Shadab Shahid - Recently My Reels on Instagram Went Viral and a Few Crossed Almost 7 Million Views


I have worked with many leading names in the industry like Sunil Grover, Zain Imam, Randeep Rai, Parth Samthaan, Vikas Gupta, Niti Taylor, Abhishek Kapur, Ashish Bisht, RJ Naved and many more. 

It all started back in 2011 when I was in school, I found out about Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, I watched several movies and immediately fell in love with his idea of storytelling


Tell us about your background and what led you to start your Instagram page?

I am a 23 years old cinematographer and content creator. Recently my reels on
Instagram went viral and a few crossed almost 7 Million views. My content on Instagram is majorly based on humour. I have been working in the media industry for the past couple of years as a DOP. I have worked with many leading names of
the industry like Sunil Grover, Zain Imam, Randeep Rai, Parth Samthaan, Vikas
Gupta, Niti Taylor, Abhishek Kapur, Ashish Bisht, RJ Naved and many more. 

It all started back in 2011 when I was in school, I found out about Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, I watched several movies and immediately fell in love with his idea of storytelling. He had a different style of filmmaking which inspired me to see myself become a director. 

At the same time, I came across a very famous YouTuber, Ryan Higa. He was a comic YouTuber and a very good creator. I watched his videos and decided to start my own Youtube channel with my school friends in 2011 with a channel called MAASK PICTURES.

Things didn’t go as planned and unfortunately, we had to stop making videos, however, the process was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Unfortunately, It came to an end but things didn’t stop me. I kept on working on my video making skills by making music videos & short films, and later joined my brother’s company who is a well-known celebrity photographer, Sajid Shahid. I am now a known director of photography in the fashion industry. 

I have worked with many leading names in the industry like Sunil Grover, Zain Imam, Randeep Rai, Parth Samthaan, Vikas Gupta, Niti Taylor, Abhishek Kapur, Ashish Bisht, RJ Naved and many more.

I again joined Youtube during the pandemic and started making funny videos, and received a decent response. So, I uploaded my videos on Instagram as well. Things changed when Tik-Tok got banned in India and Insta launched Reels. 

Reels provided the exposure I was looking for, and I started posting frequently on my account. Things haven’t been the same since then. A few of my reels went viral and crossed almost 7 million views. I have a family of 23K+ on my Instagram and the love and support people have shown me has been a pleasant surprise.



If you were to start in your industry now, what would you do differently?

I have had a few great learning during my short journey and looking back I would take these things into account while growing my account.

  • As a creator one thing that has helped me build an audience is engagement. I started doing live streams, Q&A sessions and posting relatable content and that has enabled me to build a relationship with my audience. Going forward I would like to be not only a funny creator but someone who connects with his audience.

  • In the beginning, I was not as regular with posting content frequently. With time, I have realised that regularity and patience provide returns in the long run. I have started posting content regularly and have tried different things to understand the type of content my audience prefers.

  • I have realised the importance of using analytics to my advantage. I now observe the various metrics that Instagram provides and post content accordingly. I now understand when my audience is most active and I try to connect with them accordingly.

  • At first, my account was a personal account. People suggested me to switch it into the creator's account and the gains I have received are pretty significant. The creator account feature helped me to reach more audiences.

These are a few learnings that I would incorporate if I start again.



What are your future plans and how do you plan to scale up this?

As of now, my aim is to reach 50K followers by the mid of this year. I break my goals down into small milestones and my current aim is to cross 35K followers by March-end.

Posting content regularly and leveraging trends have provided me with good benefits in recent times and I plan to zero down even more on these aspects. The primary theme of my handle will remain funny and relatable content and I want to showcase my skills as a cinematographer as well on my account going forward.

I have a few collaborations and ideas in mind that would help me reach even more audience. I plan to maintain the engagement with my audience by doing live streams regularly, doing Q&A sessions with them and trying to talk to them as much as I can. Followers provide feedback and that is very important for new content creators, and in the long run, I have plans to promote my account and use the sponsored feature of Instagram.

Apart from Instagram, I have been working on some Youtube content lately which will help me grow my Youtube channel as well. I produce short skits and sketches for my Youtube channel and so far I am receiving a good response for it. My ultimate goal is to become a filmmaker. 3 years from now, I see myself directing a feature film.



Would you say that it is financially sustainable to be a content creator today?

As a content creator, I definitely see it as a financially viable option. However, earnings only through Instagram and Youtube might not suffice in the initial stages. Having a vast number of followers can get you a good amount of revenue for sure, but for beginners, this is a bit hard in the beginning. 

Like I said before, patience is the key, you have to be patient, people might like or might not like your content, you just have to keep making more and more content and eventually you will find the audience which will like your content. I plan to position myself as a filmmaker and utilise these platforms to showcase my skills, get feedback and input from my audience and hone my skills. 

Apart from organic earnings, collaborations, native advertising, brand partnerships and sponsored content can be used as additional sources of revenue.



How do you find inspiration in your daily life to churn out content?


I get inspiration for content by observing the everyday habits, reactions, activities of people around me. I also observe the content created by fellow creators.

I believe I have a creative mind and a funny bone. I have always used it to my advantage be it personal or professional life. I always look up to things in a different way, I see it as content, I think about it multiple times until something comes to my mind. I am a DOP and a content creator so observing things helps me in multiple ways.

During my daily routine, I am working during the day and in my free time, I like to watch Netflix and other OTTs, which eventually help me in my professional life. Many of my videos are inspired by daily life situations, either they have happened with me or somebody has shared their experience. 

I am a good observer and I feel that as a content creator observing things will always help you in producing good content.


Interviewed by - Divye Satija

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