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The Art of Instagram

By brian_adams 5 December 2014
  So you want to be an Instagram star, or at least expand your audience past your immediate circle of friends? Let’s be honest, they’re double tapping your posts because it’s the easier than telling you that Inkwell won’t hide your out of focus shots or that Hefe is a choice, not a default filter. Instagram may seem like a point and shoot app but it takes skill to create eye-catching shots that rack up hundreds, or thousands, of little hearts. Engaging your fellow IGers and increasing your followers is a science. Localiiz spoke with some of Hong Kong's best Instagrammers at #Instasavvy's opening night exhibit to find out how they create engaging posts. This is what they told us.  
Shooting through Another Phone: "Turn the brightness up on the phone in the frame to enhance the image. Make sure to manually focus on the phone in the frame by tapping the screen, this will automatically blur the background, making the phone stand out." – @alexnimmo

App Features: "Both photos were taken with an iPhone 5s (using a mini tripod) with the Slow Shutter app. The photo on the left is using the light trail mode. The photo on the right is a combination of motion blur and the low light function on the app." – @kulkimoose

Lighting: "To use natural light to your advantage while taking portraits, try to always take slightly underexposed photos by clicking on the brightest spot in your phone screen to adjust the exposure. Take more shots with slightly different exposures to have more options later when it comes to the editing stage. Why underexposed? When you have an overexposed photo, some details are burnt out and you can’t get them back. As for an underexposed one, you can always bring most of the details back when processing the photo by adjusting the brightness." – @igmirien, (Abdela Igmirien, speaking December 7th, #Instasavvy: Portraiture and Street Photography Workshop)

Selective Focus: "Find a focus point or area and create a composition that has one part in focus and one out of focus. This can be easily achieved on the iPhone by your proximity to the subject and also by using the touch screen to select an area of focus." – @mdkistler

Composition: "Instagram limits you to a square dimension. Although this can be a limitation, it also allows you to use a basic rule of composition- 'the rule of thirds' - by dividing your picture into equal parts and placing the main subject in one of of the intersecting boxes or sides. This allows for a more interesting composition for the main subject of your photo." – @jaruskr

Panning (left): "For a shot like this (left), it would need to hold the iPhone at a similar height of the passing vehicle, and then try to chase the similar speed of the vehicle and take the shot in the middle of the chasing. After you press the shutter, do not stop chasing until the vehicle is gone. For the editing, I usually like to use Snapseed to highlight the brighter part and make it brighter, the darker part and make it darker, so I can bring out more contrast of the shot. And then I'll put a filter from VSCO Cam and mostly choose more cold blue, or sometimes a dark purple tone for showing the feel of night time." – @xcanadian

Exposure (right): "Take a seat at the back of the monorail or train, and open the Slow Shutter app. Use a 2-3 second exposure and try and take in some of the curves during your shot. When editing, use the "reduce noise" tool in Photoshop Express to smooth out the photo further." – @edwardkb, (Edward Barnieh, part of the December 6th panel #Instasavvy: Meet Hong Kong's Top Instagrammers)
Capturing Action: (right) "Use Burst Mode (press the shutter down for a few seconds) for jump shots (#jumpstagram) to ensure you capture every moment. You can always delete the ones that don't work afterwards." – @lielaine, (Elaine Li, speaking on December 5th #Instasavvy: Building Communities with Instagram and and part of the December 6th panel #Instasavvy: Meet Hong Kong's Top Instagrammers)
Spaces: (left) "When shooting spaces my favourite filters are the HB1 and HB2 (Hypebeast X VSCO) VSCO Cam presets." – @jnjustinng and @Uber_HK, (Justin Ng, speaking December 9th, #Instasavvy: Instagram for Business)
Got any tips? Share them in the comments below and remember to keep tagging #localiiz! Be sure to check out the many free talks and workshops happening this weekend and next week at #Instasavvy.  
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