A Short History of “Instagram Husbands” and What They Do

Last Updated on April 3rd, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Instagram Husband

When you have ever wondered how your favorite influencer always has a photographer ready to capture her newest outfit or vacation, the answer is easy: she’s got an Instagram husband.

When you were to draw a Venn diagram, the circles of “Actual husband” and “Instagram husband” would overlap for many successful influencers. However, a marriage license is hardly required to meet the definition. An Instagram husband is just the person behind the camera, ready to snap a photo (or 50) when the right moment arises all the time.

So who’re these Instagram husbands, and how do you know when you need one? Read on to find out.

A short history of “Instagram husbands”

There were blogger boyfriends before there were Instagram husbands. In 2014, Fashionista posted a story about “the camera-wielding boyfriends behind most famous fashion bloggers.”

As the Fashionista article observed, “Among the most famous bloggers today, it’s nearly impossible to discover a successful blog that doesn’t have a boyfriend attached to the business.”

It made excellent sense: romantic partners are often around to capture these photogenic occasions. The rationale for the fashion bloggers was that they were more affordable than a pro photographer, and could take direction. Even more importantly, they knew their subjects better than anybody else.

Those qualities of a photographer became even more beneficial with the rise of Instagram. Who better to doc all those natural, spontaneous moments that perform well on the platform than your romantic partner?

The blogger boyfriend evolved, like a Pokemon leveling up. And a new term for their role went mainstream because of a 2015 viral video, “Instagram Husband.”

“When most of our wives began discovering success in this industry with companies that actually required husbands to become more involved, that video was the only basis that most Instagram husbands must base our new identity off of,” said Jordan Joseph Ramirez, partner of influencer Dani Austin and host of the Instagram Husband podcast. “Even today, people think all we do is take photos.”

Overcoming the “Instagram husband” stigma

For as long as the phrase “Instagram husband” has been circulating, it’s been used as a punchline. No man wants to be like the depressing men in the viral Instagram husband video, unable to even sip their latte without taking a photo first.

That video was made by a real-life Instagram husband, Jeff Houghton, and features him and his wife. Houghton has said that he did not mean the video to be “a statement on gender roles,” however, it isn’t a flattering depiction. The idea that a guy may enjoy taking his partner’s pictures, or that he may care about her happiness and success, is not a part of the skit.

This concept is changing, in part because Instagram husbands are becoming more visible. While blogger boyfriends usually maintained a low profile, Instagram husbands make frequent appearances on the platform.

Influencers chronicle their lives on the platform. They share pictures of their homes, workout routines, pets, and holidays. So, of course, they publish about their significant others, too.

Some Instagram husbands are even becoming influencers in their own right, like Robbie Tripp. He capitalized on his viral “curvy wife” Instagram post and launched his own public career.

However, plenty of Instagram husbands do way more than take pictures. As Taylor Lorenz wrote in The Atlantic, many are full-fledged partners in the influencer business. With the assistance of their husbands, many influencers have built large audiences, led successful campaigns, and even launched their own merchandise.

This development is possible because Instagram has evolved. It’s no longer just a place to publish pretty pictures; it’s also a launch pad for brands and companies. Likewise, many influencers began their account as a fun hobby, however, have grown it into a career.

As the platform has changed, so too has the understanding of what an Instagram husband does—at least a little bit. So what does an Instagram husband really do behind the scenes?

The life of an “Instagram husband”

Ramirez, who interviews other Instagram husbands for his podcast, says there is lots of variation.

“Some hold onto their full-time jobs and so are confined mainly to taking photos, being loosely involved, and just being emotionally very supportive of the chaotic lifestyle that comes with blogging,” he wrote. “Other Instagram husbands are definitely more involved in the enterprise side.”

Thomas Berolzheimer, the Instagram husband behind @galmeetsglam, is on the more involved side. “I’m involved in overseeing how our firms operate, particularly on the financial and strategic sides. But I also wear the hat of a primary photographer, oversee site design and growth and new business growth, as well as contribute content once in a while.”

While Instagram husbands are a modern convention, the marriage-and-creative-business partnership is nothing new.

Famous literary couples like Vladimir Nabokov and his wife Vera, or Virginia Woolf and her husband Leonard, split their labor the same method. One partner concentrates on creative efforts, and the other holds everything running easily behind the scenes.

“While many Instagram husbands are involved in running the enterprise, one of the most essential aspects, in my opinion, is being the go-to person for help, advice, and encouragement,” wrote Berolzheimer. “It’s challenging to run an enterprise where one person is the ‘product.’”

In part, that challenge is because of harassment. Many influencers have spoken out about being harassed on the platform. As an influencer’s audience grows, so does her likelihood of attracting trolls.

While a professional photographer might take amazing pictures, a trusted partner is also there for support when dealing with critical comments or bullies.

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