Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched their app from a warehouse in San Francisco Bay five years ago with no idea of what would happen next
After working on it for just eight weeks, within hours thousands of people had downloaded the photo-sharing app to their phones and the computer systems handling the photos kept crashing.
Just two years later, Kevin and Mike sold the app to Facebook for a record $1bn.
Scots snappers have been quick to join the 400 million users posting and sharing moments of their lives, with many carving out a niche for themselves
From food artists to adventure seekers and all-out explorers of Scotland’s dramatic landscapes, we have gathered a selection of some of our country’s most talented Instagram users to find out how they amassed their army of followers and are using the platform to make a living.
Hints of colour shine across the landscape in the shots on @berriestagram’s page. After setting out on a discovery of Scotland, Fariba Stoddart managed to land support from Sony after the Japanese tech giant spotted her stunning portrayals of the country.
“I opened the @berriestagram account to share my life; things that I see, places that I go and my adventures as I discover more of Scotland,” says Fariba.
“Most of the pictures reflect my mood so you will know how I am feeling. It’s kind of sharing my feelings rather than sharing my pictures.”
“To this day it is surprising that I have 100,000 followers and it is still going,” Fariba adds.
“I decided that I wanted to go to an Instagram meet to meet people who are like-minded.
“We met up and went around a museum taking pictures, I thought it was such a positive environment.”
“I do get opportunities,” she says. “Recently, Sony have given me a phone to take pictures with. It’s not a business opportunity for me. It’s more exciting for me than as a business.
“I had a few American companies contact me to work with them but I rejected it because it doesn’t go with my feed. It’s not what I am about but if it is something that I am passionate about then I will say, ‘yes’.”
Immersed in locations from Harry Potter scenes to fields of Highland cows, @ali.horne explores the outside world with his trusty camera.
Although photography was never more than a hobby for the marketing graduate, it has turned into much more for the young snapper.
“I was never really into photography until about a year ago and then I went travelling to America and I caught the bug,” Ali says.
“I only had 150 followers when I was travelling America. I got suggested by Instagram in March, which means they showcased my page to all users, and then it went a bit mental.”
“I have done a few campaigns – I went to San Francisco to do a campaign for Airbnb and that was through Instagram,” he adds.
“I also went to Switzerland in February to do some work for one of their tourism boards and I have also done a few things for some Scottish brands such as Visit Scotland and Hunter Wellies.”
“A lot of people are trying to do photography and campaigns and stuff and if I didn’t have that social media platform people wouldn’t even have known about me as a photographer so it is absolutely a good way to start.
“The advice I would give is to upload pictures you enjoy because if you upload pictures you enjoy then hopefully others will too.”
From: West Kilbride
An Instagram page turned business plan, Heather Adamson has created a full-time career for herself after sharing pictures of her artistically presented food.
Along with business partner Hannah Darvas, the pair now create online videos, cooking tutorials and images for businesses under their @Fresheather banner.
“It was my first year of university and I had just moved away from home so I started taking pictures of food and posting it on Instagram,” says Heather.
“A few months ago we started making @fresheather full time by making videos and recipe images for different companies.”
“Our tutorial videos are popular, people say they like seeing the recipes come to life,” adds Heather.
“Companies like it because they can show their products and how people can use them for their recipes.
“Presentation is one of the most important things. If you can make something healthy look appetising then more people want to make it.”
“I went to London Fashion Week with Alpro. I got to go to a food styling event and go to the fashion show afterwards which was so cool,” says Heather.
“Now that we have started it as a full-time business, we want to keep working with companies that we believe in and we want to keep making videos because that is unique to us.”
Photographer James Wright ventures into less well-trodden regions to show the more dark and striking side of Scotland on his @jamwrights account.
“The way us Instagram users are selling Scotland is that it’s much more dramatic, it’s not this blue sky and green grass thing that tourist companies often sell it as,” says James.
“Scotland is most of the time dramatic and people are interested in the drama.”
“There have been photography sharing apps and websites around for a long time, certainly before Instagram, but I was never comfortable with a lot of those in various ways.
“I found each website and each app had a different sort of style attached to it and I thought Instagram seemed like a good fit for the kind of work that I was willing to share,” James adds.
“I would look at these big Instagrammers and see that they’ve got a hundred likes per image, or a thousand, or ten thousand, it was mind-boggling, I couldn’t figure out how people could get to that,” he adds.
“The way to do it is to post consistently, whether it’s once or twice a day. A consistent style helps as well because then people can understand why they are going to follow you.”
“What I find the site really good for is art directors can reach out to me and commission me to do work or collaborate on something. It makes you much more visible within the photography world,” adds James.
Ocean, sky and dramatic mountains, @loosemooose has it all. Scottish landscapes are Lucy Hamilton’s forte, particularly of her home town Oban and the Western Islands.
“Oban is just beautiful. Wherever you look it is just stunning,” says Lucy.
“I mostly take pictures on my iPhone. When I first started I couldn’t believe how good peoples’ photos were – I could not believe the quality.
“I think that it’s quite inspiring to people that you can take decent photos with your phone cameras.”
“I have met some good friends through Instagram,” she adds. “I have been on holiday to Skye, Mull, Colonsay, Coll and Tiree with my great friend @bumblebambi and we are planning more adventures together.
“Someone who I follow from Michigan contacted me as he wanted to come to Oban. We met up and I took him to Glencoe.
“Also, someone drove up from Cornwall to Scotland because he had seen my pictures on Ins
tagram and he wanted to go and see the places I take pictures of.”
“I did a job that was a partnership between Amazon Prime and Visit Scotland,” she adds.
“They wanted me to go to the Outlander locations over two days to take photographs of the locations and then post them on Instagram talking about the locations and about the new series of Outlander. It was great.”
“I get very influenced by the pictures that I see on the internet about places that I would like to go to.
“For me, my Instagram account isn’t just about Oban though, it’s about me and where I go.”