One summer I grew sweet peas from seed.
They shot out from the earth like fairytale beanstalks. Two foot, three – outgrowing their netting until they flopped over the fence into next door’s garden.
Turns out you have to pinch out the ‘growing tip’; if you don’t reign them in, they keep on spiralling up and don’t get around to making flowers.
It’s a pretty good analogy for Instagram, I think, especially when we get our focus wrong. Sometimes we put so much energy into growth that we forget to let ourselves bloom.
This course is an antidote to that.
‘Your most engaging photo ever’
That’s your challenge during this course – to get the most likes, comments and views you’ve ever had on a post. Not because you played the system; not because you spent hours commenting or following others in the hopes of reciprocation. Simply because your content deserves it – because your photos are wonderful, unique and inspiring. Because you’re in bloom, and the community is drawn to you like bees in the sun.
Oh, & flowers.
Ever noticed the magic appeal of flowers on Instagram? Whether in flat-lays or as just as a small part of a wider scene, floral photography brings in clicks, comments, likes and followers.
Bloom & Grow teaches you how to harness that power, and make it your own. You don’t need to be a flatlay photographer with a flowery feed; whether you’re all-white and minimal, moody and journalistic, or entirely travel based, we’ll look at ways to weave a little floral magic into your photographs.
Not that ‘flowery’ a person? No, me either, to be honest, but they’re really just a hook to get things started. The lessons I’ll be sharing extend way beyond the floral, into all areas of your instagram photography.
How is this different to your main course, The Insta Retreat? This course compliments but doesn’t replace The Insta Retreat. You don’t need to have done one to do the other – you can work through Bloom & Grow as a stand alone initiative, or before or after taking the longer, more in-depth course. Bloom & Grow is designed to refresh and inspire your photography to kick-start growth and creativity on your account through practical exercises. The Insta Retreatoffers more in-depth analysis, tools and understanding for Instagram, including a full overhaul of your visual style and photography and detailed strategy planning.
Who is this course designed for? I wrote this course with my usual client base in mind – bloggers, creatives, makers and small businesses, but it’s suitable for anyone who enjoys using Instagram, wants to improve their creative photography and thinks their target audience will respond well to photographs that involve flowers.
The course and advice is for personal use on Instagram accounts you run or manage.
How long does the course last? There are 4 modules – meaning if you tackle one module per week, this will be a 4-week course. However the course is entirely self-paced, so you can work through at whatever pace best suits you. Each module requires you to go away and think and take action, so to see real results, it’s best not to try and rush it all in one go.
When can I take this course? When does it start & finish? The course launches on 31st May 2017. Anyone who signs up before that date will get access to Module 1 on Wednesday 31st May, and then another module each Wednesday for three further weeks.
Anyone signing up after this date will receive Module 1 upon sign up, and all further modules on a weekly basis. Bloom and Grow is designed with Spring and Summertime in mind, and many of the tasks and challenges require you to be in a climate that has access to flowers while taking the course.
How much time will I need to spend on it? How long you spend on each module’s tasks is entirely up to you. To see real results, expect to spend around 30-60 minutes digesting each module and completing the written prompts, and then an hour or two at a minimum exploring the photographic themes.
Why flowers? Flowers are like catnip to Instagrammers – we love to play with them, and we love to click on them too. And why not? Bright, cheerful and summery, a floral photography is the distillation of why most people open the app.
The problem is, it can get a bit repetitive. What starts as one person’s garden passion project gets adopted by the whole community, and gradually diluted and dulled. So, we’re going to dig into the mechanics of floral photography; why it works, what it means, and how we can make it our own, whilst still employing that petal power.
Is this all about floral flatlays? Emphatically not! This course is about taking a fresh approach to floral photography, examining the conventions and creating something all-new and all-you.
What equipment do I need? Whatever you like to take photographs with – a smartphone or a camera – and a smartphone to edit and post to Instagram from. Flowers and greenery can be foraged or purchased for each weekly task – there’s no requirement to spend any extra on floristry supplies etc.
Where there are PDF worksheets to fill in, these can be completed via a PDF editor or printed out.
How long do I have to work through the course? You get a full year’s access to all the materials, via the log in assigned to you at launch, so you can stop and start as needed. You’re also allowed to save copies of any of the recourses for your own personal use in future.
