Murad and Natalie Osmann
Murad and Natalie Osmann Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The creators of some of the most iconic travel images on social media — Murad and Natalie Osman — took the stage at the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit held in Dubai on Monday, explaining how one image on Instagram changed the world.

Their ‘Follow me to’ project started off with an image of Natalie reaching back to hold her husband’s hand in front of a graffiti wall in Barcelona in 2011.

Soon after, they took the same shot in various unique travel destinations around the world and kicked of the project that transformed them into some of social media’s favourite travel influencers worldwide.

“After experiencing the ‘viral effect’ of that one picture, we received 200,000 followers on Instagram. It was not planned,” Murad said, in a casual chat with the audience.

The Russian couple, who said they stumbled on fame by accident, said their projects go further than spreading great photography.

“We have kept the identity of our brand and rejected around 90 per cent of proposals for collaborations with brands and only picked those that have a similar philosophy,” Murad said.

He pointed out that many brands underestimated the power of social media over eight years ago, while other smaller influencers jumped on the commercial train way too soon.

“It’s important for brands to highlight the pressing issues in our world today — their ads need to have a message,” said Natalie, who shared the stage with her husband.

The duo recently took part in a project called “Watch hunger stop” in collaboration with the United Nations and Michael Kors.

“It’s also important to highlight that influencers and brands should not only rely on one platform to spread their message but should also look at offline tools and traditional media — that’s what helped us,” said Murad.

Soon after their pictures went viral, The Osmans made it as the top story on the Daily Mail, ranking higher than the historical resignation of the Pope.

“We love to travel and share our vision, and our concept of ‘follow me to,’ is of my wife leading me to all the beautiful places around the world,” Murad said.