Instagram is becoming an increasingly important tool for many businesses. In the beer world, it's also the platform being embraced by a new form of beer blogger, where words are secondary to photography and artwork.
Some beerstagrammers are embracing the opportunity with both arms (and a clutch of cameras, lens, editing tools and props). We launched a series focusing on Australia's most avid and creative last month with a feature on Sips & Sessions.
Here, Guy Southern finds out more about the photo blogger and ethos behind the Blue Doors account.
Bryn Price – Blue Doors
How did you get into sharing your beer love on Instagram?
As a part time professional photographer, I’ve always tried to combine my love of photography with passions outside. I’d previously photographed extreme sports for a UK magazine focusing on kite boarding as I was myself a keen kite boarder. So, it seemed a natural step, with my passion for craft beer, both drinking and homebrewing, that I start combining it with photography.
Instagram provided a nice platform for product shots and sharing what I was drinking.
What’s your typical setup like?
I’m lucky to have a studio space, so my setup usually involves a few studio strobes and quite a bit of setup time. I like to bring elements of the beer’s making, name, story or graphic elements into the scene to tie it together – in fact, that is the part I enjoy the most, outside of drinking the product of course!
Changes to social media platform algorithms can create headaches when it comes to engagement. How do you stay on top of this constantly shifting digital sand?
It can be difficult to navigate through the changes, especially for brands that are looking for wide reach. For me in a niche space it plays less of a role and I primarily focus on generating content that I enjoy and that I think will be engaging for my existing community of followers.
What Instagram accounts do you follow and what makes them special?
There are so many awesome Instagrammers smashing their game in the beer space. From Melbourne’s own Sips & Sessions and a variety of others from Australia and abroad. I’ve recently been enjoying the content from
Outside of beer, I enjoy the results from food photographers whose impressive flat lays and busy scenes are magical:
Hashtags are synonymous with Instagram yet have zero influence on Facebook. What are some of your favourites and what’s one of the weirdest you’ve seen or used?
I use #beertography and #instabeer frequently and follow those for content, but the key with Instagram hashtags is looking for hashtags with less items so that your content will gain more engagement and you are targeting your audience better.
The weirdest thing with hashtags is how they have invaded everyday life. I was shooting the other day and spilt a beer and my son yells: “Hashtag fail, Dad.”
A lot of businesses see social media as time consuming. How long do you typically spend on your posts and what could a new brewery do to stand out on Instagram?
My wife would say too much time, but I enjoy the creative process, from concept, to shopping for props to styling the set and editing the shoot with a cold beer in my hand.
My tips for any beer brand are being authentic with your audience, finding your style and having consistency through the feed.
How do you choose which beers to feature?
Some are sent to me by breweries, but most are just beers that I like to drink. I do like to get some of the latest release beers, so they have more engagement with my audience and as I often talk to my followers about the beer itself and if I liked it.
Instagram has the potential to engage brands beyond traditional marketing methods. What do you see as the benefits for beer businesses getting involved with Beerstagrammers?
Drinking beer is such a sensory experience, and the first sense we use is sight. From the packaging, to the pour, to how it looks in a glass. Instagram is that visual medium that allows you to engage with your audience and showcase more of the story behind a beer.
Brands working with Beerstagrammers helps to showcase new products and expand their reach as well as providing them contacts within the creative industries that have overlap with beer. From previous Instagram posts I’ve then helped brands launch new products, take brewer portraits and created photos for hanging in brewery bar spaces.
What tips do you have for anyone keen to, as they say, crush their Beerstagram game?
For photographing: Buy two of each beer you want to shoot – shoot the beer warm if you are happy to waste one; the head will last longer and you won’t get uncontrolled frosting on the glassware. Clean your glasses well; there's nothing more annoying than sitting in post touching up fingerprints, dust and marks – plus clean glassware is much better for drinking beer.
For posting to Instagram: Don’t focus on followers – find your style and aim for consistency and, finally, engage with your audience, they are taking time to comment on your photos.
And any Instagram faux pas people should look to avoid?
Stolen images are an ongoing issue in social media. Just because a photo is posted online doesn’t mean it is free to use. If you find out you’ve used a stolen image, reach out to the creator, apologise and seek a path to resolution – most things can be resolved quickly and in a mutually beneficial way.
All photographs published in this article, including the Doctor's Orders double-header at the top, are the work of Bryn from Blue Doors.
You can read other articles in the Aussie Beerstagrammers series here. If you would like to be featured – or have an account you love and would like to know more about – let Guy know. You can also check out Guy's beerstagramming at Goodtimes Craft Beer.