Mango Meets: Pretty Little London
Set up in 2015 by partners Andrea di Filippo and Sarah Santini, Pretty Little London (@prettylittlelondon) has grown to become one of the UK’s most popular travel accounts – dedicated to exploring London’s most Instagrammable destinations.
Following their whirlwind success and the overwhelming reaction to their account, which currently has a following of 357,000, one year later the pair set out to create their second page, Pretty Little Trips (@prettylittletrips), where they could document their global travels, capturing stunning content from the world’s top cities, islands and countries.
Fast forward to today and this dynamic duo have amassed over half a million followers between their two travel pages and personal accounts, making them fully paid-up members of London’s Instagram royalty.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with co-founder Andrea earlier this week to get the low-down on how to create ‘gram-worthy’ content, plus their top tips for setting up your own travel-inspired feed.
What first interested you when starting up Pretty Little London?
Pretty Little London was created with the intention of showcasing the most beautiful hidden gems in London, which could be an undiscovered neighbourhood, a typical British pub, a colourful café or even a pretty door. Many Londoners tend to only explore their own neighbourhood and the main tourist attractions, but London is much much more, and we want them to get out of their comfort zone and start exploring!
At what point did you decide to expand the Pretty Little London account and create a new account, Pretty Little Trips?
The expansion was quite natural, we realised that many of the concepts applied to Pretty Little London could be applied to incentivise Londoners to explore other beautiful places in the world. We want our fellow Instagrammers to travel, discover and explore every angle of the world, same as we want them to explore every angle of London.
Is this when you realised that you could potentially make a living on Instagram?
Our initial intention with Pretty Little London and Pretty Little Trips was not to make a living, but simply to inspire and document our travels. We realised we could make a living when with the increasing rise of demand, we had to start filtering who we wanted to work with, therefore brands started offering money in order to guarantee a place on our feed.
So, do you both run the accounts full time? Or are you still working/studying part time?
I quit my full-time job in May as I wanted to fully dedicate my time to Pretty Little London and Pretty Little Trips. I felt that having a 9-5 job was limiting my creativity and was affecting the quality of my work, plus I was often unable to meet with clients and PRs, which made my life really difficult and also meant that I was working almost 14 hours a day and catching up on work during the weekends. Now I am much more relaxed and productive, and after 5 months I can happily say that it was the best decision I have ever made. Sara is doing her MA in Strategic Entrepreneurship and Innovation at King’s College, which means she is acquiring skills that can be applied to our business.
In your experience, what is the most important thing when it comes to styling your feed and creating content?
In my opinion, it is important to create content that has consistent aesthetics and that is up to date with what is going on in the ‘Instagram world’. Also, you need to know your audience and what they like seeing or like to hear, a pretty café may work for a city guide account, but not for a motor company!
What are the top tips for photography and how do you get the perfect photo?
Patience is very important, you will not get the perfect shot with your first try! Also, being an early bird when it comes to popular spots can also be very helpful, as many of the ‘perfect’ photos you see on Instagram are taken between 5am and 6am. Also, check out what others have done before you and see how you can give your own personal touch. Be inspired, but don’t copy!
How many photos do you typically take before you get the right one?
We take between 20 and 30 photos in each location before getting the right one. We generally already have the photo ready in our head, so all we need to do is capture the right moment.
What are your favourite apps for editing images and how long does it normally take you?
We generally use Adobe Lightroom (the best on the market in our opinion) and Enlight. Editing time really depends on the photo. Some photos have perfect lighting and take two minutes, others can take up to an hour, especially when shot with low light and when objects need to be removed.
Do you have any major no’s or don’ts when it comes to creating imagery for Instagram?
As mentioned previously, be inspired but don’t copy other people’s photos without crediting them and don’t post their photo without permission if you a running a repost page. Everyone has their own style and ideas, that is what makes Instagram so great, so there is really no ‘wrong’ or ‘wright’ photo when it comes to creating imagery, just be yourself and post about what you love.
What advice would you give someone interested in starting their own travel-inspired Instagram account?
Start by visiting places you love (and maybe have already visited in the past) and give your followers tips on what to do when travelling to that destination, that is what the best cafes, restaurants and hidden spots are. Once you have established yourself as a travel Instagrammer, start exploring undiscovered places, take your followers with you through Instastories and beautiful content so that they can also feel as if they were there.
Favourite holiday destination you have been to?
One place you have yet to go but would love to visit?
Best place to spend Christmas?
Best photo you’ve ever taken?
This one is hard, but my favourite is probably an Old Fiat 500 while driving through Amalfi.
If there was one place in London you’d tell someone to ‘gram’, where would it be?
Your three top influencers you like to follow?
To keep up with all of Andrea and Sara’s travels, head to their Instagram accounts or their blog site here – http://www.prettylittlelondon.com/