Influencer Spotlight: @jamesdore On Working With The Most Adorable Subjects Ever

January 11, 2017
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At Infinity Squared, we’re always on the hunt for interesting, local content creators — and when we do find them, we like to ask them a lot of questions.

As a professional pet and kid photographer, James Dore’s Insta feed (@jamesdore) is a concentrated dose of high quality adorable, against colourful backgrounds. We love the vibrancy in his photos and how he frames his shots to capture the energy and personality of every subject.

 

Can you give us some insight into your background – what you studied, where you worked? How did you get into photography and Instagramming?

I started by studying a Diploma in Photo-Imaging, and Certificate IV in Film and Television. During that time, I worked as a photographic assistant, and digital operator for several prominent Australian photographers. I also had the opportunity to have work experience in the SMH photo department.

I’ve had quite a few Instagram accounts, and in the beginning it was very hit and miss. My first account was a bit of a mess; it didn’t really have any demographic in mind or a theme.

How would you describe your Instagram’s ‘brand’ and what was the process to getting to that identity?

I’ve got roughly 5 Instagram accounts, my personal one @jamesdore I try to keep minimal, and fun. It caters to animal lovers, and young people with families, within Australia. It was a concerted effort to create that demographic, as I was at the same time creating a pet/kids/family photography company @meandyouphotos. I wanted to be able to create a potential client list and hype for the launch.

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What were the biggest challenges to building your Instagram platform? Can you give us some examples?

Fresh content – You need to keep your audience interested, and have content that’s unique, but in-keeping with your style and theme. For example, at Halloween you might do a themed shoot (e.g. a pug on a broom with a witch’s hat) a few days before to get people sharing your post and profile. In these posts hashtags are especially important because a higher interaction with the post means you stay at the top of high turnover hashtags like #halloween for longer, meaning you get a lot more traffic to your page. It’s important to have a variation of low-high turnover hashtags.

Engagement and time management is probably the biggest challenge. It takes a long time to curate post’s, and as you can imagine a lot of people comment and message you. It’s important to keep them engaged by replying or at least interacting with their comment.

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 about 5 months to build the 13k on @jamesdore and 4 months to build the 11k on @meandyouphotos. It’s getting quicker. It gets easier when you know what you’re doing.

Attention is good and all, but if anything I’m more thankful for the posts which don’t perform as well. The underperforming and overperforming posts are the ones you learn from. They let you know what your audience likes and what you need to change and work on

Who do you enjoy following on Instagram and who inspires you?

I follow so many inspiring accounts, from fashion, to lifestyle, to other pet, and family accounts. Two of my favourites at the moment are @mensweardog and @hellohoku. It’s so hard to single a few when there are so many accounts worth mentioning.

A photographer rule of thumb is to never shoot with children or pets. You do both – what drew you to this genre of photography?

I’m a sucker for animals, I absolutely love them and kids are great. I don’t know why photographers say that, I find it really easy to work with both. I do a lot of corporate, commercial and portrait work so photographing kids and pets was a nice break from that.

You studied photography in university. What are some things you feel you learnt through formal study that amateur or self-taught photographers might not learn on their own?

I think the best thing that came from formal study was the technical knowledge. Its super important in terms of lighting and understanding how to achieve certain looks and ideas. In a way you can only be as creative as your technical ability allows.

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