Take a journey with us to the stunning hilltops and valleys of the Lake District with Instagram superstar @WhatAlexLoves...
When we recently sent a group of the UK’s top Instagram stars to the Lake District and asked them to capture their beautiful surrounds using the iPhone 6s, they more than delivered the goods – as you can see in Daniel Casson (@dpc_photography_)’s recent story.
Hot on Daniel’s heels to immortalise the Lake District’s vastness, charm, and aesthetic allure, is Alexandra Lhermite-Schwass (Instagram: @whatalexloves) – a Swiss photographer living in London. Alex has been living in the UK for the past two years, snapping whatever makes her happy. But what kind of subject matter ticks that box? And what tips does she have under her belt for budding Instagrammers? Read on to find out…
Discovering your style
“I’ve always been drawn to beautiful images,” starts Alex. “I started playing around with photography using a very basic camera while studying business management at university. I did a lot of experimenting and from then it evolved into my passion. In 2012, my younger brother told me about Instagram, I signed up, and I must say this little app has taken me on quite an adventure – I’m now working as a freelance photographer because of it.”
When you look at Alex’s photos, you’ll notice there’s no one theme in particular. Take a look at these shots of Bluebell woods, a wisteria-covered doorway, a library, and a man sitting on a bench and you’ll see what we mean. While they’re all different in composition and subject, you get the sense they’re taken by the same photographer thanks to the bold use of block colours.
“I love bright colours in photos,” she explains, “but that doesn’t mean I’m afraid to capture something more neutral or darker,” explains Alex. “And while I like to capture urban scenes with elements of architecture, I am inspired by nature and love shooting landscapes.”
Luckily, the Lake District has those in spades. “Landscapes like these can be so dramatic,” Alex says. “Take this image, for example. There’s a sense of adventure to it, particularly with the car driving into the valley.”
And Alex is right. While at face-value this may look like something simple, Alex has captured a story (Where is the car going? Where has it come from?) that might not be so obvious at first glance. And that’s what she believes to be one of the biggest pillars of good photography.
The tools of the trade
Then, of course, there’s the other pillar: the tools of the trade. First and foremost, Alex describes herself as “an iPhone girl,” who started using Instagram with an iPhone 4 before upgrading to an iPhone 6 sometime after. So it’s no surprise that she feels right at home when using the iPhone 6s.
“This was my first time shooting with the iPhone 6s and I’m very pleased with it,” she tells us. “I’d happily use the iPhone 6s for my everyday photography; it’s certainly easier to carry around than heavy photo equipment – especially in the rain.” And that’s a handy quality in the notoriously unreliable British weather.
Wondering how you can take your own breathtaking smartphone photos? Want to rise up the ranks of the Instagram community? You’re in luck; Alex has some top tips.
1. Get off to a good start
“Pick a good username or your real name, but avoid numbers. This will help people remember you and find you again.”
2. Edit like a pro
“Polish your photos with the right apps. I suggest Snapseed, VSCO Cam, Instagram itself, and the TouchRetouch app, which comes in handy when you want to get rid of a small detail in the photo.”
3. Instagram etiquette
“Use only a few relevant hashtags. #do #not #overuse #hashtags. And make sure you follow, comment, reply, and interact. Instagram is built around a community, so you need to join in.”
Alex’s 93k followers would suggest she’s got all of the above down to a tee, but is that set to change? In March this year Instagram announced a change to its core algorithm that would change everyone’s feeds to ‘show the moments [Instagram believes] you will care about the most,’ rather than simply by date. Is that a worry for photo bloggers like Alex?
“The app has changed a lot since I started using it in 2012,” she says, “and I can already feel growth and engagement has dropped in the past months so I’m curious to see how Instagram’s algorithm change is going to affect this.” But Alex is, as we established from the off, a positive person, so she isn’t phased. “Personally, I am of the ‘wait and see’ mindset,” she says in closing, “and hope the change ultimately has a positive impact for all.”
I’m in the Lake District… If you’re heading out to some of the UK’s most beautiful – and most rural –destinations this summer, you’ll be pleased to know that Vodafone UK’s ROSS 100 programme is helping to bring 3G coverage to more ‘hard to reach’ places than ever. Click here to find out more.