; tui.co.uk) offers seven nights on an all-inclusive basis at the 5T TUI BLUE El Dorado Suites in Riviera Maya, from £1,248 per person, departing from London Gatwick on May 23 2022, including transfers. TUI Collection Excursions include Tulum Explore Private Tour and Sian Ka’an, from £52 and £158 per person respectively.
Joshua Ardoin is the head photographer at SpotOn Photographers and offers tailor-made photoshoots in Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and along the Riviera Maya. For details and prices (usually between US$350 and $600 per day), contact him via spotonphotographers.com.
Adrian Bridge’s Instagram handle is @adrianbridge
People Often Ask?
1. Do travel influencers get paid?
Once you have 10,000 Instagram followers, you can start getting sponsored deals or at least free stays at hotels in exchange for exposure.
2. How much do travel influencers cost?
It depends on how well Instagram influencer is known. Do they have a popular travel blog? Often, their price correlates to the number of Instagram followers they have.
3. What does a travel influencer do?
Travel around the planet, stay in hotels, and do exciting things to create rich, engaging content for the followers.
4. How many followers do you need to be a travel influencer?
Once a travel influencer reaches five thousand followers they are typically known as a micro-influencer; however, you open up more opportunities once you get 10,000 followers.
We would love to help you step up your Instagram game!