I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been interested in finding out who’s behind those city-themed Instagram accounts like @nyc and @sanfrancisco. I've also wondered how in the heck they were able to snag those usernames that are now impossible to get. To help alleviate my curiosity, I decided to create a blog series where I interview the owners of these accounts and ask them questions about their entire Instagram journey. And naturally, since we're headquartered in San Francisco, I felt the best place to start was by reaching out to Revfluence creator, @sanfrancisco!
Sasha Zvereva, owner of @sanfrancisco has managed to rack up over 173,000 followers by sharing breath-taking images and her love for the city. In addition, she also has another successful account, @sanfranciscoday, which has 23,000 followers and focuses on the best restaurants and shops in San Francisco. As a follower of her accounts myself, I was excited to learn how she got started and find out what keeps her inspired. Check out our full interview below!
Are you from the Bay Area?
I moved from Moscow with my parents when I was 14. Went to High School in Palo Alto, and college in San Jose. I graduated in 2006, got a job in San Francisco and moved to the city within 6 months. This will be my 9th year living in San Francisco.
How long have you had your @sanfrancisco account and what made you want to start it?
I started my Instagram account around 3 weeks after they [Instagram] launched. Since, I'm a designer, tech blogs were a daily read for me, and that's how I learned about Instagram. I've always loved photography and have taken black and white photography classes in high school, and was immediately fascinated by the process that happens in the dark room. Where all of a sudden, a blank piece of paper develops a scene you just photographed. So when I discovered Instagram, I was immediately obsessed, telling all of my friends to get accounts and bugging them to post daily.
Since, my name @sasha was taken, I decided to pick @sanfrancisco to have a theme and post photos from San Francisco. Recently, I started another foodie accounts @sanfranciscoday which has become pretty popular as well.
What are some cool experiences/opportunities you've had as the owner of @sanfrancisco?
The best things have been the people. Being able to meet other creators who love Instagram and photography and inspire each other is one of the greatest feelings for a creative person. I've built many friendships and met many talented people who keep inspiring me daily.
Also, recently I started meeting all the people behind local businesses - the chefs, the restaurant owners, shop owners, museum curators and really getting to know more about what goes behind the scenes of San Francisco.
Is managing your Instagram a full time job?
I recently decided to take a break from my full time UX/UI design job to fully concentrate on managing my accounts. As a designer you really spend way too much time doing design. My Instagram was limited to weekends and occasional sunsets, and otherwise, photography from my daily commute was getting kinda boring. I really felt like I did not have the time to get better and learn new things in photography/editing/videography.
What keeps you inspired to post? Where do you get your inspiration?
If you ask any of my friends, they will tell you that I'm always on my phone editing photos or taking pictures. Often, I feel like I don't need inspiration, it's just something that I'd rather do all the time and there so many beautiful moments in SF everyday, you just need to keep an eye and a camera on hand to capture the moment. It's an incredible feeling and I think this is one of the reasons all Instagramers always say the people they meet through Instagram touch their heart immensely. It's something about this unending mutual passion of looking at the world and wanting to depict your viewpoint, that unites all die hard Instagramers.
At other times, when I am looking for inspiration, I'd usually look for interesting posts in my feed. I'd take a screenshot and add it to a folder, that I often revisit, if I want to try shooting something differently. Pinterest is also a great resource, when you are looking for photography inspiration or tips.
What's your favorite place to go in San Francisco?
I love photographing a view from any hilly area of SF, whether it's from the top of Dolores Park, Alamo Square or Billy Goat Hill Park. My favorite sunset views are from Ina Coolbrith Park and Sutro Baths. And one more personal favorite, that I fell in love with since my first year in San Francisco is Fort Funston. It's a place where you can come for a leisurely hike along the coast or just sit on the cliff and admire the beauty of Pacific Ocean.
Have any accounts you're interested in learning more about? Share them in the comments and I'll include them in my blog series!