Brian McWilliams

Location:: Boston

Job: Investigator and journalist

Insta-IntroI walk to work through two beautiful Boston neighborhoods—Back Bay and Beacon Hill—and in 2013 I realized it might be fun to chronicle my walking commute on Instagram. I’ve been posting a daily image ever since, along with the occasional photo taken while on weekend excursions out of the city.

Aesthetic: I try to capture what it’s like to walk these historic streets through the four seasons, focusing on the architecture, gardens and the people who are my neighbors. … I only lightly edit my shots (on my phone) before uploading them to Instagram. I don’t doctor my photos with Photoshop or similar apps.

Equipment: I use a little Sony a6000 camera because it’s inexpensive and small enough to fit in my coat pocket but has a better lens and gives you more control over focus and exposure than a phone camera.

Posting Tip: Not every great photographer thrives on Instagram because the app has created its own aesthetic. Photos of latte art are as popular on IG as shots of epic mountain sunrises. Since the photos are usually viewed on a small screen, simplicity and minimalism are appealing.

Shutterbug Trick: Maybe I’m old-school, but I consider photography an art, not a technology. … I think you get better results learning to master elements such as composition, light and recognizing a captivating moment.

William Vaughn Griffin

Location: Boston

Job: Courier and freelance photographer

Insta-Intro: I would use it to discover photographers whose work I could learn from, so it was one way to fuel my own creativity. When I scroll, I want to see your artwork or process or something that is meaningful to you as a creative.

Aesthetic: It’s indoor/outdoor scenes typically in the city, and usually with a human figure or figures in the frame. Most of the time, the figures in my photographs are unrecognizable and can represent anyone. I want to create a sense of mystery in my imagery, provoking the viewer to imagine their own story.

Equipment: I currently use a Canon 5D Mark III, with the EF 40mm f/2.8 Pancake lens or the 50mm L Series f/1.2 lens. I’ve been experimenting a bit lately with Leica equipment as well.

Posting Tip: Consistency matters on Instagram, and as an artist in general. Post images that speak to you. There will always be time to refine your style.

Shutterbug Trick: Always have your camera ready. Take it out of your bag, take that lens cap off and turn it on. … Shoot with whatever you have. It’s easy to get hung up on all the latest gear, but you can do amazing things with just a phone these days.

Renee Jordan

Location: Boston

Job: Director of financial aid

Insta-Intro: I first got into Instagram when I moved to Boston and started exploring the city with my camera. I fell in love with this city through its lens.

Aesthetic: My desire is to photograph the magical parts of this city and to capture them in a way that’s uniquely my own and that I haven’t seen before. I try to find a new angle or perspective on a subject that’s already been shot a thousand times before. Most of my shots involve street photography, especially in the rain.
Equipment: With smartphones taking better photos than cameras, you need to use what you have. That said, I do have the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, which is my baby when I’m out shooting.

Posting Tip: Remember that you’re not posting just to post. Did you wait for the stranger to give you the perfect stride by? Is your subject making you feel something? Have you seen this photo
before? One of the most photographed streets in Boston and maybe the world is Acorn Street, so if you’re going to photograph it, think about how you’re going to capture it and make it your own.

Shutterbug Trick: You need to constantly carry a camera or smartphone with you, so you can shoot all the time, and just go shoot. You need to shoot, shoot, and keep shooting until you find your own style and master your camera or phone.

Marissa Davis

Location: Boston

Job: Preschool teacher

Insta-Intro: I started with Instagram in sort of a banal way. I wasn’t really into photography, and at first, I used the app to post photos of my everyday life—selfies, food, photos of my kids, etc. But having the platform available to me inspired me to look for material to post, and so it deepened my interest in photography.

Aesthetic: I love the scale of the city, especially the architecture, and the order within the chaos of the streets. I experience the city as something rather epic in proportion. … I look for strong leading lines, solitary figures, reflected patterns of light and shadow.

Equipment: I shoot with a Canon Rebel, which is not a very good or expensive piece of equipment. … I also love to shoot with a very wide lens, mostly my 10-18mm. It makes the people on the streets appear dwarfed by the buildings around them.

Posting Tip: I like to use captions to more deeply explain the meaning I find in an image. The best images, both on and off Instagram, somehow—magically, even—communicate a larger idea or evoke an emotion.

Shutterbug Trick: Just keep shooting and have fun. … Sometimes, this playfulness leads to some really incredible ends, and other times the result’s a flop. But it’s always fun—and I would hope that anyone looking to create in any medium keeps it playful and is not afraid to “fail.”

Karyll Jay Catubig

Location: Somerville

Job: Graphic designer

Insta-Intro:  In June of 2016, I needed some time off after graduating from MassArt, so my friend invited me on a trip to London with his sister. I wanted to bring a camera, so one of my roommates lent me his. Back then, I didn’t know much about cameras, just that I had to press a button to take a photo. I remember taking the first photo I took on that trip. After pressing the shutter, it felt like I just saved a memory. Coming back home, I looked through my photos and knew I had to share them. I thought Instagram was the best platform to do it.

Aesthetic: My favorite photos are sunrises and sunsets—also my favorite times of the day. The dramatic contrast of colors, or the sun hitting the clouds, really gives a breathtaking moment.

Equipment: I’m currently using a Nikon D7200, and the lenses I mostly use are 11-16mm Tokina f/2.8, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, and Nikkor 24-77mm f/2.8.

Posting Tip: The best posts are the ones that quickly capture a person’s attention and hold it for more than a second, but that shouldn’t stop someone from posting whatever they want to share. In the end, your photos and posts are yours, and the first person you should please is yourself.

Shutterbug Trick: One thing I always keep in mind is that you should try to compose your shot in a way that no one else has. Don’t be afraid to get low, high, or get dirty. Put the camera where it wants to be.

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