When we spoke to Amelia le Brun, aka @amslebrun, for our live #gatherpeople chat on Instagram it was live from Iceland, where Amelia fielded questions from the back of the hire car she was living in. Our brief conversation threw up stacks of interesting points, so we got back together once she'd returned.
Amelia curates a killer feed with a seriously impressive following. Whilst chewing the fat about road trips, photography, adventure travel and the downsides of social media, our conversation revealed some of the secrets to her success, along with her incredibly grounded philosophy. She's a creative inspiration, so without further ado...
Lets talk about Iceland. You joined us for your #gatherpeople Q&A live from there, where you were living out of your car. Why do you think it's so popular recently?
Well for a start, the landscapes are nuts, totally out of this world. The plethora of waterfalls, incredible roads and crazy weather make Iceland the ideal road trip destination in my opinion. Add this to the kindness of the locals and the overall safety of the Island and you're set.
Where's not to miss?
Everywhere! The Golden circle is very popular, for obvious reasons but I particularly enjoyed heading north and just driving, there's not a spot in Iceland that isn't worth seeing!
Any tips for avoiding the crowds?
Go at a random time. Don’t hit the popular spots during tour bus operating hours or you'll just be surrounded by snapping tourists taking annoying selfies and getting in your shot.
And you've been so many other cool places. How do you do it?!
My priority has always been travel, I grew up moving house and country every four years, since then no material objects mean as much to me as new landscapes and the feeling of a new adventure. My money goes toward flights, or car hire and I'll spend hours searching for deals, or emailing companies to get discounts.
Where would you like to go back to?
THE FAROE ISLANDS!!! Hoping to head back early next year :)
We talked briefly on Instagram about the friendliness of the Icelandic people and the amazing welcome from the north's Viking and Celtic people. Their foods not all that though. Whats your least favourite culinary delicacy?
I'm a fussy eater! Borderline vegan makes new cultures foods a little difficult to navigate. I think a low point for me was growing up in Jamaica and being offered Ox tongue.... no thanks!
You just finished studying photography. What were you trying to learn? Did you?
In all honesty I went to University because I had to. With no viable options after finishing school, I was told to get a job or go to University. Four years later I am finally done. I didn’t enjoy it but I've had a lot of opportunities through it and I guess I learnt a few things ;)
Do you have a philosophy to your photography?
Find your jam, and work on it. Don't imitate others, be original and work hard
You've finished with Uni. What now?
Stoked to have finished Uni. I'll work for most of the Summer and next year I have a plan involving Europe, a van and my pooch!
Lets talk about our other mutual love: Instagram. We first met on there when we had basically no followers and you had 13,000. We've since cleared 2000 and you're on 32,000! Clearly we're winning in percentage terms, but seriously, that is an incredible following. How does it feel?
Hahaha, yeah it feels good to be approached by companies due to my follower count, and equally to be able to approach companies and say that I have so many followers. But I'm always a little hard on myself, so at the minute I'm more interested in page traffic, likes etc. I understand that it isn't all about likes, but from my point of view likes mean exposure which inevitably means jobs which feed me...
Obviously your feed is killer, but we see LOTS of killer feeds with way lower followings. How have you have grown your following so much?
Ah I was suggested by Instagram as a user to follow about a year ago and it just took off from there! Its tough seeing accounts with rad shots and a low follower count, but if the feed is that rad I know they're on the way up!
Instagram or Snapchat?
Instagram.... unless I'm on an epic trip then maybe Snapchat for BTS.
What is the best bit thing about Insta?
I think the community feel, I've connected online with so many people in the UK and am soon going to be actually meeting some people. Its fantastic to be around people (even just online) who share similar interests. However, there is always a slightly competitive feel, I've been on the end of that and its not what Instagram is about, its not nice.
For us, the worst thing that could happen is if Instagram allow clickable links in descriptions. Then it would just become Pinerest (no offence Pinteresters, you can find us on there too!) How do you feel about past and future changes?
The problem is, more and more people are on Instagram, so the better content often gets overlooked by spam etc. I'm not a fan of the advert feature, but I suppose all apps have to move with the times. I do kinda wish it would go back to how it was even just last year...
How can we all take better instagram pictures (note we didnt say get more likes!)?
For me, its all about shooting at certain times of day, or in certain weather conditions. Never in bright sunshine, the light is simply too harsh. Its also about the edit, I cringe whenever I see a badly edited image. My go to on mobile is VSCO and on desktop Lightroom and Photoshop.
Anyone you want to give a shout to?
Awesome, thanks Amelia.
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