She Flourished: Playfulness, Creativity and the Grid
She Flourished (aka Rabya Lomas) has built a booming Instagram following of nearly 6000 – in this interview we learn how hard work, a playful attitude and focussing on her photography has helped her to develop her unique style on the gram.
Name: Rabya Lomas
Instagram name: @Sheflourished_
Started on Instagram: 2015
Profession: Project Manager
Tell me about how you got started on Instagram and your Instagram journey
I started in 2015 – at the time I was capturing shots of cafes, family pursuits and I enjoyed doing a bit of faffing with flowers on my coffee table. Back then I was just taking photos on my android and using the Insta filter gingham dialled up to the max!
In 2017 I took things more seriously – I downloaded Sara Tasker’s free ebook and signed up to her Bloom and Grow course in the summer. I also got some mentoring with Dominique Davis (aka @allthatisshe). My confidence grew enormously from these experiences – my photos and my grid really sharpened up.
My photography got a real boost when I went on a WeBlogNorth photography course. I finally got out of auto on my camera and got so much more comfortable with my DSLR.
Doing all these courses was a steep learning curve all round. The only thing missing was I didn’t understand what my account was about. But that all changed when I did Sara Tasker’s Insta Retreat later that year which allowed me to figure out my theme and colour palette.
When did your numbers really start to grow?
I would say getting my first 2000 followers were just hard graft on my part. I had a few posts that did well around Sept 2017, coupled with being fortunate enough to be shared by some wonderful accounts here and there, which has also helped.
How long do you spend on Instagram each day?
More than I should – I often get into a scroll hole! And when I put up a story that always leads to a lot of DMS which keeps me on there even longer.
I probably spend more time on my Stories than in my feed. Isn’t that interesting? I think it’s the same for a lot of people now.
I definitely spend at least an hour a day on Instagram. In the morning when I pull up at work I’ll look while I’m walking to work and often post a Story on the way. Then at lunch, on my way back to the car and in the evening at 9pm. So actually, maybe I’m on there 2 hours a day.
How often do you post?
I post twice a week. The algorithm likes frequent posters, but in my reality I can’t do it. Although I take comfort in noticing that a lot of my heroes aren’t posting as frequently now.
Fridays are usually my days for shooting my photos – I create one for the weekend and there’s usually a leftover photo for a midweek post. Although that’s not always the case – actually this week I haven’t shared since Sunday and it’s Friday today.
I don’t have a bank of photos that I’ve archived. I know some people do this, but it doesn’t work for me because I fall out of love with old photos.
Have you got some tips for Instagrammers reading this?
Think about what your themes are. What’s your niche? Although don’t worry if you don’t have one. Maybe have a couple of things that reflect what you like. I have wood, grey and white as colours and I use my wall/my window as backgrounds and always have some outdoors shots. Once I knew the backgrounds I was going to use I could piece the overall look together. My theme is as playful and as beautiful as possible.
I really recommend that you only post your best work because you will feel crap if you don’t post your best work. I know the quality out there is intimidating, but try and be blinkered and make the art that you want to make. Go out and practise, you’re not obliged to share it. If there’s one out of the 35 shots you like then maybe share it. There really is a place for everybody.
If it’s about photography for you, play and share, play and share all the time. It’s the best way to improve and enjoy the process.
I wrote a blog post myself on ‘Finding the time to take pictures for Instagram when you’re busy af’
You can take an ecourse if you want to grow – you can pillage the free resources out there. Read blogs on the subject download the ebooks. And listen to podcasts – Lucy Lucraft and Sara Tasker’s podcasts are really good. This one in particular is great – it’s Sara Tasker interviewing Bookish Bronte on ‘Is it too late to grow on Instagram?’
Tell us about your upcoming retreat
It’s in August and it’s called ‘Playtime’ – it’s for anyone who wants to develop their creativity. I want to hold space for people to release themselves.
I’m so excited about it – it will be at my house in Disley. I’ll be collaborating with a photographer – covering basic photography at the beginning of the day and in the afternoon we’ll be using props and photography to explore some creative themes. I’m going to provide gorgeous food and drinks and good music to help get the creative juices flowing. Keep your eyes peeled as I will be releasing details on my Instagram and blog soon.
Who do you love to follow on Instagram?
Before and Again – Rida is my cousin and I’ve always loved the beautiful imagery she creates.
All that is She – Dominique for me embodies playful creativity, I’ll never not be inspired by the inventiveness and playfulness that the ATIS team bring to the gram. Completely joyful in every way.
Herinternest – Barbora is wonderfully creative and completely open about her processes and creative energy. I adore her.
Kutovakika – her name is Veronika and she’s been featured on Instagram 5 times – she wins Instagram! She makes the ordinary extraordinary.
Sara Tasker – I love her Instagram and she also offers free content and resources – when I started out I would just absorb her blogs and loved her kind gentle voice.
Hannah Argyle – I love looking at Hannah’s feed as she always explains all the settings she’s used to take a photo.
The voices that speak to me are these women. I can relate to them. They offer such a different way of absorbing information to the 20 minute powerpoint presentations I’m used to at work. Instead these women share lots of stories and anecdotes.
Who else influences you?
I love Liz Gilbert’s book Big Magic. All her story telling is amazing. I love her generosity.
Liz says that Art isn’t for the few. She believes everyone is born creative. Everyone can and should make art. Liz Gilbert is my spirit guide, I quote her on a daily basis.
I love people who make extraordinary things out of ordinary things. I love the ingenuity of their creativity.
The Slow Traveller also wrote a really inspiring article about photography being accessible to everyone:
Other Instagram Interviews
I hope this interview with Rabya has given you some insight into how to develop your style and photography on Instagram, if you want more inspiration you might also enjoy my Instagram interviews with Rare Mags and Susan Earlam.