- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: White Lion Publishing (4 March 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1911127616
- ISBN-13: 978-1911127611
- Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 2.2 x 23.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 694 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hashtag Authentic: Finding creativity and building a community on Instagram and beyond Hardcover – 4 Mar 2019
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About the Author
From the Publisher
Storytelling - Start With What You Have
In any new hobby or art, we’re always faced with a rush of self doubt – will I be any good at this? Will anybody like what I create? Will I be rejected by the people I’m trying to connect with? Appeasing that little voice is tricky at the best of times, but can be made even more challenging if we have to take a big leap financially as well as emotionally to embrace our new craft.
Or, perhaps affordability isn’t a barrier for you, and so instead you tend to overbuy for your hobbies. You’ll know if this applies to you – there’s probably scores of abandoned craft projects stashed away in your home, with all the best, top-of-the-range equipment that you bought and barely used once you began. Buying stuff, however great or flashy or seemingly vital, is no replacement for actually doing the work. Learn to ignore the little voice that might be saying, ‘I can’t possibly start until I have X, Y and Z!’
For all these reasons and more, I urge you: start now, with whatever you have.
Analyze A Photo Exercise - Consider Each Of The Following:
The ‘who’ of your photograph can be explicit, such as a person or animal we can see, or implied – like mess left by a child, or a book and a blanket left under a tree in the shade. Sometimes, the viewer themselves is the ‘who’ – the person who the story of this photograph is happening to. This is especially popular on Instagram, where we’re so often trying to put a viewer into our shoes, and give them a tiny taste of our life.
For example, I spotted these flowers in a bin in New York City on a hot summer’s day. They were striking in their color and beauty against the urban landscape. I needed to include the ‘where’ of the city street in order to answer the ‘why’ – because they were surprisingly juxtaposed. There’s never a bad why, and the point is not to question your motivation – unless of course you’re just taking a photograph for Instagram likes, which we’ll get to in due course.
This is usually easy to answer – what are you taking a picture of? I find it helpful to ask myself, ‘What’s happening?’ to take myself beyond ‘It’s someone with a sketchbook’ to, ‘It’s an artist reviewing her work after a day’s sketching at the beach. ‘ Showing her inky fingers, or a bag containing equipment by her side, might help cue the viewer into more of the story behind the scene.
So often when photographing small details we can become drawn in and lose focus on the wider frame. Stepping back can bring some of this context and sense of place to the scene, so perhaps we can see that the table is in a kitchen, and there’s a dog at her feet. If your photo is struggling for story, try reframing to add a greater sense of place to the scene.
- This is really about asking yourself, why are you taking this photograph?
- What prompted you to pick up the camera and shoot?
- Was it that something was beautiful, or interesting, or surprising, or odd?
- How can you make sure you capture that fully in the frame?
Hunt Out The Images You Love Most
Some might be your own, but others might be on other Instagram accounts, on blogs, in magazines, fashion look-books, movie stills or advertisements. Save them using the Instagram ‘bookmark’ feature, by taking screenshots or snapping quick pictures with your phone.
When we flick through our Instagram, we make split-second decisions on which pictures to click on and which to ignore...
Open the Explore page of your Instagram app – the one with the magnifying glass in your bottom toolbar. This is a selection of images and videos that Instagram thinks you’re likely to enjoy.
Take a moment now to browse this page as you usually would – clicking for more detail on shots that grab you, scrolling past those that don’t. (If there are any shots that are wholly inappropriate or unlikeable to you, go into the post and hit the three dots in the top right, and select ‘see fewer posts like this’ to let the algorithms know.) But as you do it, pay attention to where your brain and eyes go. Tune in to what does – and doesn’t – grab your interest.
Now, put your phone down. What images can you remember seeing? Scribble a quick list if you can, with basic points about each, and anything else you observed.
Open up the Explore page again and, without refreshing, revisit the grid you just browsed. This time, look for the pictures you didn’t see the first time around, that didn’t make your list. Were you right to ignore these, or do they hold something for you?
Exercise: Put It All Together
For this exercise we’re just going to take a simple, still-life image.
Find something to photograph that is true and honest for you. Something like a single flower or stem of leaves in a vase, a fresh pot of coffee with a cup or an obliging pet cat, perhaps. Try to choose something short-lived or animated, like these suggestions, instead of a simple static object: it makes more sense to photograph something that is temporary and changeable, because it won’t be around for as long.
Find your light. Look for a surface like a tabletop, window ledge or the seat of a chair or stool, in a space with light that appeals to and interests you. If it’s a sunny day, see if you can find somewhere the light is making patterns or shadows that you might want to play with. If it’s cloudier, head closer to the windows to get the best light.
Take a picture, as you usually would, for a comparison point.
Now, apply what we’ve learned.
Place your object in the middle of your shot, and use your grid lines to make sure it’s centered. Check that the horizontal grid line runs parallel to the surface, and that your camera is straight and not turning to one side. If your phone or camera has it, make sure the yellow and white center crosses line up. Make sure you’ve set your exposure for the brightest parts of the scene. Snap.
Repeat this, but set your object off to one side of the frame. Align it with one of the alternative lines on the grid as in the rule of thirds. Check your angles and exposure, and snap.
Repeat this process in another location in your home. Play around with changing the angle and position of your object, as well as the direction the light falls into your frame.
- Check your images are all clear, and then put down your camera and take a break.
- I find it best to edit with fresh eyes, so read through the pages on editing and come back a later.
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