The Instagram Dark and Moody Photo Series
May 14, 2020Social Media
I have to start out by saying...
Image 28-39 from the Dark and Moody series.
to everyone following the Digital Food Works account on Instagram
— you are all simply the best!!! You inspirit the concepts, the planning, and the very photos that I'm posting on the account.
Just a little over than seven months ago, I started posting a series of photos on Instagram that I was unofficially calling "the dark and moody series". I had planned to only stay in this one design aesthetic for a couple of months, and then move into some more "wintery" things — but time got away from me... and I ended up staying with the "dark and moody" food photos for more than half a year!
In that time, I've posted 39 photos and hit some really amazing milestones on Instagram… and it's all thanks to everyone following the DFW account! I love hearing form everyone so much in the comment section — and even though we're all in different parts of the world, we can all understand and relate to a single photo — sometimes, even without speaking the same language!
Image 13-27 from the Dark and Moody series.
The "dark and moody" series started on October 31st, 2019 with three photos from a Hellmann's recipe development contest (that I had won BTW, and "oh my gosh" on that one… but that's the subject of a different article). All three photos for the "Red, White, and Blue Pan Griddled Cheesecakes"
pointed back to the recipe on the DFW site.
The Instagram account had around 649 followers at that time, but I had not yet posted a photo that received 100 likes. I split the "Red, White, and Blue Pan Griddled Cheesecakes"
into three different photos and because it was Halloween Day (October 31st) I posted the Blue Griddled Cheesecake and called it a "Spooky Blueberry Boo Cake" (I do like naming things). Even though I didn't use any Halloween hashtags, that post — was the first ever to receive 100 likes, and 37 comments!
As I mentioned before, the series went way longer than I had originally planned! Instead of breaking into a whole new design style for the holidays, I ended up getting to do just three holiday themed images! I loved these little guys so much though, I added a new Holiday Photos
category to the photo portfolio section on the DFW site. It would be so cool to have holiday themed photos, for the entire year!
While I had plans to do an entire holiday section for 2019, I only managed to shoot these three holiday themed photos.
Before I get to the next milestone, let's take a look at the three images that were the least liked!
Out of the 39 image series, these four were the least liked photos.
The cinnamon sticks (while collecting quite a few comments) was the least liked photo from the series. Interestingly, the "Lemon Ricotta, Cheddar, Honey and Pistachio Cheesecake" received 91 likes, and there was a tie for third place… the Strawberry Griddled Cheesecake and the Allspice Texture photo with 92 likes each.
On top, it's a photo of Atole — a warm beverage that dates all the way back to the 16th century Mesoamerican period. On the bottom, is the most liked photo from the "Dark and Moody" series — Chocolate Drip on Cinnamon and Sugar Donut Sticks.
Now I thought for sure, the Atole photo was going to be the most liked image from the series. With 176 likes and 30 comments, it gathered likes quicker than any other image that I've posted! Not only that, it's a really amazing drink!
The most amazing milestone to me though, was the most liked image from the series… the "Chocolate Drip Over Cinnamon and Sugar Donut Sticks"
. So far... has collected 204 likes and 47 comments! At the time — that was about 23% of the account followers… which is just amazing!
The photo was actually a series of photos that included a lighting diagram, and pictures of what effect each flash was having on the final image. That article was titled "Four Lights, Donut Sticks, and a Drizzle of Chocolate Sauce"
, and can be found by clicking the title. Even if you don't read the whole article, there's some cool photos in it, including a little comparison slider that shows the difference between just using one flash and all four flashes.
I was a little apprehensive about staying in one style for such a long period of time, but I feel much better about the series than the "Light, Dark, Light, Dark"
pattern that I was trying to adhere to prior to this one.
Being a commercial photographer, I don't want to pigeonhole myself into a single "filter-like" style. I know, I know… all the "pro photo blobbers" and photography courses for sale will tell you the first thing you need to do is develop your style.
I think rather than being known as "that guy that shoots airy morning stuff" or "dark and moody stuff" — I want the "style" I put out there to just be "good, clear, clean, sharp, solid images — without much fuss, quickly". I'm not sure that's a "style" — but it's a dang good reason to consider me for your next project.
That being said — I felt the "Light, Dark, Light, Dark"
pattern was a little too wonky when looking at the grid. The stuff just seems all over the place, color and tone wise.
Even though there were many different angles, subjects, and styles during the "Dark and Moody" series… they all seem to belong together in the same group. However, I still feel like 24-30 images is a better "style grouping" number for Instagram… considering I'm only posting 1.2 images per week.
It's going to be interesting to see what happens with the "like, follower, and comment" numbers next — when switching to a more "Spring and Summer"... brighter, and lighter series of photos. Were some of the followers only following and liking because they enjoy seeing the "dark and moody" photos? Only time will tell!
Image 1-12 from the Dark and Moody series.
I'm going to close this article in the same way I've closed the other "Instagram Recap" articles… with some general stats. But these really aren't scientific or absolute… they're just a reference as to how this one DFW account has been progressing.
This group of 39 "Dark and Moody" images resulted in a 38% increase in followers over the course of about 180 days.
The average number of likes per photo was 123 (4,822 total likes divided by 39 photos).
The average photo "like to follower ratio" was around 16% (i.e. for every 100 followers, 16 followers "liked" or interacted with the image). That's up 4% from the previous "Light, Dark, Light, Dark"