If you’ve ever wondered how your favorite influencer always has a photographer ready to shoot her latest outfit or vacation, the answer is simple: she has an Instagram husband.
If you were to draw a Venn diagram, the “Real husband” and “Instagram husband” circles would overlap for many successful influencers. However, a marriage certificate is hardly necessary to meet the definition. An Instagram husband is simply the person behind the camera, always ready to snap a photo (or 50) when the right moment comes.
So who are these Instagram husbands and how do you know if you need one? Keep reading to find out.
A brief history of “Instagram husbands”
Before they were Instagram husbands, there were blogger boyfriends. In 2014, Fashionista published a story about “boyfriends with the camera behind fashion’s most famous bloggers.”
As the Fashionista article observes, “Among the top bloggers today, it’s nearly impossible to find a successful blog without a committed boyfriend.”
It made a lot of sense: romantic partners are often around to capture these photogenic situations. The logic of fashion bloggers was that they were more economical and able to get direction than a professional photographer. More importantly, they understood their subject better than anyone else.
These qualities in a photographer have become even more valuable with the rise of Instagram. Who better to document all those natural, spontaneous moments that perform well on the platform than your romantic partner?
The blogger boyfriend has evolved like a leveling up Pokemon. A new term for their roles went mainstream thanks to the “Instagram Husband”, a viral video in 2015.
“As many of our wives began to find success in this industry with businesses that required greater involvement of husbands, this video was the only foundation on which most Instagram husbands should base our new identity,” said Jordan Joseph Ramirez. influencer Dani Austin and host of the Instagram Husband podcast. “Even today people think all we do is take pictures.”
Overcoming the “Instagram husband” stigma
For as long as the phrase “Instagram husband” circulated, it was used as a punchline. No man wants to be like the miserable guys in the viral Instagram hubby video, he can’t even sip his latte without taking a picture first.
This video was made by a real-life Instagram husband, Jeff Houghton, and features him and his wife. Houghton said she didn’t want the video to be “a statement on gender roles,” but it’s not a flattering portrayal. The idea that a man might enjoy taking pictures of his partner or that he cares about his happiness and success is not included in the skit.
This opinion is changing, in part because Instagram husbands are becoming more visible. Blogger boyfriends often maintain a low profile, while Instagram husbands make frequent appearances on the platform.
Influencers tell their lives on the platform. They share photos of their homes, pets, exercise routines, and vacations. Of course, they also post about significant others.
Some Instagram husbands like Robbie Tripp become influencers in their own right. He took advantage of the viral “curvy wife” Instagram post and launched his own public career.
But many Instagram husbands do much more than just take pictures. As Taylor Lorenz writes in The Atlantic, many of them are full-fledged partners in his impressive business. Many influencers have built massive audiences, spearheaded successful campaigns, and even launched their own products with the help of their husbands.
This growth is possible because Instagram has evolved. It is no longer just a place where beautiful photos are shared; it’s also a launch pad for brands and businesses. Likewise, many influencers started their accounts as a fun hobby but turned it into a career.
As the platform has changed, so has the understanding of what an Instagram husband does – at least somewhat. So what does an Instagram husband really do behind the scenes?
The life of an “Instagram husband”
Interviewing other Instagram husbands for the podcast, Ramirez says there’s a lot of variety.
“Some go on to full-time jobs and therefore are limited mainly to photographing, being loosely involved and very emotionally supportive of the chaotic lifestyle that comes with blogging,” she wrote. “Other Instagram husbands are definitely more involved on the business side.”
Thomas Berolzheimer, the Instagram husband behind @galmeetsglam, is on the more involved side. “I am interested in overseeing how our companies operate, particularly on the financial and strategic sides. However, I also don the primary photographer’s hat, oversee website design and development and new business development, and occasionally contribute content.”
While Instagram husbands are a modern tradition, marriage and creative business partnerships are nothing new.
Famous literary couples such as Vladimir Nabokov and his wife Vera or Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard divided their labor in the same way. One partner focuses on creative endeavors, while the other makes sure everything goes smoothly behind the scenes.
“While many Instagram husbands are involved in running the business, I think one of the most important aspects is being the go-to person for support, advice and encouragement,” Berolzheimer said. “It is difficult to run a business where a person is a ‘product’.”
In part, this difficulty is due to harassment. Many influencers talked about being harassed on the platform. The larger an influencer’s audience, the more likely they are to attract trolls.
While a professional photographer can take great photos, a trusted partner is also there for support when dealing with critical comments or bullying.
Finding your “Instagram husband”
An Instagram husband can be a huge asset if you want to grow your career as an influencer. But don’t assume you need a real partner or any partner who is good with the camera.
Not all popular influencers have husbands who love to lift the camera. That’s why many work with dedicated professional photographers. For example, Something Navy’s Arielle Charnas collaborates with photographer Alexandra Wolf.
But if you don’t have that kind of budget, you can still count on a support network. Aimee Song, who has 5.2 million followers, asks her sister, boyfriend, assistant, even her father to take a picture. She gives many directions to impromptu photographers to ensure she gets a good shot.
Ramirez said he’s heard of people working with their mothers, but he doesn’t think of any instances of spouses taking pictures for their wives on Instagram. This may reflect the female dominance of influencer marketing. Women shared 83.9 percent of sponsored posts in 2017.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In the vast universe of Instagram influencers, there must be several women behind the camera.
With over six million followers, Mariano di Vaio is a male influencer. His wife is frequently featured in his photos, but it is unclear whether he took them. But she definitely manages her kids’ influencer accounts.
There are also queer influencers with supportive partners like Angelis Borges, whose wife, Nina, appears frequently on (and behind) the camera.
Now that you know you don’t need to take the term “Instagram husband” literally, what should you look for?
5 things to look for in an Instagram “husband”
There are a few universal qualities that Instagram husbands have in common. If you are looking for a partner, here is what you need.
1. Ability with a camera
The most important word here is “Instagram”, not “husband”. You need to find someone who can take great photos, which is key to building a strong presence.
Fortunately, anyone can learn to take great photos for Instagram. With a little practice and patience (and some editing tools), you can get these high-quality snapshots. A few tips: Use natural light, try different angles, and take lots of photos so you have options.
A strong creative partnership is built on trust. Think about it: You are more honest and open with your close friends than with someone you don’t really know. Communicate that authenticity is valuable when developing your voice as an influencer.
And having someone you can trust allows you to plan for the future.
“We know a lot of people in this industry, and those who are constantly evolving each year, those with a solid foundation laid behind the scenes by a team and/or Instagram husband,” Berolzheimer said.
You don’t want a relationship like the Instagram husband video where work is a big nuisance for the men involved. Instead, you want to find someone who really wants to help your impressive career grow.
A supportive partner will also lead to better content because they will be proud of the work they do with you.
“The BEST Instagram husbands I know are those who give up their pride and ego and help their wives in every way they can,” Ramirez said.
4. Not afraid of the spotlight
Another important quality? Someone who is not afraid to share the interest. Your audience will want to see the person who took the photos. Your Instagram husband should expect to appear on your account from time to time.
5. A shared vision
An Instagram husband understands that being an influencer is a career. While influencers make their lifestyle seem like fun, it’s still a job that requires hard work and strategy.
Whoever this partner is, they should help you set and achieve your professional goals. Anyone can help you take a single photo for your account, but she has an Instagram husband for a long time.
All in all, the huge Instagram phenomenon is proving that influencer marketing is a growing industry. And if you want to build your own impressive career, now you know what to look for in a partner!
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