Instagram has become one of the hottest social media platforms on the market with over 400 million monthly users from around the world. I was a late adapter to Instagram because it took me awhile to figure out exactly how I wanted to use it. When I first started using Instagram, I posted everyday pictures from my iPhone similar to what I share with my friends on Facebook. Quite frankly, I found it rather uninterestingΒ so I didn’t use it much until this past October when I decided to give it a try again. I had attended a travel blogging conference and all the talk was about Instagram and how it is becoming the platform for travel, photography and lifestyle bloggers. I was interested in learning more.

I realized that I could use Instagram in a different, more fascinating way. As an extension of my view of the world, through my third eye. Instead of showing pictures of the kids or what I ate for dinner, I decided to take Instagram more seriously and use it as an expression of my creative energy. To work my photos and make them beautiful. To show my passion for seeing and exploring the world.

I went back and deleted almost all my old Instagram photos and started anew. I decided I would only post my best work, photos that inspire me and hopefully inspire others. I also would only follow those other Instagrammers that I adored and loved their work. These people could help me learn to be a better photographer.

So, why do I love Instagram? Because it inspires me to see beauty in different creative ways. It allows me to be an armchair traveler or photographer and lookΒ through others photographers work who inspire me. It also pushes me to work harder at my own photos and to take chances. I don’t just click away anymore without thinking and publish a post. Instead, I take my time and really think about a photograph and the feelings I want to evoke when looking at it.

Here are a few of my latest creations.

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, BoliviaCondoriri Valley, Bolivia

Condoriri Valley, Bolivia

I was happily surprised to receive a notification in my inbox congratulating my tiny Instagram account for being part of this list. “20 incredible Instagram images from travel photographers” by FlipKey, a division of TripAdvisor. Although it only brought in a few more followers, I felt really good about someone finding my account and liking what I do.

Marseille, France

Marseille, France

I may not have a ton of followers but I love creating on Instagram. It is so much fun!

Granada, NicaraguaGranada, Nicaragua

Do you Instagram? If so, let me know your account and I will check it out. I’m @thirdeyemom.Β 


    1. Yes, I saw you on there and followed you Debra! I LOVE your photos of Italy so it is great for me to see them there, and undoctored too. I still prefer the blog. I love to write and I love to read, but for just looking at photos I like Instagram. I find that if I follow just a few accounts that it doesn’t take up too much time and I enjoy looking at photos of travel as it stirs my wanderlust! πŸ™‚

  1. What a timely post for me Nicole. I feel very behind the times with regard to social media, I don’t have an Instagram account but must admit that I’ve been wondering lately whether I should get one or not, whether it would serve me any purpose. After reading your post I’m thinking that I should look more closely into it. Oh, and these are stunning photos. You really do have a remarkable eye for the extraordinary.

    1. Thanks Miriam! Yes, it is hard to add more social media into ones life but if you curate your account well and only follow those you want to see, it is worth it. I probably only spend about 15 minutes a day on it but I love looking at it and also playing with my photos!

      1. I only have a personal page. Considered starting one just for my blog but decided against it I share some of my posts there. Next time I’m on I’ll search you.

      2. Thanks for following me there Miriam! I ended up creating a page because I noticed names I’d never heard of were asking to friend me on my personal page. I realized it was from my blog so I started the page. I also have a FB page for me under Nicole Melancon – Minneapolis. Not sure how private you are with your account, but feel free to friend me there if you like. I put some of the same blogging stuff there but also pics of my kids. πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, all this stuff does take a tremendous amount of time Debra. That is why I pick and choose. I use twitter only for my social advocacy stuff and retweeting my posts but rarely go on it. I decided to throw Instagram back in there because I found if I carefully choose what accounts to follow, that I love it as it is a perfectly curated little photo show. Some of the instagrammers are phenomenal photographers. I follow all the National Geographic photographer’s personal accounts and then others that I like. I probably spend about 15 minutes a day on it.

  2. Hi! Thank you for your post. What a great way to use instagram and I’m glad you’ve found your niche.

    I recently took a break from most social media, instagram and FB included – and focused a little more on my blog and other areas of my life NOT on the internet. The goal was and still is to find out WHERE social media fits into my life and how I can use it beneficially, instead of as a way to waste time as so many do.

