Photography & I: Bringing Dreamscape into Reality | 攝影與我:把夢想帶入現實世界

Happy Instagram birthday to me!

@FollowThatBug is five years old this month, having been actively sharing photos since April 2012.

That is by far my longest happy relationship with any social media platform, and my infatuation with this app and its community is growing stronger day by day.

Not long ago, I received some comments from fellow Instagramers that nearly shot me to the moon with elation. In different ways, they described my editing style as a "professional makeup artist", making whatever that's in front of the camera appear as paradise on earth, and bringing out the quiet beauty of my subjects that others may fail to notice. 

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BEFORE: What my lens sees -- a classic London icon.

AFTER: What I see -- Big Ben and his candyfloss.

My Rose-Tinted Lens

Filters were what initially attracted me to Instagram. It was like trying on new clothes, I got a lot of satisfaction accessorizing my pictures with different layers of effects, then taking them off and starting all over again, and again, and again, because I could never decide which style I liked the most.

I became BFFs with the filters. Not only did they add colors to my images, they also camouflaged any imperfection that I didn't know how to remove.  

BEFORE: What my lens sees -- a lonely bird overshadowed by the shiny yellow blooms.

AFTER: What I see -- a sweet little creature enjoying the view from her flower castle.

Finding "Me"

Slowly, as I gained more confidence in my photographic expression, I began to see filters in a different light.

I still loved them, deeply, but I also realized that as Iong as I continued to rely on them to gain attention, I would never be able to develop any style that was truly, uniquely "me".  

Filters were someone else's creation, someone else's vision. They showed me the amazing possibilities of effects and manipulation, and now I wanted to be that "someone else" and leave my own stamp.

BEFORE: What my lens sees -- intricate craftsmanship from a bygone era. 

AFTER: What I see -- ray of hope and possibility shining through from all directions.

Painting the Stories of Our Lives

I'm a storyteller, and I appreciate the power of human touch.

When appropriate (this is key!), I like to run my hand over things that catch my attention, so I can feel their heaviness, their bumps and cracks, try to peel of their layers and see what hides beneath.

More often than not, I discover a diamond in the rough, ready to shine.

So what is my 5-year Instagram birthday wish? Make the world sparkle! And I'm taking concrete steps to help make this vision a reality, so watch this space. :)

And if you like, I can keep you updated on my progress -- just sign up here.

Eileen x

Related reading

5 Tips For Taking Amazing iPhone Photos

Eileen Hsieh, iPhone Photography School

What does it take to create amazing iPhone photos? Apps can help with editing and special effects, but you can produce beautiful images using just the iPhone’s native camera and a few simple composition techniques. In this tutorial, you’ll discover five highly effective tips that’ll help you take stunning iPhone photos that you’ll be proud to share. With just a few small tweaks to your technique, you’ll have the tools you need to become a really great iPhone photographer.