Influencer Spotlight: Delicate minimalism with @ohbabyitskarenFebruary 22, 2017
Delicate, sweet and full of light, Karen’s Instagram feed is like a soothing balm for the eyes. We love her eye for striking architectural angles, her flatlay (and painting) skills and the simplicity of many of her shots. Despite the variety of subject matter, her distinct style always shines through.
Can you give us some insight into your background – what you studied, where you worked? How did you get into photography and Instagramming?
I just finished my 3rd and final year of B. Design in Architecture at the University of Sydney. Since this degree was so intense, I’ve mainly worked retail jobs such as Zara Home, Zara and Ralph Lauren. But I’ve also done freelancing on the side through Instagram, collaborating with brands/institutions such as Samsung, Daniel Wellington, Sudio Sweden and The University of Sydney.
It all began when I chose photography as an elective in high school. I started taking it more seriously in 2014 though, when my workmates (who went shooting on their days off) convinced me to upgrade my first DSLR and buy a full frame Canon 6D. I’ve had Instagram since 2012, but I only began curating my feed and using the app to make friends in late 2015 after I went to my first Instameet.
How would you describe your Instagram’s ‘brand’ and what was the process to getting to that identity?
I love to tell stories through my Instagram, whether it be about lifestyle, design, travel, food adventures, or portraits of friends. There’s no particular theme, I like to mix it up to keep things interesting and show an eclectic depiction of my life. I’m pretty meticulous about the colours though, and I’ll always love a good flare. I don’t post all that often either, because quality means so much more to me than quantity. When I choose to publish a picture, ‘exceptional’ is the bottom line.
What were the biggest challenges to building your Instagram platform? Can you give us some examples?
Some days it’s hard to stay motivated and resilient with promoting your Instagram, for example actively engaging with other accounts through likes and comments. Also, it’s impossible to shoot and edit fresh content all the time, since I’m often busy with architecture assignments, so I end up doing a lot of throwbacks to make up for it.
How long did it take for your Instagram to build its following and how did you handle the initial lack of likes, reposts and attention?
It took just over a year to go from less than 1000 followers to what it is right now at 10.3k. You hear it often, but I can hardly believe something that started out as a hobby has become such an integral part of my life. Initially, I went around stalking hashtags and location geotags that inspired me, liking and commenting on other people’s work. Going to Instameets also helped me grow a following, because it gave me a chance to be a part of the Sydney Instagram community, which opened a whole world of possibilities.
What’s been the most memorable or meaningful experience you’ve had because of your involvement on Instagram?
Instagram has driven me to live a more adventurous life. It’s through this app that I’ve been inspired creatively and found out about instameets where I have met some of the most incredible, talented people, some who are now my closest friends. I find a lot of travel/road trip destinations, hip cafes, foodie trends, local events, design inspiration, and photogenic locations, so I’m always determined to go out and live the most exciting life possible. I love meeting new people and listening to their stories, especially those from an entirely different walk of life. I remember coming home from my first Instameet ever (Bondi Sculpture By the Sea) and I couldn’t stop smiling for days. I’d do anything if I could tell a good story out of it.
Who do you enjoy following on Instagram and who inspires you?
Lifestyle: @lichipan @taramilktea @hellomissmay @1924us @garypeppergirl @arvinisstarvin
Portraiture: @fluffpiece @ellzzrawrr @sarahmarzukie @fetching_tigerss @noel.alva
Travel: @leahliyah @helloemilie @jarradseng @otherworld.ly @muradosmann @thewindar @zeebachi
You recently came back from Japan. How do you balance enjoying the moment while travelling with taking the perfect photo?
For me, taking the perfect photo is a huge part of enjoying the moment. I feel as if photography allows me to see a certain place/person from a completely different angle to how we experience it in real life and real time. It’s probably a bad habit, but I rarely use a camera bag when I go travelling, I prefer to sling my camera over one shoulder – switched on and cap off. This way, I’d have the freedom to take in the surroundings with my own eyes, yet still be able to reach for my camera at a moment’s notice and capture anything that happens – no matter how spontaneous.
What’s been the best opportunity that you have gotten because of your following/influence?
To have been scouted to work with global brands like Samsung to promote their new Galaxy Tab S2, to have the opportunity to support startups/small businesses/local creatives and watch them grow and succeed over time, to have landed my dream internship at the luxury media agency MAXMEDIALAB/MAXCONNECTORS, and to be able to meet some of the people who have inspired me since day one and have the privilege of calling them my friends.