HOW @nickgruber7 GREW HIS ACCOUNT BY 82% IN 4 MONTHS! I want you to meet Nick Gruber – known on Instagram as @nickgruber7 [follow here]. He is a skim, skate, and surf photography/videographer from Delware. He is known for his unique style, combining vintage found footage, off-kilter camera composition, and obscure audio samples to set a tone and tell a story. His account is full of intricate edits and compelling photographs. We might be a little biased because he is TwinFin’s cinematographer – but his account is f-ing awesome! He is an account where you look forward to his daily posts. Gruber was able to grow his account by 82% in 4 months, so we thought it would be awesome to sit down with him and get the inside scoop and find out his secrets!

  • For you what makes a good Instagram photo? It’s something that when you’re scrolling through your timeline makes you stop for a second. Also, if it’s compelling on more than one level. It’s tough to do anything different in this day in age, but you want to at least make it look like it is. Try to do something that’s a little bit new, there are tons of ideas out there that can be tweaked.
  • Describe your aesthetic? Why did you choose that? Colorful. but I also like black and white too. I don’t want my whole timeline to be black and white, so I do 1 every 4 photos b&w. Some may think that doesn’t look good or ruining the “theme”, but I like it. I think it’s important to have it all squared up or not. I prefer the squared up option in the new update. Yeah, it doesn’t square it up in the thumbnail, but I think that you are able to see more of the detail. Consistency is key.

How do you think you were able to grow your audience so quickly? I started playing the game, as they call it, as I call it. I started hashtagging, taking into consideration what I liked and didn’t like from other accounts, also adding video to my feed. I started taking my account and making it less about me and more about other peoples talent, but my video and photo work. So, when you come to my account you’ll see the groms from dewey, other locals, or whoever is out there that day. I have the footage, why not make them an edit. Then in turn, they share it, give me video cred, and now all of their friends are exposed to my work. I know personally, when I see someone else give someone video credit, and its a well made, cool video, I’ll go click on that person, check them out, & give them a follow if I like their stuff. Plus, people come to my account knowing that they won’t see all pro’s, or only the best of the best, or only me. Did you start out as a surf, skate, skim account? No. I started my account my sophomore year of college, right around the time I was getting into photography. I think my first photo was a picture of a mushroom. It got like two likes, maybe, probably didn’t. [Besides that] I was taking pictures of things I saw other people were on Instagram + random things that amused me. They’d only garner a few likes, if that. I was not taking the gram game seriously.

Do you have a hashtagging technique? There is a right way and a wrong way to hashtag. I mean you could hashtag very broad & generic things like, ‘#photo’ or ‘#photooftheday’. Those big hashtags are cool, but using them makes you a little fish in a big sea. So you want a mix of well known and smaller hashtags. With the new update it tells you how many people are using that hashtag. I usually aim for that 10,000 range, because that’s enough people where you’ll get noticed but it’s not an absurd amount of people that you’re just going to get skipped right over. What are your top 5 hashtags you always use? #gopro #goprowaveshots #skimboarding #delmarva #eastcoast || I use go pro because all of my wave shots + video are shot with a Go Pro & also I like to localize my stuff. Especially if you’re in business, you want people in your area to get on board with your stuff. The people who are going to like it most, are people who recognize the places & connect with them. It’s also probable that you could form a business relationship with them.
Have you ever received any tips you find useful on Instagram? I was talking to a friend of mine about my Instagram account and he said, “sometimes, I’ll get lost in an Instagram video and I can’t tell where it starts and where it ends, & if I re watched it.” I like to make my videos come full circle – I start and end it with the same overlay sometimes. It’s cool because if your followers can’t tell when it starts/ends & are hung up on it for a while & watch it once or twice, they are more likely to press that like button. Whether it’s on purpose or not. Has growing your account led to more opportunities? What were they?  Yes. I get DM’d more about business now than I do to my actual email it seems. People are always asking me if I’m free to shoot or if I could make them an edit. Which is cool. One specific opportunity I got was this summer. I got offered to go to THE VIC in Laguna Beach with Team Pro Rider Max Wheeler, which was awesome! It would have never happened without Instagram. I was in waves, in a place I always dreamed of going, taking shots of Pro’s I would sit home and watch growing up, and people I looked up too. Now I was making them edits. It was crazy!
Have you deleted earlier posts? Abso-fruitly not. If someone wants to take the time to scroll back to the beginning of my account, they can see my absurd posts. What’s your favorite picture from your earlier feed? I’d have to say Billy Mays Maize Maze FullSizeRender-5
To find more of this awesome content go follow @nickgruber on instagram & subscribe to TwinFin Media on Youtube!