Matt Blum is a Dallas-based photographer with over a decade of experience and more than 50,000 followers on Instagram.
His work has been featured in magazines such as Esquire, GQ, Maxim, and Playboy. A world traveler, Matt has worked with agencies including Ford, Wilhelmina, and NEXT. He joins us for our Influencers series.
You can find him on Instagram here: @blumphotography
Elite Mindset: Can you tell us little bit about yourself? How did you get started?
Matt Blum: I’m a US based fashion, fitness, and travel photographer. I’ve been at it about 15 years. I started off like most about that time I suppose. Digital photography didn’t have the foothold it has now, so everything was film. I started shooting any and everything around me, finally settling in the glamour realm.
After a few years, I pushed my way into fashion.
EM: When did you start your Instagram profile? What inspired you to start building a following?
MB: I started [my] Instagram in about 2012. I liked the simplicity of it. Clean, crisp, and appealing. I didn’t really start off with the intent of building a following. I just thought it was a nice way to present my work, and as it turned out, the crowds followed my higher profile clients, and eventually me.
EM: What is a personal favorite post on Instagram? Is there a story behind it?
MB: Lately, I had a bit of fun with a friend of mine doing a series we called “Bro-doir”. He’s a heavier set fella with a great sense of humor, so I used him to recreate some of my more popular photos of women. Needless to say, it’s gotten some great response from the public. Big guy posing provocatively like a female model? What’s not to like?
EM: Who are your top influences or sources of inspiration on Instagram?
MB: Oh wow, that’s tough. I try not to compare or copy works, but you can’t help but find inspiration on Instagram. So many creative minds doing so many new things with technology. I’m a HUGE fan of travel photographers like Jack Morris (@doyoutravel) and fashion guys like Jerry Avenaim (@avenaim) with his beautifully crafted, classic shots.
EM: How do you find brands to work with?
MB: Honestly, most of the brands I’ve worked with have approached me via email. I’ve had a blast working with companies like Hawkers Sunglasses (@hawkersco) and eBags (@ebagsonline) in the past, but one of my favorites was working with Small Town Brewery (@smalltownbrewery) for their product, Not Your Father’s Root Beer. I did a trio of posts around the holidays to capture the spirit of the beverage and who can complain about getting paid to drink beer?
EM: If you were to give one piece of advice on how to build a following, what would it be?
MB: Create unique content… and [post] consistently. The rest will come. Sure it seems like the odds are against you, but “If you build it, they will come.”
EM: What is a favorite tool or technique you use to grow your audience?
MB: I think my “trick” is that I shoot a TON of models, most of which have a solid following. I tag a majority of my photos with my IG, so there’s no guessing who took the shots.
EM: Lastly, what is an interesting fact about you that your audience may not know?
MB: Oh man, I guess that I’m pretty much a big nerd. In a time of people working for likes and trying to be cool, it’s important to be you. Pretending or trying to be a vision that’s popular at the moment is the biggest disservice you can do to yourself.
Be true to you. It’s what makes you unique.
If you like something, indulge. For example, if you like comic books but don’t want to share that side with everyone for fear of what they think… who’s to say that won’t be the “cool” thing a year from now. Be true to you. It’s what makes you unique.
You can follow Matt on Instagram here: @blumphotography.
Influencers is an ongoing series exploring the mindset of top influencers.