Sam Earp on sister Sjana, candid snaps & lifeguard gigs

While sister Sjana Elise Earp’s enviable yoga poses [and figure] may have seen her notch up over a million followers on Instagram, brother Sam ain’t doing too badly himself when it comes to the influencer space. With 110K to his name and a life fuelled by the next adventure, Sam is the first to admit that he’s “got it pretty good”.

Currently travelling Europe with fellow influencers DJ Tigerlily and Sam Evans Life, we tracked Sam down to talk everything from Sjana convincing him to join Instagram, to supportive bosses, to what camera equipment he uses.

How did you get started on the road to being an Instagram influencer? Was it your sister?!
It was! About two and a half years ago my sister was doing a bit of travel. I was working full-time and she said, “why don’t you buy a camera and you can start coming with me?” And I thought “oh yeah, makes sense!”. So I bought a camera, just taught myself the basics, and then three months down the track I got my first paid job. It went from there. We use to travel together on all of our trips, but lately we’ve been doing less as I like being a bit more adventurous and partying – she’s more into lifestyle and the yoga side of it.

Are you the person behind her lens?
Yes, a lot of the time! Sometimes she gets her friends or she sometimes uses a self-timer. When she travels, it’s mostly me or the self-timer. She sometimes takes my photos, but I’ve been traveling a lot with my mate Sam Evans lately. We did a trip for four months last year and we left again to travel in March until September.

So your life is pretty much as good as what it looks like!
You could say that! I do have a full-time job at home as a lifeguard at Redhead Beach. My boss is really supportive, so if I’ve got the time off and we’ve got the staff – I can take time away.

When you’re home and doing your full-time job, how hard is it to create content? Or do you use content that you previously shot?
A lot of it is content I’ve shot in the past. Newcastle, where I’m from, is a really nice area – so it’s pretty easy to get some nice stuff out… I just don’t have the time. Places like Stockton Sand Dunes and Nelson Bay, which is only about 45 minutes away, there’s lots of nice places to shoot.

Do you mostly like capturing what you’re doing or do you specifically go out to do Instagram “shoots”?
I try to keep my feed organic, so it’s a lot of candid lifestyle shots. I don’t ever really do set-up photo shoots. I’d much rather live in the moment and actually just shoot when I can. There’s a lot of stuff that I do that doesn’t get shot, but that’s part of it I guess – you’ve got to enjoy it.

When you’re not working, talk me through a usual day in your life…
I usually only have time off if I’m travelling. So I won’t have time off to hang around at home. We work five days a week, so I get two days off during the week. On those days I’m usually running errands and planning and editing previous stuff from the jobs I’ve had.

Are you doing a lot of branded work?
Yeah, I do sponsored posts. I guess that’s what keeps me being able to travel.

Do you find that the travelling drives your Instagram?
Yes! I do notice I get a lot better engagement when I’m travelling – I guess people want to be part of the journey. But I just try to keep it as my style and hope it works.

What kind of equipment do you use to get your shots?
It depends on what I’m shooting. I primarily started off shooting water stuff, so always had an aquatech [water housing] with me for my Canon 1DX Mark II camera. I always have at least two GoPros on me… it’s just handy for little shots and candid pics.

Two? How does that work?!
I usually have one in my pocket incase something happens quickly, and a lot of the time when I’m travelling it’s good to stick one on a car or scooter, or however we’re getting around.

The influencer space seems to be filled with people who are friends. Do you all hang out together?
We get this question a lot! I think because we all have similar lifestyles and similar passions, it’s good to collaborate and meet with people who do the same thing. It’s always good travelling with other people too, it makes it a little bit more fun. The social media world is really small. Everyone seems to know everyone and everyone is pretty nice.

Are you and Sjana going to meet up on your latest travels?
There’s a couple of trips planned later in the year. She’s getting more into yoga retreats and that kind of thing – I’m pretty keen to get involved with that. I can do the basics – touch my toes – not quite up to her level yet, but one day maybe!

And just lastly, do you ever feel the pressure to be living an incredible life just in order to show it off on Instagram?
No, not really. I’ve got it pretty good. But like I said before, I miss a lot of it on film and I don’t like staging any of the photos, so most of it is as it’s happening – I’ll just take a couple of photos.

All images: @samearp

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