Discover the connections, colours and shapes that inspire @hmiguelsousa’s Instagram photography and the importance of signal in sharing your snaps...
With his unique compositions, interesting angles and clean lines, visual designer Hugo Miguel Sousa has forged a major following on Instagram as @hmiguelsousa. Originally from Lisbon, he’s now resident in London, and the whole journey started with a present from dad:
“When I was around 15 years old, my dad got me a camera, and basically that was the moment I started to learn and explore photography,” he says. “Creating and capturing special moments – it was the beginning of my creative journey.”
But, while Hugo’s account is heavily focused on architecture and urban design today, what truly inspires him is the story behind each photo:
“To be honest, I really love architecture and it’s a subject present in most of my photos, but I don’t define myself as an architectural photographer,” he says.
“For me, it’s about the design and visual story. What I really look for is composition – colours, shapes, light, the human factor and emotion. My style and subjects have changed a lot over the years – and they could change again tomorrow. I think your style really depends on the creative place you’re in in any given moment of your life.
“For me, it’s about the design and visual story. What I really look for is composition – colours, shapes, light, the human factor and emotion.”
“It took me a while to hone my style down to the minimal, clean shots I was looking for. And as you work towards a certain style, your perception tends to change. The more you’re able to practice and explore, the better you become.”
Luckily, living in Shoreditch, London, Hugo finds inspiration all around him:
“Visually, I think you can find just as much that’s charming in a country house as a modern building in the city centre. From colourful houses to dark brutalist buildings like the National Theatre or Barbican, I’m always looking for diversity. Those contrasts are very typical of London, and not only in its architecture, making the city a great place to explore.”
Want to improve your city shots? Most important for any photo, Hugo explains, is composition:
“Basically, I look at my subjects and I stay there for a while thinking about how I can get the best picture. I explore different angles and consider the compilation of colours, sometimes I even bring my friends into the picture to add a human element and sense of scale. If there’s nothing special about that moment or subject, I just move on. But I always try to do something.
“As you can imagine, my camera roll is full of unused photos.”
And Hugo’s other tips for budding photographers? Find unique ways to tell and share a story:
“We won’t always get the best the light or angles, but there’s usually something there that makes an image worth sharing. Maybe it’s a moment that’s important to you. Or it could mark a part of your life or a special place that you’ve been. I believe there’s always something.
“Get inspired, explore your skills, be creative and find your styles naturally,” he says. “It’s ok to chop and change. For me, it’s about hard work and sharing your pictures – don’t get pressured by the number of followers and likes, just do your thing. That’s the way you’ll truly enjoy it.”
And sharing those stunning snaps is a major source of inspiration for Hugo, all aided by a strong network connection:
“Reliable connectivity is so important when it comes to Instagram. Being able to access social media wherever I am helps me to find inspiration, and to inspire others. The community that Instagram’s created enables us all to grow, evolve and get better at what we do.
“Sharing my photos gave me extra motivation to keep exploring and changing the things I do. It’s also given me the opportunity to connect with other amazing people around the world and enjoy some pretty amazing experiences. A lot of good things can happen if you share your work, instead of just keeping it all for yourself.”
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