The curtain rises: a girl in her best bib and tucker (perfect ombré hair, polished nails, a thousand euro designer bag) positions herself under a floral arch at the closest coffee shop door; her husbands enters the scene, camera in hand, and starts patiently shooting professional photos of her. He never complains. He works for free every weekend, though.
In 2019, this could be described as contemporary drama and is carefully performed in every developed country on a daily basis. The presentation has become so common, nobody raises an eyebrow anymore. After all, you know what they say – it didn’t really happen unless it is on Instagram…
This sort of post-modern philosophy seems to leave you with two options only: Being invisible, irrelevant, or endlessly working for that perfect shot that will make it to the Internet. However, for people making a living from blogging and social media, there is one choice only.
Some would say that a logical approach to the business plan must include photography budget (and they are probably right), but with a competitive market making more and more difficult to start a small company, most bloggers find themselves saving a significant amount of money by kindly asking their partners to give them a hand.
This, my friends, is the first act of an elaborated melodrama work that more often than not, develops into Greek tragedy.
On the weekend, I joined a friend for some last-minute Margaritas evening. While waiting for the cocktails to come, she commented on how excited she was about her upcoming trip to Santorini. ‘My husband is not that happy thought‘, she said inadvertently, ‘he resents the time we spend taking photos for Insta during holiday‘.
That sentence turned a red light in my head as I could not help but wonder: is Instagram affecting our romantic relationships too?
Intrigued, I made my research as soon as I reached home; unfortunately, the results look quite depressing in terms of numbers.
According to a study conducted by the International Currency Exchange (ICE), Brit holidaymakers spend 22 hours and 36 minutes over a nine days long trip taking snaps to post on social media. Yes, that’s an entire day. Nuts.
But let me share my own experience. When I first started part-time blogging last November, I knew my husband skills with the camera were essential. However, I underestimated how much time, effort and will it would take for him to help me – we are speaking about weekends and off days, some precious hours that could be used on something else, surely. Sometimes, the pressure of taking a nice photo that we can use for my blog can be slightly overwhelming too.
And this is when you need to establish limits.
For us, it is all about integrating photo sessions in our dates but limiting their length. On a typical day out we will spend one-hour maximum working and then the camera is packed away for good. If by any chance we don’t feel like taking pictures on a given occasion, we leave the equipment at home. That way we enjoy some quality time together. Once in a while, I will book a session with a professional photographer, so my husband gets some relief and I still have some pictures to use. As a blogger, these decisions might be far from perfect, but taking care of my relationship is a personal priority.
But what happens to those who become 24/7 Insta-husbands? How do they cope with a brand new demanding career that is so recent and frequently misunderstood?
Social perception on the matter is linked to issues such as Fragile Masculinity. For some, it may be hard to shift from a traditional system in which men were considered the main providers to a new role as career supporters. Those men might be ready to become professional assistants, photographers, and editors but society is still making fun of them (and the women who allegedly force them to be “trivial”).
Taking endless pictures of their wives/girlfriends? Is that even a job? (Spoiler alert: IT IS). It takes guts and a healthy dose of deconstruction for them to become the man behind the great woman. Even when it means to earn much more money, potentially. As for society? Well, only time will tell.
In the meantime, we can all support Insta-husbands (and Instagrammers) publicly by showing some respect for the work they do. Blogging might be a new industry, but people working hard in front and behind the camera are professionals and do deserve acknowledgment.
Do you think their job is a no-brainer? Well, I suggest you taking part in a little experiment: try to take a good picture (and I mean a professional one), then edit it, and oh, don’t forget to curate an entire feed that works smoothly together in the process. Easy-peasy, right?
After all, an Instagram husband would manage…