Ad Age's "Creativity 50" 2014: Bethany Olson and Cory Staudacher - Insights
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Ad Age’s “Creativity 50” 2014: Bethany Olson and Cory Staudacher

by (Michael Sebastian)

2 minute read

Bethany Olson and Cory Staudacher are the vanguard of Instagram, where the Seattle-based photographers share stunning landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and intimate portraits of friends.

In fact, Instagram is at the very heart of their relationship and profession. The pair met through the social media platform, where they courted each other and, after starting to date, shared pictures of their budding relationship. In September, Mr. Staudacher popped the question. Ms. Olson said yes. And one day later, they shared the news with their more than one million combined followers.

But they’ve also used their Instagram cache to capture the attention and budgets of marketers. Working with talent agency Tinker Street, the couple has shot and shared pictures for Ford, Marriott Hotels, Warby Parker, Dos Equis, Nordstrom and Victorinox.

“The authenticity and beauty in their photography really sang to us,” said Dennis Pireta, Victorinox’s senior VP-marketing.

Mr. Staudacher and Ms. Olson said they push each other to create more compelling work. “It’s always better to have someone in your life that can give you constructive feedback and inspire you,” Mr. Staudacher said. “We are constantly teaching each other and growing when we work together.”

What is your creative process like?

Ms. Olson and Ms. Staudacher: Creativity is very much a messy process for us. It’s found in the routines and noise of creating. We find that the best ideas are discovered in consistently creating new work everyday.

Bethany Olson and Cory Staudacher

What is the biggest challenge to working on a campaign with a brand? How have you overcome it?

Ms. Olson and Mr. Staudacher: Working with brands on campaigns on Instagram feels very much like a new frontier. The challenge with any new space is making sure the brand or agency learns the rules of the community. Collaboration with all the brands we have worked with have been very enjoyable and positive. Working with our photo agent Jesse Miller at Tinker Street has been the biggest help to filter and curate what ad agencies and brands that we want to work with.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to carve out a living with his or her Instagram feed?

Ms. Olson and Mr. Staudacher: Curating your work is key. People and brands want to connect with your style and personal voice. They hire you on your experience and what you are known for. So focus on curating what kind of work you want to shoot more of and develop your own style.

What advice do you have for the amateur Instagrammer?

Ms. Olson and Mr. Staudacher: Be yourself. Take the kind of photos that bring you joy. Don’t get wrapped up in the numbers. But keep focused on shooting what only you can bring into this world.

From, 12-29-2014, copyright Crain Communications Inc. 2013