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”
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.”
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HOLD ON, WINTA. ❄️ I’m gonna let you finish, but SPRING is the best season of ALL TIME. ☀️ 💁🏼♀️Throwback to spring 18’ when I took some engagement pictures with this boy. 💑Now, here we are a couple seasons later and that boy has become a man that I now call my husband 🤵🏼 (a.k.a. babe, boo, and everything else cliche in-between). 😬🙈Everyone is always talkin’ about how we go through seasons in life. 💐 Some seasons challenge us to grow. 💪🏼 Some seasons are to teach us to trust when the storm is creeping in. ⛈ There are seasons of love, seasons of pain, and sprinkled in, there are seasons of joy and success. I’ve been through so many seasons with this one. 💙I’m ready for this season to be over. I don’t know what the next will bring. But I do know that in whatever life deals us, we have each other and ice cream. In that order. 🍦 #bff #marriage #couplephotoshoot
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.
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Met this angel of a human 12 years (!) ago today. We were at a nightclub on Spring Break. The last place on earth you’d expect to find your future @instahusband, but here we are. I was wearing a black & white striped tube top (ew) with tiny jean shorts and heels; he came up to my table and asked if I wanted to dance. I said “fine, I guess.” I thought he was handsome and he seemed nice, even though I couldn’t hear a word he was saying because the music was so loud. We ended up hitting it off and spent the entire week together. My friends were SHOCKED that I could tolerate the same guy for so many days in a row (and tbh I was even more shocked than they were.) Over the years I’ve grown to love him more than I ever thought I was capable of loving a person. Thank you @instahusband for approaching me that night despite my trashy outfit and bitchy resting face. I owe you one
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.
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|| As we celebrate our fifth Valentine’s Day together, I can only think about how I’ve fallen deeper in love with @sassyredlipstick each day over the past five years. I guess I never really knew that it was possible to love another human being this much. I knew so quickly in the beginning she was The One. That’s why I said the words ‘I love you’ at the end of just one week in person with her. Some may say that’s way too soon but that’s genuinely how quickly I knew. I only had to be around her laugh and feel the warmth of her soul for a week before I knew she would one day be the mother of my children. My definition of beauty became what she is. My previous preconceptions of what a relationship should look like were exceeded by everything she brought into my world. She became my only and my everything. I haven’t looked anywhere but her golden honey chocolate brown eyes since then. She’s all I see. And she’s only become more divine with each passing day. She’s it. You’ve always been my always, dollface. || #myqueen #teamtripp #myvalentine #valentinesday #wifey #love
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.”
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We had a date night planned downtown last night, but last minute I asked @tberolz if we could cancel because I was too tired. He said he would much rather stay at home and cook for his girls. This little lady really takes it out of me some days! #BabyB #homebodies #athome
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.