This time, we turned to Laurence Vander Elstraeten, Roomin’s newest ambassador. She’s a Ghent-based graphic designer, but prefers to call herself a creative all-rounder. A 9-to-5 work schedule is foreign to her, as she freelances her days away with photography jobs, set dressing sessions, social media maintenance and developing logos and branding for her clients. Although she considers her Instagram account as an extended online portfolio, it won’t keep her from posting personal pictures. Curated personal pictures, that is. Her varied subjects show her wide-ranging talents and skills – a must to gain clients through this medium.
Scrolling through her feed is a cheerful experience, as Laurence loves colour, travels a lot, and has a keen eye for design and style. Eighties interiors make her heart skip a beat, and she’ll gladly take an early-wake-up-call when coffee and brunch await. Laurence’s clients appreciate her online transparency and personal approach, and by putting her daily life on display; she proofs a visual identity doesn’t stop after 5 PM. We’re extremely curious about her thoughts on using Instagram as a business tool, so let’s talk, shall we?!
ROOMIN: Show us one pictures that sums up your entire feed and tell us why.
Laurence: "That’s a hard one, but I think my interior shot of a seventies house with yellow curtains comes pretty close. It contains everything a like in a picture: a detail of something, a touch of colour and the fact that it’s interior related. This is what makes my pictures recognizable, I guess."
ROOMIN: What’s your most liked picture? Do you agree with your followers?
Laurence: "My most popular picture is the one where I hang out of a train in Sri Lanka's impressive nature. I semi-agree with my followers, because it was it was the most amazing train adventure I ever wet on and I enjoyed every single minute of it, but I personally prefer pictures that are more 'clean', if you know what I mean. (laughs)"
ROOMIN: How do you edit your pictures? Do you still take pictures with your iPhone, or do you only use your DSLR?
Laurence: "It depends. I don’t have a DSLR but I use a Fujifilm camera. It’s really light weighted and I love the fact that it has WiFi on it, so I can send my pictures directly to my phone to post them on Instagram. I still take pictures with my phone too, though, maybe even a bit too often. But oh well... If it’s the right time to snap something I don't think it matters which camera you use. If I edit my pictures on my computer I'll use Lightroom, but I use VSCO on my phone. I like to add some brightness, contrast and some clarity."
ROOMIN: What would you consider the best image in your feed, and why?
Laurence: "Again, it’s really hard to pick one but I'd pick the image I took for Roomin at Liz and Simon’s house. I consider this my best image as it's a good picture technically (I just love the lighting in here!) and because it fits into in the typical 'Instagram style'."
ROOMIN: How important is a well-curated feed for you? How do you keep up with it?
Laurence: "Before I post something on Instagram I want to see if it will fit in my feed. I use the app Later for this. I’m a graphic designer, so it’s really important to me that my feed looks aesthetically-pleasing, as it's like a business card that showcases work. So yes, you could say a well-curated feed is pretty important to me!"
ROOMIN: You have lots of different skills and interests. How do you manage to combine them so effortlessly on Instagram?
Laurence: "I don't always manage to combine them perfectly. Sometimes I fail, but that's okay. It's still Instagram, and using it for marketing your business doesn't mean you shouldn't have fun with it! I love all things visual, so I guess you could say that's the major constant in my feed and why everything blends so well together."
ROOMIN: What’s the best part about Instagram?
Laurence: "The fact that you can discover new places, people and brands in a really easy way."
ROOMIN: Which picture holds your fondest memories?
Laurence: "I don’t think I can pick one picture in particular, but in general my travel pictures are the ones that bring back the best memories."
ROOMIN: What are your five most favourite Instagram accounts and why?
Laurence: "@sofienoyen, because I love her beautiful take on the simple pleasures of life. @m_magazine, the official account of Le magazine du Monde. I like how they manage their feed so well and always put a touch of humor in it. @jessicavwalsh, because she’s an art director of NYC and I just love to scroll through her feed and feel inspired. @nathill, for the best architecture pictures. And last but not least: @porcelainhope, she always manages to take the best colourful pictures, even though she also lives in grey and rainy Belgium..."
ROOMIN: Do you have any advice for people who’d like to start freelancing and promote their work, or brands that are about to set up their very first Instagram account?
Laurence: "Don’t look too much at others first, but just follow your own style. Define what kind of feed you would like to have and do your own thing. In my opinion, it’s better to have a beautiful well-curated feed you’re proud of than having lots of followers but feed that looks like a dime a dozen others."
ROOMIN: Instagram has lots of fancy features, like Instagram Stories and geotags – but what would you still like to add to the app?
Laurence: "I think the search function of Instagram could be better. I would love to find pictures by using multiple hashtags, for example #barista and #paris, which would lead me to the best coffee spots in Paris!"
ROOMIN: Thanks for your time, Laurence!