    I’ve been using my instagram to post everyday type pictures, but also as a progress site for my hooping hobby. I also love to write and or use inspirational quotes on each of my posts – with hopes that I touch someone with the words or make them smile. It’s also linked to my BLOG – which is the ultimate goal… To guide people here haha. So your post makes me think… How could I more effectively get people to click the link in my BIO on instagram instead of just following and stuff?

    My account is @TashaLovesLife – if you want to check it out πŸ™‚

    With love and light,
    – Tasha <3

    1. Thanks Tasha for the comment! I just followed you on Instagram. I agree, social media can be addicting and take up a lot of time. I choose my time online carefully. Most is spent on my blog and probably 15 minutes a day on FB and 15 minutes a day on Instagram. I like Instagram better than FB because it is just pictures and I love photography. I only use FB to keep in touch with my friends who don’t live nearby. Thanks again! πŸ™‚ Nicole

  3. Nicole, I am one of those reluctant ones who is ambivalent about taking the leap. It’s time, time, time. I will pay attention to your experience, and add it to my list of reasons to “just do it.”

    1. I can see why you are Sally. It is just another thing to do. Yet your photos are so extraordinary that I think you could find your niche out there! I limit myself to only spending 15 minutes a day checking my feed. If I follow a small amount of users, ones that I personally select because I love and am inspired by their photos, for me it is worth the invested time. I have been seeing some extraordinary photography out there and it has forced me to work harder. It is much different than the storytelling of my blog. πŸ™‚

      1. Nicole, that’s one reason to do it. The more one sees others’ work the more opens new ways of seeing and inspires. I’m giving it serious consideration. Thanks so much for your thoughtful response. How do I find you on Instagram? I’ll start to do more perusing of it.

      2. It takes awhile to figure it out and find those you want to follow. You can search under hashtags. That is he only hard part for me. I’m @thirdeyemom on Instagram!

    2. Sally you of all people should most definitely IG. Its quick and easy and so fun to go all over the world and no pressure! I don’t care about a niche . I post what makes me happy in the moment ! Nicole’s photos here are humbling my goodness !

      1. Yes Sally’s work would be spectacular in Instagram! Sally, let me know if you decide to go there. I bet you could create an amazing niche with your work!

  4. I’m definitely in the same boat. Instagram is by far my favourite social platform, although I’m not sure if it really brings anyone to my blog. I just love sharing photos of past travels and it’s such a good way to accurately research your next trip!

  5. If I send you my instagram ,Nicole, I had better delete all my photos first and start over too. It appears I use it to capture a cup of coffee as I went and looked at my captures. I need to rethink it, as you did! Mine is pretty zzzzzzzzzzzz, I’m afraid.
    Like a diary I guess.

  6. I am also new to Instagram (@TravelYogiBear) and exploring how it can be used as a way to connect to people I do not interact with through blogging. For me, the struggle is still finding my exact niche, as you mentioned you were struggling with initially.

    Your photos are beautiful, and that is one thing I do appreciate about their platform, as opposed to Facebook or Twitter…

  7. I didn’t know you are on IG. I am addicted and it replaced my blogging as a quick fix for posting photos. I really love it. I will say that it does NOT do your photos justice however! They are truly magnificent opened up here on WP. Bravo!!! ( I just followed you)

  8. Every time I read something like this I get cross at myself, Nicole (congrats, by the way- your photos are superb πŸ™‚ ) I’m just not good at taking photos with my phone. Do you download them to your laptop to edit them? I seldom edit photos I use on the blog, and you know I love the story telling aspect, but I do enjoy just looking at beautiful photos. I hadn’t thought of the National Geographic photographers. Good idea!

    1. I used to use my phone Jo but now only use my photos from my real camera. I edit them then email them to my iPhone and upload on IG. You don’t have to at all! You can just use your cell phone too which I do sometimes. I just get better quality photos with my big camera. 😊I love your photos Jo!

      1. This is where the technical world leaves me behind again. I didn’t even know I could email photos to my phone. When my son is home next I’ll have to seek instruction. πŸ™‚ Thanks, Nicole!

      2. Yes, I just email them from my computer to my yahoo account and open and save them from my yahoo account on my phone to my phone. πŸ™‚

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