“Working with Sara was such a relief after putting so much effort into my Instagram feed for so long, and never understanding why I wasn’t getting anywhere.” – Freya
“Full of little gems of information that seem so obvious, but I would never have thought of. My following has gone from about 30 to over 6.5k”– Helen
“I love the way you teach! I should know…I’ve only signed up to a bazillion courses in search of Jedi tricks (and the real Obi Wan), and have never had so much as an ‘aha’ moment but with each lesson I read in here I can hear my little brain going ‘aha’, ‘aha’, ‘aha!”
“My average like per post has doubled, I am achieving the followers goal that I set myself for each week and I am getting messages from people with accounts of 30k+ followers enquiring about my products and collaborations. But most importantly I’ve “meet” a lot of lovely people who have helped me along the way and given me more confidence as a maker/designer/instagrammer.” – Alicia
“The Insta Retreat is not your average e-course, it is an inspirational journey. Sara’s knowledge, wisdom and encouragements are not only practical, they are creatively enlightening. For anyone looking to grow in every sense of the way.” – Marion
“Without Sara’s advice and guidance I would never have had the confidence to grow my instagram. This year I’ve grown from a few hundred followers to well over 12k. And my (engaged) followers are growing daily despite the changes to the algorithm.” -Helen R
“Not only have my followers increased from around 500 to just under 74k, but I’m now receiving regular jewellery commissions and filling workshop spaces from amongst my Instagram followers.” – Emma
“When I first chose Sara as a coach it was from a curiosity driven approach where I wanted to see how people create truly engaging and inspiring content and how they build communities around their own personal brand. This expectation was almost immediately met. However what I got out of the coaching was so much more than I expected. Sara has an ability to think great and see potential in people. She opened the door for me to reflect over my talents and how to weave them into a meaningful life journey, something I wasn’t expecting would happen. Sara is a great coach for hard working people who feel that they have something within that they want to shape and set in motion, a vision or a calling. Sara words the coaching as Instagram mentoring but I’d say that she’s more of a creative coach who will help you stretch yourself, with the clever questions that require reflection and by generously sharing her own hard learnings. What the course has undoubtedly given me is clarity – I feel like I know what I’m doing, that I understand how everything is connected and what can lead to success. I now feel drunk on possibility, and excited that this is just the beginning for me. “ – Melia
“More than any other e-course I’ve taken, this one is filled with practical and purposeful information I could action week by week and see results really quickly. The Facebook group feels like a real community and I’ve made some awesome friends through it too, plus Sara encourages you with bespoke, personal encouragement at every step. Beyond Instagram, it’s made a huge difference to my blog and given me my creative mojo back!” -Lucy
“In the 6 weeks of The Insta Retreat I’ve already seen tangible results from my improved Instagram feed. My follower numbers have gone from 1000 to 2000+ and growing every day and my engagement has grown in line with those. I’ve had 4 approaches from brands (up from zero!) and am being found by the big Instagrammers I’ve always looked up to – and they love my feed!
More than these things, I’ve grown so much in confidence. I’ve always been inspired by Instagram, able to see the opportunities that can come from it, but felt lost and without direction. What the course has undoubtedly given me is clarity – I feel like I know what I’m doing, that I understand how everything is connected and what can lead to success. I now feel drunk on possibility, and excited that this is just the beginning for me.
If you’re lacking in Insta confidence, you want creative inspiration or just a little more direction, I definitely recommend The Insta Retreat and can’t wait to take more of Sara’s future courses.” – Kayte
Hi I’m Sara, and I’m not one of those corporate social media types.
I’m a photographer and creative with an (overly) analytical mind and a love of communication. I’m passionate about the internet as a gateway to human connection: that’s how I grew my Instagram following to 160k, built a blog readership of over 35k a month and was able to quit my job to follow my dreams full time. I’ve been featured in Stylist magazine, The Guardian, Buzzfeed and more, as well as talking about Instagram at events and conferences across Europe, and on BBC Radio.
I’ve been teaching Instagram and online magic for four years, and have helped hundreds of clients grow followings in the thousands, launch successful online businesses and make their creative dreams come true. You can read more of my testimonials here.
Whenever you work with me you will learn not only the how but also the why. We’ll focus as much on the creative process and producing beautiful, emotive, expressive content as any snazzy tips and tricks. Because it takes both of these things – it takes your heart and your mind. That’s when the magic really happens.