The Real Instagram Husbands of Washington, DC

If you spend time in Georgetown or hang around The Shay, then you may have seen them. They’re lurking by brick walls, iPhone or camera in hand, ready to get the shot.

They’re DC’s Instagram husbands.

About a month ago, comedy talk show The Mystery Hour released a spoof video on their Youtube channel titled “Instagram Husbands.” The under-three-minute video sums up what it’s like for the weary husbands everywhere who take their wives’ Instagram and blog photos: “I’ve had to delete all the apps off my phone just to make room for more photos,” says one. “We used to eat our food, now we just take pictures of it,” says another.

Through their thousands of Instagram followers, brand collaborations, and media features, Washington’s lifestyle bloggers are constantly in the spotlight. But since they rely on photos taken by their husbands, we thought it was time to shine some limelight on the men behind the cameras. DC’s Instagram husbands have certainly watched many a latte grow cold before them, but they’re also real men–whose careers range from small business owner to speech writer–who have turned themselves, under their wives’ coaching, into street style photographers. 

Shawn Garman

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Photograph courtesy Julien Garman.

Husband of: Julien Garmen of It’s Julien, @juliengarman

Shawn’s thoughts on blogging: “As a small business owner, it’s really cool to see bloggers supporting local businesses. I know a lot of people are in it for the commissions, which is fine, but there’s something awesome about supporting local and helping those businesses grow through organically sharing about them.”

Shawn’s approach to photography: “Besides taking a ton of photos to make sure Julien likes one, I try to catch her at just the right moments–her candid, unplanned ones are always my favorite.”

Julien on working together: “I’d love to say it’s easy all the time–it’s not. Does he get annoyed when I make him wait to eat that french toast so I can snap the perfect ‘gram? Definitely. Does he love standing out in the cold waiting for me to strike the perfect pose? Absolutely not. But we make it happen!”

James Pan

Photograph courtesy Holly Pan.

Husband of: Holly Pan of Petite Flowers Presents, @petiteflowerpresents

James on his photography skills: “I have no innate interest in photography. I am just a monkey with a finger. I do have a feel on what looks good but have primitive technical skills and little desire to improve.”

Holly on how they get the shot:  “The way we work is I would first take a ‘sample’ picture of how I should be positioned using him as the model (as shown in the photo of him here), then we switch places. It is the most direct way and the easiest to communicate instead of a ton of descriptions of which he cannot and will not try to understand.”

Holly on trusting James’ eye: “After the first year of working on photo shoots together, I no longer check every single shot he takes but trust that he’d get what I want, he always does and sometimes surprises me with better.”

Braden Preston

Photograph courtesy Tammy Preston.

Husband of: Tammy Preston of A Loyal Love, @aloyallove

Braden on his photography: I don’t really consider myself a photographer, but I really enjoy taking pictures of Tammy.”

Braden on blogging: “I like being a part of something that she loves (her blog), and I’ll use any excuse to spend more time with her.”

Tammy on working with him:My husband, Braden, is the only photographer I can completely be myself around, and after years of working together, he knows the kind of shots I like. Though, if I want something very specific I’ll show him an inspiration image, or I’ll take a picture of him to show him how I want the shot framed. We consider ourselves amateurs and enjoy learning together.”

James Faeh

Photograph by Claire Loves Love, courtesy Lacey Faeh.

Husband of: Lacey Faeh of A Lacey Perspective, @laceperspective

James on his photography: “I’ve learned the 10,000 hour rule certainly applies to photography. We shoot almost exclusively outside in a busy city where you are constantly fighting minute to minute changes in lighting, dodging pedestrians and cars, and dealing with large temperature swings. You have to be able to know how to quickly get what you need before the timing window closes each day. And our images are light-years better in quality than when we started primarily because we’ve done this so many times already.”

Lacey on working together:Getting creative with the photography has really become our favorite part. There has, of course, been arguments and frustrations when it comes to a difference in creativity or just after a long day of work, but we always seem to come together after we hit a stride.”

James on compromising: “While I’m just going for quality images, she’s thinking about digital layout, editing, commercial opportunity, what details brands that she partners with will focus on, and she knows her target audience readership and what they want in an incredibly specific way. So I really tend to follow her lead in terms of what she wants overall for each shoot.”

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.