The Art of Influencing

Photo by Aiony Haust

In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote a book titled “How To Win Friends and Influence People” which I never read because the idea of mastering friendship and power through a list of how-tos seems farfetched. The title is as much of a joke as “The Origins of the Universe for Dummies” is to me. I’m part of the population that’s big on intuition, charisma, and “it,” and am I’m not convinced that any of the above are learnable skills. In other words, I think that all artists are secret mystics. They use hunches, feelings, knowledge that they don’t have to invent things that they don’t have complete control over, but that has near complete control over us, their audience. They introduce new ways of seeing that are unfamiliar and accessible, making something out of nothing. That’s some kind of magic.

I’m not equating Instagram followers with magic – firstly, because there are bots, and secondly, because that’s gross hyperbole, but I do think that creating a dedicated Instagram following is more than luck and savvy (though both play their respective roles). It takes a real sensitivity to give an audience something that it will respond to. It takes an understanding – conscious or not -of people, what they like, what turns them on, what they hate, what they can’t look away from, what they keep coming back to.

Humans and human psychology are firmly in the “things we don’t yet understand fully” category, and we call most mysterious things “art forms.” Precedent aside, a good number of Instagram phenoms have seen new possibilities for the platform where people before them didn’t, seen new populations to serve, see ways to build bridges into peoples minds and connect them to their ideas.

My favorite Instagram personalities (@jillisblack, @symmetrybreakfast, @blairz) are all masters of the platform. They have an intuitive feel for communication across the internet. What they communicate varies from visual feasts (@symmetrybreakfast) to scathing social commentary (@jillisblack) to fantasies for the fashion crowd (@blairz), but each of them have paired their medium & their message perfectly. 

I am part-expert, part-donkey when it comes to social media. Expert because I pay close attention to how other people go about living, wishing and pretending they live their lives, and so I spend a lot of time on Instagram “creeping” or “studying” friends and strangers. I’m good at watching people, and I’m good with social cues. Donkey because I have the computer skills of a geriatric patient and am deeply suspicious about sharing things I care about over the internet. I’m a millennial so I get that it’s what people do, how we communicate, so I don’t mean I’m suspicious in the way that moms are. I don’t think about the FBI tracking my whereabouts; I don’t care very much about hackers looking through my screenshots, and I don’t care nearly as much as I should about ending up with cancer from extended contact with my devices.

It’s more than I’m suspicious of social media as a means of communication. I don’t trust it with what I want to say, or maybe I don’t trust my fluency with the format; maybe I can’t get it to say what I want it to. I trust forms that are self-contained, forms that prioritize completion and coherence (a novel, for example). I don’t like a mess, and the internet/social media is a place of loose ends. It’s a living art form. You’ve got to make things that keep going on into tomorrow and many more tomorrows after that.

It’s a grind, and the art is the grind. I believe I’ve bothered to think about this at all because I recognize social media as the alien art form that it is. I can see that there are people who have a feel for the medium; who capably manipulate the form: its squares, its grid, its filters. I haven’t embraced it as a medium. I don’t trust it, or it doesn’t trust me, but we’re working on it. We’re still feeling each other out. The masters are there already.


We’re a global creative agency with a diverse roster of influential talent. Join us today.

Apply To Join


We use proprietary technology to generate modeling packages perfectly tailored to you.

Book A Shoot

Smoke Bomb Photography: Yay or Nay?

Smoke bomb photography adds a whimsical and mysterious element to any photo, and it can work to cover distracting or unsightly backgrounds. If you’re shooting a couple, a portrait or even a landscape, using smoke bombs adds an interesting point for the eye to follow. People are fascinated by fire and smoke. Think of the […]

Ring the Bell! Photography Gift Guide For The Holiday Season

When it comes to buying the photographer in your life the perfect present, especially during this festive time of year, it can be quite a daunting task. The season is the perfect time to capture and showcase themed markets, lights, events and architecture with holiday cheer-and-bell photography, so your special someone will feel even more […]

How To Fuel Passion In Your Environment

“There’s never going to be the perfect time to do something. The perfect time to do something is immediately, when you feel like you should do it.” – Director David Wept Fear of the unknown is a common human behavior — one that definitely doesn’t serve us but nevertheless common. Whether that email you’ve been […]

How To Capture Your Vision With Photography

Like all art, photography, at times, can be frustrating. One of the most trying aspects of being a photographer is finding a clear artistic vision. Sometimes you may think you have a vision or a strong concept for your photographs and not still not be able to capture the idea. You can see the image in your head, […]

The Gear You Must Have Before Getting Your Own Photography Studio

It’s a big day, the one where a photographer finally makes the decision to open up their very own photography studio. As soon as the lease (or property sale) is signed, there’s important purchases to be made, like new studio equipment and gear material. Instead of purchasing rental equipment or loading up your car with […]

Everything You Need to Know About Boudoir Photography

Boudoir photography defies genre. It is a style of photography that incorporates elements of portraiture, glamour, high fashion and fine art photography. Boudoir comes from the french word bouder meaning: to sulk. Historically, sulking was seen as something one would do privately, and the term bouder came to encapsulate a room where one would go to […]

5 Photography Stores That Everyone Should Check Out

With the large selection of camera stores, choosing the best place to purchase your photography gear can be a difficult decision. When determining where to find the latest equipment and accessories you should base your selection off location, availability of stock and price. At one point, buying your camera equipment could only be done in […]

How To Become A Makeup Artist

I remember the first time I watched my mom do her makeup years ago. I was fascinated by the transformation of how something so subtle could make such a big difference. From that moment on makeup was always a part of my life, but I never took it as seriously as my sister or my […]

Female Photographers’ Tips on Navigating the Industry

“I think one of the struggles that women face in our industry is often being overlooked or not taken seriously. I’ve experienced it a lot.”- Kassidy Renee Women. Many incredible adjectives come to mind when we hear this word. Thanks to many successful women and men before us, the creative industry has become a better […]

The Importance of Quality vs. Quantity

Since the beginning of time (You know, the first time humans started creating), there’s been the ethical debate of quality vs. quantity. The question applies to most aspects of our life, like processed food or healthy salad? Fast fashion or organic cotton? Explore feed or normal feed? It also applies to our creative projects and […]