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.



Loch Lomond

I have been meaning to post these images since Monday but it has been a very busy week. A spent Monday evening at Loch Lomond, on the East side near Balmaha. It was a beautiful summer day and the evening was nearly cloudless which made for great conditions for shooting a few photographs.

I was especially keen on taking some long exposure photographs. Realising that I didn't have my tripod with me when I was almost there basically killed that idea off... I tried improvising using my rucksack but there was still too much movement :-(

On the bright side, it's Scotland so there will be lots of sunny days like this to try again ;-)

I have also taken on the role of moderator for the Instagram Hub @pocket_uk which means I get to select some photographs each week from the UK to promote! Am quite excited about this as sometimes I see photographs on Instagram that just blow me away and I feel giving a "like" and a comment just isn't enough! If you have instagram photos of the UK go over to the @pocket_uk hub, follow them and tag your photographs with #pocket_uk and you'll hopefully get a feature! 

Here are the photo's that I did get from Loch Lomond. Click the thumbnail for the large version :-)

Forth Bridges

Another (mainly) unplanned trip on Wednesday night saw myself and @alycoste meeting up in South Queensferry. We took a walk along the coast to try and get some sunset shots but arrived ridiculously early for sunset! 

Alayne checking her Instagram likes :-)

Alayne checking her Instagram likes :-)

After searching for shells with holes in them for the obligatory "I am at the beach" shot. We spent a good amount of time blinding ourselves by looking directly at the sun through several seashells. The sun eventually made its way down in the west and the golden hour was upon us.

I haven't been back to South Queensferry since January and it was nice to feel the sun instead of the biting cold on this trip.

Click on the thumbnails for the full image.


I took part in the worlds smallest (unauthorised) InstaMeet last night! Well, the planning stages of an InstaMeet anyway! What's an InstaMeet you say? An InstaMeet is a group of Instagrammers meeting up to take photos and videos together. An InstaMeet can happen anywhere and be any size and are a great opportunity to share tips and tricks with other community members and an excuse to get out and explore someplace new.

This was on the roof of the bar, it would have been crazy not to take a shot of it.

This was on the roof of the bar, it would have been crazy not to take a shot of it.

I met a few new people and we discussed arranging an InstaMeet in Glasgow (Scotland) in January. As we met in a bar it quickly descendant into midweek drinking and complaints of hangovers this morning. Thankfully I did take some pictures, before the Guinness started flowing :-) Thanks to Jens, David and Tina for being willing (?) models for me! The links are to their Instagram accounts and are well worth checking out and following.

I have been wanting to start shooting portraits of people and this seemed as good a time as any to start. The photo's below are all shot with my 50mm fixed lens, f1.8, ISO200. I am moderately happy with the outcome.

If you would like to join our InstaMeet in January get in touch with me for more details.

Lightroom brain flex

I have started to edit my good friend Geraldine's Instagram photographs using Lightroom. She is a yogi from the Island of Bohol in the Philippines. I would much rather be taking the photographs as well as editing them but it's too much of a commute for a daily photograph! But it does allow me some daily flexing of my brain using Lightroom to touch up and edit her photographs.

You can check out Geraldine's excellent gallery of Yoga positions on her Instagram feed.


Thanks for reading! :-)