Over the years, Instagram has transformed itself from a casual photo-sharing platform into a haven for artists, photographers and creatives. The focus has shifted from daily photos into carefully articulated themes, topics and stories.
Millennials, especially, have mastered tips and tricks associated in creating beautiful, stunning and interesting Instagram feeds. They capture our attention and ignite our emotions with the swipe of a filter.
18 year old Daniel Paul from Canada has been creating and posting dazzling photographs on his impressive Instagram account @curry_dan for almost a year. With close to 1000 followers, Daniel’s feed is constantly growing. His motivation to improve is a driving force in the tremendous success that is sure to follow.
I recently caught up with Daniel to gain some further insight into his creative process.
Me: How would you describe your Instagram?
Daniel: I have a dark but colourful theme. Whether it’s an ominous crimson, a thick purple or a brilliant yellow, I keep things colourful but on the darker side. I like my contrast up and shadows down to really make the colours pop and to give a darker, richer feel to the picture.
When it comes to his pictures, Daniel finds light and colour in dark situations. His photos ooze mystery while still keeping the innocence of the bright and bold.
Me: Can you explain how you formulate your ideas?
Daniel: All my original ideas come to me at the most inconvenient times. Like when I’m sitting in class trying to focus on work and all of a sudden my brain switches from studying and goes- what if I tried to collect the smoke in an umbrella to create a wall of smoke? – or maybe I’m about to fall asleep and all of a sudden I question if I can light a cigar with my hand on fire (which I did). So I’ll drag myself out of bed, turn the light on, feel around for a pencil through my squinting eyes and write down the idea.
Sometimes Daniel gets inspiration from other photo’s he sees on Instagram. However, he stresses that, “It’s okay to take concepts from pictures but you can’t copy one exactly. You have to have your own spin on it and make it your own.” A concept which attributes to his own success.
Daniel’s instagram account, however, didn’t gain traction overnight. Some research and hard work was needed to learn the mechanisms involved in becoming a great photographer.
Daniel: I started out on my uncles Nikon D3200. I watched an outrageous amount of Youtube videos to learn how to use the camera to its full potential. Once I was proficient with it, I looked into buying my own camera partly because I wanted my own, partly because I had basically stolen my uncle’s camera for two months and he wanted it back! Now I’m in the process of buying a Nikon D7100 and I couldn’t be more excited for when it arrives.
Daniel’s use of smoke bombs, spray paint and abandoned buildings is certainly interesting, but the biggest reward is the attention that he receives.
Daniel: I have had some of my pictures featured on some clothing brand’s Instagram pages as well as getting to work with new clothing brands that are just starting up. Mainly though, I am approached by people who want personal shoots for their modelling portfolio, for prom pics, or just because they want some poppin’ pics for their IG!
And while his biggest success isn’t getting featured by large accounts or clothing brands, Daniel loves, “waking up to notifications saying that a picture has been featured on some of my favourite accounts. It’s an exciting experience!” He compares it to a “Mom I made it” feeling, or perhaps a “virtual pat on the back.”
And Daniel isn’t done with Instagram just yet.
Daniel: There’s always going to be a bigger achievement around the corner, a new goal to reach and I’m excited to see where photography takes me and what I will be able to achieve!
His hard work, commitment and positivity is the ideal motivation and inspiration we need. And as for other inspiring instagrammers, Daniel offers some helpful tips and tricks to start your own IG empire.
” 1. try and do the editing yourself; don’t just rely on a pre-made filter. I find for me, half the fun is editing the pictures because it’s like having a lump of clay and being able to mold it into whatever you want.
2. If you have a decent camera, learn to use it. And I don’t mean point and shoot. I guarantee if you learn how to use your camera to its full potential, a whole new world of photography opens up!
3. It’s okay to copy the concept or idea of a picture you’ve seen but don’t copy it exactly like how you see it.
4. You don’t need to drop tons of money on a camera and lenses. Develop your talent and artistic eye because it’s not the hardware that makes a photographer, it’s their artistic eye and their creative mind. “
Me: Any last thoughts Daniel?
Daniel: Create for the sake of creating. Let your mind wander free and do what you want, not what you think other people will like. The beauty in the art of photography is that no one is the best as the art of photography is constantly developing (sorry, that pun had to be made). As Rodney Mullen once said, “The degree to which we connect to a community is in proportion to our individuality.” There are no rules to creating something, no one telling you what you can and can’t do in your pictures. No limits, no competition, just the creative mind behind the lens trying to create.
So dear readers, @curry_dan is driving force to watch for! He’s the Instagram inspiration you’ve been waiting for.
Follow Daniel on Instagram today!
Published by Extra and Terrestrial (Marty)