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The Business of Instagram: Getting Creative

Research shows that teens are now spending more time on Instagram than on Facebook – and they're not the only ones. Since coming onto the digital scene, Instagram has been a firm favourite for creatives, and this reputation has only grown over time. In recent years, Instagram has become less of a playground for pictures and more of a serious platform for professionals. Described as 'more valuable than a website when it comes to self-promotion', the app isn't just about posting pretty pictures anymore – in many cases it has acted as a catalyst for innovative careers. Here are some examples of creatives who couldn't live without Instagram...

Gill Button

A British illustrator who creates oil paintings and ink portraits, Button started using the platform to display her raw work after becoming fed up with commercial illustration, posting a painting every day for several months. She now boasts 66,000 followers and has a place on Instagram's own recommended users list. Since using Instagram, she has been commissioned by Dries Van Noten, Women's Wear Daily Magazine, Harper's Bazaar and Glamour, and has also been approached by the producer of Amazon TV series 'Transparent' to illustrate its main characters, after being spotted on Instagram. All of her commissions now come from Instagram. You can find her over at @buttonfruit.

Amalia Ulman

Ulman is a conceptual artist, who fooled many into thinking her Instagram was a personal account documenting the day-to-day life of a female artist. As she generated more and more attention as an online personality, she soon attracted speculation as her Instagram photos were controversial and unconventional. A year later, Ulman revealed that her photos had actually been a 'performance' series, entitled 'Excellences & Perfections' that aimed to challenge perception, and explore the blurred lines between life and lifestyle. Despite the controversy surrounding many of her posts, this use of Instagram sent her career into overdrive, and she has since been named by ELLE Magazine as 'the first great Instagram artist'. She has now amassed 121,000 followers and can be found at @amaliaulman.

Isamaya Ffrench

An illustrator and makeup artist, Ffrench has described Instagram as been “the most powerful tool in [her] career.” She is one of the most sought-after creatives in fashion; she’s YSL’s UK make-up ambassador, i-D magazine’s beauty editor and she works with clients such as Chanel, Hermés and Selfridges. Ffrench uses Instagram to document her personal creative experiments rather than commissioned work, to her 90,000 devoted followers who adoringly like, share and comment on her every update. Her feed is made up of hundreds of photos which are all their own wildly intricate piece of work, practised on her own face. You can find her at @isamayaffrench.

In summary

Creative brands and image based platforms naturally go hand-in-hand, and we already know that mobile social media is the most used nowadays, so it's no surprise that this mobile-only imagery platform is such a frontrunner in the creative industry. These three women are a glowing example of how Instagram can be harnessed for the benefit of a brand - whether that's taking advantage of its engaging community or its visual layout - and how it is not only a place to be artistic, but also a tool with which to get inspired.

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