Who:Nesrin Danan
What: Instagram Pet-Peeves, Instagram Money; Brand Collaborations
Where: Irving Farm Coffee Roasters, NYC
Occupation: Photographer, College Student & Social Media Personality

Nesrin, aka "blackprints", has been passionate about photography since a young age. When she started her Instagram account in 2009, she never imagined it could become a source of income for her. Today, she's grown her channel to over 87K followers and has been featured by Instagram as an account to follow. We met up with her in NYC and she let us know the inside scoop on all things Instagram.

Q: When did you first start posting to Instagram?
I want to say 2009? When I got my first smartphone, an Android something or other. Haha. My Instagram was pretty grainy and horrendously filtered for the first few years.

Q: Do you remember the first photo you posted?
No actually! I’ve deleted most of my old photos. The oldest one, I think I still have, is a photo I took of a billboard in Times Square that I was featured on for an American Eagle ad — back in 2012!

Q: How has your feed changed over time, and how would you describe it today?It’s just dramatically improved; it’s become cleaner, sharper and more professional. Also, the feed is definitely more interesting. My Instagram chronicles: all of my travels, shoots, interactions with celebrities and awesome clients, sponsorships and photos of myself. Scrolling through my feed, I can literally see how much I have grown and improved over time.

Q: What tools (if any) do you use to help plan, curate and/or schedule your Instagram posts?
I loosely base my post times off of the targeted schedule from the Klout app and the Iconosquare analytics. However, these times aren’t always accurate so it’s kind of a hit or miss. Normally I post twice a day, once around 10 AM and once just before 8 PM.

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Q: Any rules of thumb for the type of photos you post?
I try to keep my feed DSLR photos just to be consistent, but honestly I LOVE iPhone photos. I like just being able to take a simple food photo or mirror selfie and upload it right away! I’m not one of those people who’s super concerned on color schemes or filters matching on their feed. I just post whatever I’m doing, eating or shooting. I like to keep my Instagram really true to my life

Q: As a professional photographer, what are your thoughts on filters?
Filters are everything. Haha. I love VSCO, because with the WiFi function from my camera, I can upload and edit professional photos on my phone in seconds. This makes it really easy to post something right as I’m shooting it. I also like Afterlight because I can use the fusion function to create my own filters. I hate when people overdo it with filtering though, because too much can ruin the authenticity of a photo.

Q: What's your biggest Insta pet peeve?
People over-filtering is a huge one. Also, when people who refuse to post certain photos because it “doesn’t match their aesthetic”. Like come on! Just post whatever you want, no one cares what color it is haha.

Q: We laughed over the term "Instagram money" - and both agreed it's a real thing. can you explain the term?
Instagram money is the very real term for a substantial income that comes from posting photos. It’s crazy, people are out here making yearly salaries by advertising for brands on Instagram. I definitely make a good amount of Instamoney, but I have friends who are literally buying houses and cars off of their Instagram income! It’s kind of changing the way people look at Instagram, and it’s created a new niche of jobs for influencers with an audience large enough to advertise to.

Q: How do you connect with brands for collaboration opportunities?
I have my business email in my bio so a lot of brands reach out to me for collab work. But if I see a company I’m interested in working with I don’t hesitate to reach out to them either! A business or PR email is normally what I’d contact. I also have some lovely agencies (Collectively included) who hook me up with sweet collabs that they think I’d be a good fit for.

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Q: What's been one of your favorite Instagram collaborations to date?
I’ve done a lot of ads with Macy’s lately, and they are awesome. They are so easy to work with and all the clothes they send me are super cute! I also really like working with Uber because it’s a service I’m constantly using, they’re awesome.

Q: Without naming names, can you share about any projects that didn't work out so well? in your opinion, what makes a collaboration fall flat?
A collab will totally fall flat if both parties aren’t equally invested in each other. I’ve taken a few collaborations that didn’t fit my brand too well (and that I wasn’t very interested in) just because they paid well, but people can see right through that. Then it’s just a waste of the company’s money because my followers can tell I don’t actually care about the product, and it makes me look like a sellout. Definitely learned my lesson after that and I’m a lot more selective now when accepting deals.

Q: What advice would you offer to someone interested in monetizing their Instagram account?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to companies first! Also, your first posts may not pay well, but you will work your way up as your following and engagement increases. Also, don’t quit your day job; Instagram money is cool but it’s somewhat unreliable, so make sure you always have a backup plan!

Coffee with Collaborators is an interview series featuring the incredibly talented, creative voices in our community. Interested in having coffee? Email us.