KC Deane: Whistler pow slayer. Star of Voleurz films. Instagram celebrity. To date, Deane (@kcdeane) has racked up 6,130 followers and garners well over 1,000 likes on many of the photos he posts. How did he reach this level of popularity? We caught up with him to inquire.
SOME OF OUR READERS ARE PERHAPS UNFAMILAR WITH THE NAME KC DEANE. THAT BEING SAID, GIVE US THE QUICK RUN DOWN. AGE, HOMETOWN, HOME MOUNTAIN, ETC.
I'm 26 years old, grew up in Sandpoint, ID skiing Schweitzer Mountain. I moved to Tahoe when I was 19 and have been loosely based there ever since. I split time now between Tahoe, Bellingham, and Mason Mashon's couch, i.e. Whistler.
YOU'VE BEEN ESTABLISHING A NAME FOR YOURSELF WITH THE VOLEURZ CREW, APPEARING IN THEIR MOVIES AND ALSO IN THE STILL FRAMES OF MASON MASHON AND OTHERS. WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR YOUR SKIING MOVING FORWARD?
Yeah it's been great working with Voleurz the past few years. Shooting last year with Mason was super fun and we got some good shots. Not sure on plans to move forward to be honest. I would love to film with someone like MSP, PBP, or Sherpas, but it's tough not having major backing from your sponsors to work with bigger film companies. So who knows on that front? Other than that just keep shooting photos with guys like Mason Mashon, Grant Gunderson, Ian Coble… and keep getting photos published and keep filming with Voleurz. Either way I always want to progress my skiing year to year and the rest will come around.
Location: Myoko, Japan
OK, ENOUGH ON SKIING. THIS STORY IS ABOUT INSTAGRAM. I SUPPOSE THE FIRST QUESTION WOULD BE, HOW IN THE HECK DOES ONE AMASS 6,000+ FOLLOWERS? IS IT AS SIMPLE AS LIMITING THE PHOTOS YOU SHARE TO THE BEST OF THE BEST? IS IT THE HASHTAG PHENOMENON? TELL US YOUR SECRETS.[Laughs], oh man I've been getting that question a lot lately. I'd say it's a good bit of both. I think a lot of it has to do with quality of photos and only sharing the best. I mean, if the photo isn't that good then limit it to Twitpic and Twitter instead. The other is of course the hashtag. In my opinion why are you posting a photo if it isn't for people, friends, etc, to see? And adding hashtags allows people that have similar interests to see your photos. The last thing is Instagram is a social network, so be social. Check out other peoples' photos via your friends, followers, hashtags, or even the popular page. That's how I find cool photos and new people to follow and vice a versa. It also helps a lot to have photos popping up on the popular page.
Another thing I like to do that seems to help is editing photos using Snapseed which allows you to adjust brightness, ambient light, white balance, etc. Essentially the same as using Lightroom. And for horizontals and vertical photos get the app Squaready.
INSTAGRAM GREW FROM A USER BASE OF ONE MILLION TO FIFTEEN MILLION OVER THE COURSE OF THE PAST YEAR. EVERYONE HAS THEIR REASONS FOR LOVING THE APP. LET'S HEAR YOURS.
Well I guess the main reason is I like photos. With a photo it's quick and easy to see where or what a person is doing where as Twitter is just 140 characters. I mean, if a picture is worth a thousand words then that right there is easier than posting a tweet.
THEORETICALLY, ONE COULD CONTINUE TO GAIN FOLLOWERS AND POST BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND THAT'D BE THAT. WOULD YOU BE HAPPY GOING THAT ROUTE, OR DO YOU FORESEE ANY OPPORTUNITIES ARISING DUE TO YOUR INSTASKILLS?
Yeah, I don't know what would arise from having Instaskills. I guess I could go either way. I have had quite a few professional photog's tell me to get a real camera and start shooting and turn those likes into dollars, [laughs]. I do have an interest in photography though and would like to get a 7D and learn to use a camera. I was in Park City after Christmas skiing with Blake Nyman, Pep Fujas and Jen Hudak—we were all getting our Instashot of the day and it was really fun shooting skiing even with an iPhone. That really made me want to shoot with a real camera. But who knows? Guess I'll have to wait and see. Maybe it will lead to doing Instaphotos for Freeskier!
YOU CERTAINLY HAVE A PHOTOGRAPHIC EYE. WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?
I'm not really sure. Just seems natural to take the photos I do. I just take photos of what appeals to me and it seems that people enjoy the photos as well.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE PEOPLE TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM?
Man, there are a lot. Shredwise, I would say Sean Kerrick Sullivan, Blake Nyman, Jen Hudak, Chris Benchetler, Pep Fujas, Mason Mashon, John Collinson, JJ Thomas, Mr. [Cody] and Mrs. [Elyse] Townsend, Sage [Cattabriga-Alosa], Ingrid [Backstrom], Michelle Parker and also Stevens Pass and Aspen Snowmass have pretty good feeds. Non-ski people, there is Tuggywuggy who posts amazing pics from the San Francisco area, Regalphis, Voleurz, and Mustafaseven.
SPEAKING OF HUDAK, THERE HAVE BEEN SOME THINGS FLYING AROUND THE RUMOR MILL ABOUT YOU TWO. THINGS TO THE NATURE OF, "DID YOU HEAR? KC DEANE AND JEN HUDAK MET EACH OTHER THROUGH INSTAGRAM AND NOW THEY'RE DATING." CAN YOU CONFIRM, DENY OR SHED SOME LIGHT ON THESE MUTTERINGS?[Laughs], I guess I have to confirm. We met through Instagram because of mutual friends that we have through skiing. Instagram is nice because you can see someone's interests. Turned out Jen and I have a lot of common interests, so we started hanging out.
SHOUT OUTS AND/OR FINAL THOUGHTS?
Every time you post your lunch or excessive photos of your cat someone unfollows you. And I'd like to give a shout out and thanks to my dad for making me who I am today.
For more on KC, visit his website—http://kcdeane.com/
Want more on Instagram? Read our November '11 story, The InstaKing: See Chris Benchetler's stunning Instagram photos