Read this...

Read this if you want to be Instagram Famous

I have spoken highly in the past about books written by Henry Carroll, his series of Read this...

...if you want to take great photographs.
...if you want to take great photographs of people.
...if you want to take great photographs of places.

They are great books, not super technical and full of great advice for the beginner and the accomplished photographer alike. They don't take forever to read (a solid afternoon of reading) and they all cost around £10 / $10.

While I was "screen" shopping on amazon last week I was rather surprised to see "Read this if you want to be instagram famous". My instant thought was how long can it take someone to write about getting famous on Instagram it's easy, you need either:

- to be female and post lots of bikini shots.
- have a great female model and take lots of bikini shots.

This may sound a touch politically incorrect but check the stats, and you'll see I am right, trust me, I'm a data scientist. Needless to say I purchased it and had amazon deliver it on prime because I couldn't wait to see what it had to say.

The book is interesting, introduced by Henry Carroll, it features roughly 65 instagrammers that have influential accounts. Each page has a concept, for example time it right / be straight shooter, then an instagrammers story that fits the concept. Each person featured discusses how and why they started and their experiences in building up a following.

Much to my annoyance the first person featured is @daniellepeazer who appears in most of her posts in a bikini or her underwear or my favourite post of her just out of the shower and has to post a photo because she is dying to tell you that her "hair is washed and smelling amazing" (24,088 likes at time of writing). She has a following of 1.2 million people. So that works out to be about a 2% like rate. I found it annoying because it basically re-inforced my politically incorrect statement above. You can make the obvious conclusion that I am jealous and you would be right, I would love to have 1.2 million people follow me for showing off my body :-)

I am not going to spend the entire post converting like rates on Instagram, I do (possibly) have better things to do. Back to the book review...

In it's 150 pages there are "technical tangent" pages which are very useful for those that are just starting to post on Instagram as well as veterans of the medium. The pages on perfecting your profile, selecting an effective handle, avatar and biography have good little nuggets of information. I also particularly enjoyed the composition pages on what makes an effective Instagram post. Other technical tangents include effective use of #hashtags and why having a caption and commenting on photos can build a following. For those that have high ambitions there is also a technical tangent on becoming a suggested user! Sections on marketing yourself or brands are interesting and it also gives information on what rates people charge for promotions on their accounts.

The book is written in an easily accessible way, it is not technical, but does provide a lot of ideas and should provoke some thoughts for the average user. Priced at £10 / $10 I think it is definitely worth the money if you have some ambition of building a following on Instagram or are in need of some inspiration for your account. One of the things I liked about the book as well, from a purely cosmetic sense, is that it is square just like Instagram posts should be (according to the purists) even though all Henry Carroll's past books have been rectangular. :-)

Your thoughts? I am @willadam or comment below.



Still sculpture

It is well known that I am not the most spontaneous of people, but on Monday night I decided to take a drive to St Fillans, a small town in Perthshire at the eastern side of Loch Earn. It had been a clear cloudless day and I was hoping to get some photographs of the sculpture - Still, by Rob Mulholland. He is a sculptor and environmental artist based in the United Kingdom who exhibits throughout the U.K and world-wide.

From his website he describes Still:

The solitary figure stands at the head of a Loch Earn. The figure symbolises the physical and spiritual relationship between humans and the natural wilderness. The figure is in constant flux, the small panels that form the sculpture are being torn away with the prevailing wind, being re - shaped by the natural forces. It investigates the fundamental aspects of self awareness and our connection with our environment.
— Rob Mulholland

For a photographer it's an amazing thing to photograph as it looks very eerie standing on the loch. I spent at least two hours at the loch side taking photographs and meeting a fellow Instagrammer @davidmccr

The first two photographs were my favourite and these were "squared" and uploaded to my Instagram profile. These shots were featured in @icuscotland and @sunrise.sunset.scotland, which I was really happy about. It was nice to receive some positive feedback about them.

The next two I also liked, one wider shot than the other, the left one taken a little earlier than the right shot.

I was really happy with these photographs primarily because I think that I am starting to get a feel for taking more moody photographs, especially the darker shot in this series. Some of the ideas and techniques that I learned recently really paid off in this trip.

#lighttrailsnotlovers (update)

Update - Contrary to what is written below we have decided to use  account @lighttraillovers and not @lighttrailsnotlovers. 

The wonderful @alycoste came up with the hashtag "#lighttrailsnotlovers" last week during our trip to the meadows. Having purchased a DSLR recently she was very keen to try it out on light trails. Her recent evening trip to shoot light trails in Glasgow took a few unexpected turns, mostly to  bars, thanks to @archarlton1 and @davidgulliver_photography. So we hit a road bridge over the M8 last night in Swanston to practice the art of long exposures (in the photography sense).

This was my favourite shot last night: f9, 21mm, ISO 100 and 30sec exposure. The sky was a merge of red from the light pollution of Edinburgh and blue from the darkness of the Pentland Hills. The cold and misty rain added to the fun with @tinagulliver, @davidgulliver_photogrpahy & @alycoste!

Seeing as the hashtag is new and the instagram account was free I decided to setup the instagram account lighttrailsnotlovers, use the hashtag if you want to be featured!


Swanston @lighttrailsnotlovers #lighttrailsnotlovers