An Interview: Matt Crump, Instagram King of Color

If you can’t tell, I’m a sucker for color. The brighter the better and I stumbled across a simply adorable hashtag #candyminimal in my Instagram safari one night – that’s when I found Matt Crump. One of my favorites pieces of advice for clients is to find a consistent point of view for photography and voice on social media and Matt Crump has his down to a science. His experimentation and perfection of a curiously colored world has lead him to be named one of Time Magazine’s Instagram Photographers to Follow and caused numerous brands to reach out for content creation. I recently had the pleasure of working with him at Fossil for our new Instagram hashtag launch #callingallcurious. It’s always difficult to get your audience to pick up on a certain type of content creation around a new hashtag so we thought Matt would be an amazing partner to show come examples of how our audience could create their own colorful photos. I had the opportunity to dig into Matt’s creation process and learn what forms his colorful life.

Matt Crump photo for @Fossil’s Hashtag Campaign #callingallcurious

An Interview: Matt Crump, Instagram King of Color

Q: The beautiful thing about Instagram is I could scroll to the very beginning of your feed to see the evolution of #candyminimal. When did you first start to consider this as your content style and how has it evolved? Was there an “Aha” moment?

A: I’d always been drawn to minimalism, but I didn’t just want to copy the minimal photos by the people I followed on Instagram. I wanted to be different somehow. So I started using super-saturated colors in my composition, and the few followers I had seemed to respond to it, so I kept doing it.

Q: Love that you spun the hashtag off into a dedicated account. Were you looking to start a trend? How did you find your moderators? Were they already friends or did they pick up on the #candyminimal movement as well?

A: My goal at first was just to have a unique style and create content that people liked—I didn’t realize it would become a trend. But when people started using that style in their own photography, I encouraged it and made the hashtag and the @candyminimal account, and I got to virtually meet a lot of friends that way. That’s how I met my mods!

Q: What is your content creation process like? Do you build up a back log of photos and schedule them or are you posting in real time?

A: I do build up a backlog! I go on trips and I shoot nonstop, from dusk to dawn, and come back to my airbnb and edit a few things for the next day’s posts. Then when I come home, I keep editing the trip’s pics for my daily posts until I have nothing to edit anymore. Then I go on another trip.

Q: How has your experience working with brands been? What was your favorite project and why?

A: I love working with brands, especially the ones that send me away on a plane to exotic locations! My favorite collaboration has been with Target, who hired me to take over their feed for a week as their #designCRUSH. They gave me tons of creative freedom and my work was exposed to a huge audience over the course of a week.

Q: What types of questions or requests do you receive from your followers? How has it changed your artistic journey to be an “Instagram Influencer”?

A: Sometimes when I go on a trip to a big city, I’ll ask my followers what they want to see and I’ll choose a few of their requests and go shoot them. That’s my favorite way to engage with my audience. Otherwise, I can tell what my followers respond to based on their likes and comments across all my photos, and I use this data to loosely guide my work. That’s why you see the color palette I use today—after tons of experimentation, I discovered that pastels had the most impact. I also noticed that my followers like beach scenes and palm trees, so you see a lot of that in my feed. This makes it sound like I’m some kind of data-driven robot, but in reality, everything I create is close to my heart—I only take pictures of things I like. Knowing my audience just helps me know what to post and what to keep for myself.

Q: Noticed your bio says “former award-winning art director”. Has this allowed you to retired from a 9-5 and focus on your own art? What’s happening for you now and what’s next in the plans?

A: Haha, I felt like such a tool writing that line. But it helps give insight into my past life. Being a successful art director gave me confidence to “retire” from the desk job—if I could make things for big clients at an ad agency, what was stopping me from doing it on my own? Right now, I’m working for Malibu Rum UK, creating content for the Instagram channel, and have a couple of trips lined up. What’s after that? Hopefully moving to LA and growing my brand.

Q: What makes an interesting subject for you? What’s your true favorite color?

A: An interesting subject is one that is naturally colorful with great guiding lines and curves. That way, I can do minimal editing and just pump up the subject’s natural color. And truly, my favorite color is pink! It the brightest neutral color. Think of everything it goes with—brown, blue, green, black, white. You can’t go wrong with pink.

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