By Dan Howlett @DanHowlett85

MEET the First Family of Instagram who make money by documenting their day-to-day lives

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Videographer / Director: Alexander Ayer
Producer: Dan Howlett
Editor: Ian Phillips

Sarah Phillips and her kids Tom and Liz Eswein have around 1.6m followers between them and even their dogs are getting in on the act.

The tech-savvy family, from Manhattan, New York, snapped up the handles @newyorkcity, @realestate and @food and saw their number of followers rocket. 

Tom snaps an image for his thousands of followers

And now they work with brands to make their snap-happy lives more lucrative. 

Liz, a social media consultant, said: “A creative and successful Instagramer could probably make anywhere upwards from six figures a year."

Liz Eswein takes a picture for her Instagram account near Grand Central Station

Even the family’s dachshunds, Duke and Cocoa, have been signed up to the photo sharing website.  

Sarah said: “My daughter discovered Instagram and told me about it.

“I thought it sounded really neat and I had a feeling that it was going to be big so I jumped on and started registering names at the same time as she did.

Sarah’s husband Reed just cannot seem to match his family’s phenomenal social media presence or enthusiasm

“I chose @food and @baking in the early part of 2012 as I’ve worked in the food industry for most of my life.

“I just started @dukeandcocoa a couple of weeks ago and that has to do with my lovely dachshunds.”

Sarah Phillips poses with one of her creations, that she photographs and posts to her @food instagram account

However, despite Sarah’s husband Reed’s best efforts – he just cannot seem to match his family’s phenomenal social media presence or enthusiasm.

Tom, 29 said: “In terms of followers Liz has the most, then my mom, then me and then Reed.

“Actually Reed has less than the dogs, so it’s Duke and Cocoa and then Reed.”

The family’s obsession started when Liz, 23, saw a gap in the market around three years ago and encouraged her family to snap up valuable user names.

Despite making a great living through the site the family are careful to not let it come between them

The family is so obsessed with taking pictures that it takes precedent over everything else – including long suffering Reed’s dinner.

Reed said: “When Sarah and I go out to dinner it’s definitely different than before Instagram.

“After instagram we now need to find the table with the best light and I’m not allowed to eat my entrée until there are pictures taken. So it’s different.”

But despite the family’s obsession with the site – they do have strict rules in place about when they are allowed to post.

Mother Sarah Phillips and siblings Tom and Liz Eswein have around 1.6m followers between them

Tom said: “There’s a phone ban here - you’re not allowed to use phones at the table or in the living room but usually that rule gets broken.

“My mom is usually the person who breaks the rule even though she created it - so we kind of just follow her lead.”

The family, who live in New York City, make their money by collaborating with well known brands and guaranteeing them that a certain number of people will see their message.

However, they remain tight-lipped about how much their hobby makes them. 

Liz said: “Brands will contact me and say they have a product that they want to send to me.

The company sends the project to Liz, Liz takes a photo and the company approve it …
… then Liz writes the script or what goes with the photo on Instagram, the company approves that and then it gets posted

“They send it to me, I take a photo, they approve, and then I write the script or what goes with the photo on Instagram, they approve that and then it gets posted.”

Despite making a great living through the site the family are careful to not let it come between them.

 

Liz Eswein shows her Instagram post with more than a thousand likes in under 5 minutes

“Personally and professionally Instagram is kind of my life, added Liz.

“I do like to take a step back from it when I’m not at work but other than that I want my brother to be my brother.

"I want my mom to be my mom, I don’t want them to be my Instagram comrades but we do talk about it quite a bit but personally I kind of like to stop.”