OLYMPUS DREAM TEAM GOES #UPINSKYE
In September, Olympus asked four photographers to take over the official Olympus Instagram (instagram.com/olympusuk) for one week using the hashtag #UpInSkye. The result was a series of images, all of which were taken in the endlessly scenic location of the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Each of the photographers was kitted out with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera, and all of them put the camera through its paces to see how it would cope, not just with the beautiful landscapes, but with the at times variable weather. The photographers were: Kim.ou (Kim Leuenberger) instagram.com/kim.ou; WhatAlexLoves (Alexandra Lhermite-Schwass) instagram.com/whatalexloves; Adam Partridge instagram.com/adampartridge; and @chaiwai
In this special blog post, Kim, Alexandra and Adam talk us through their experiences of visiting and photographing Skye.
What inspired you to go to Skye for the takeover?
KO: After seeing what Olympus Suomi (www.instagram.com/olympussuomi/) did with the Scandinavian team last year in Iceland, I’ve been dreaming to bring a UK based team to one of the most beautiful region this country has to offer. It was important for me to go to a destination that had a wide range of different landscapes and views so we could all just find our little niche style, and not come back with the same pictures as everyone else.
WAL: I was particularly excited when my friend Kim told me we would be going to the Isle of Skye in Scotland for the Olympus UK takeover. I had visited Skye for the first time exactly one year before and had absolutely fallen in love with its breathtaking landscapes. It was a wonderful opportunity to return there and get to capture the beauty of Scotland with my OM-D E-M5 Mark II.
AP: I’ve seen so many pictures from the Isle of Skye on Instagram, and I’ve always wanted to go. When Kim asked me, I jumped at the chance! it was a great privilege to be asked and explore the amazing island.
Taken by Adam Partridge
The four of you seem to have an individual style in your photos, is this something that’s important for Instagram?
KO: I think it’s actually key. When people follow on Instagram, I always imagine that it’s because the imagery you produce is constant, and has got that little something that reminds them it’s you and no one else. I think you know you’re doing good when people just see your picture and know instantly it’s yours without having to check the name. Photography, especially on Instagram, is a small world, and I think it would be annoying to see the same version of one picture over and over again. The key is to find your own style, let it evolve and change, but always be true to yourself.
WAL: Indeed, we each have our individual style. But I feel like my style is in constant evolution as I love to experiment with subjects and techniques. No matter what is important for Instagram, I believe it is essential to develop your own eye, follow your aesthetics and photograph what inspires you.
AP: I believe it is very important to have a niche style that you are known for, as I feel it separates you from the crowd. I could emulate somebody else’s style if I wanted, but that may not encourage a potential audience to be inspired by my photos. I think it’s important to take lots of inspiration from other people’s work and then incorporate that inspiration into your own composition or editing style. That then gives people a new insight into the picture or subject you are capturing.
Taken by Adam Partridge, WhatAlexLoves and Kim.ou
Given that you all had the same surroundings, how different were your approaches to capturing Skye?
KO: I try to incorporate props into my images, or find different angles. I’m always trying to tell a story with my images. I like that the images in my gallery goes from something that fills the frame, and then something a bit more minimal, so it doesn’t look too heavy. I think we all had our little favourite places and things to photograph. I was in heaven when we were on the boat with the wild sea and the mist all around.
WAL: Spending a week in Scotland with other photographers has been very inspiring. It was definitely eye-opening to see how we each were drawn to a different subject or a different angle in the same location. While one of us would photograph a castle from the shore, another one would shoot the pile of seaweed on that same beach. When someone would be climbing on a rock to get the highest perspective possible, someone else would lay down on the ground to get a lower perspective. Our approaches were not only different in composition, but also in technique, in the way we used the settings on our Olympus cameras.
AP: At the start of the trip, I was worried that all of us might have the same photos, but I quickly realised that this wouldn’t be the case. I felt we had very different approaches to shooting in each location based on the style of photos we liked to take. For example, someone would be down on their knees shooting macro, where another person would be settling down to take a 2-minute-long exposure. It’s great that the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II allows us to do a range of features, in which you can adopt a completely different approach to the person next to you. Quite often, someone would spot something that others wouldn’t see and just wander off to take a photo at a unique angle. It was very interesting to compare photos at the end of each day.
Taken by Adam Partridge, Kim.ou and WhatAlexLoves
You’ve all built up huge followings on Instagram. Can you tell us what inspired you to start?
KO: It’s quite silly actually, but at first I thought it was just a kind of editing app. And I actually didn’t use it for a while after downloading. Then I saw that people could see my pictures and comment and like, and I could do the same, and I just became addicted. That was almost 5 years ago, at the time I was at high school and about to start university in Basel in Pharmacy, but all I could think about was photography and that is because (and thanks) to instagram. I don’t think I would be where I am today if it hadn’t given me that little push I needed, so I’m forever thankful for all it has brought to me!
WAL: I have always loved to take pictures – it started with instant film in my childhood, documenting family memories. When digital cameras appeared, I began to play around with more artistic photography. It was a lot of experimenting – trial and error – and from then it has evolved into my passion and work. Out of curiosity, I joined Instagram in 2012. I love how this creative community provides me with endless inspiration and enriching interactions.
AP: I spent the first 19 years of my life growing up in Dorset. Then I moved to Southampton for 6 years. When I moved back to Dorset, I suddenly appreciated the amazing location and gained a sense of pride of where I was from. I really wanted to explore everything in my spare time. So I bought a bike and started taking little snaps here and there on my iPhone when I reached places like Durdle Door after a challenging two to three hour bike ride. I decided to set up a Instagram account as a place I could store these photos. Then I started receiving lovely comments about these locations I was going to. That fuelled me to get on the bike more regularly to show off Dorset even more and inspire others to visit. Three years on, I’m getting messages from people from places like Indonesia, South Korea and Australia that have been encouraged to visit Dorset through my photos and meet me too. To me, that is what Instagram is all about.
Taken by Kim.ou
Do you have any top tips for anyone starting an Instagram account?
KO: Meet the people! I think if you’re starting up, it would be cool to go on “instawalks” and meet other Instagram users in your city or around where you live. It’s the people and the amazing community that makes Instagram so unique! Before I moved to London, I was kind of falling out of love with it because it was too virtual. But bringing the fun into my real life made me just fall back in love with it again and see it on a whole new light. I think it’s also important to not try to copy what seems popular. Bring your own style with you, or build it up with time, and at some point it will pay off!
WAL: Pick a good username or your real name, but avoid numbers; polish your photos with the right apps, such as Snapseed or VSCOcam; use a few relevant hashtags, but #do #not #overuse #hashtags.; follow, comment, reply – interact because Instagram is all about community; lastly, stay genuine.
AP: I’d say, post only your best work and stay true to your style!
Taken by WhatAlexLoves
During the trip, all of you were using the OM-D E-M5 Mark II, what were your favourite things about the cameras?
KO: That it was weather proofed! It rained so much, I was soaked to the bones, but the camera held it together perfectly. It was nice to have a wide range of lenses to shoot with and also the flip screen is always a great use for my travelling cars photos. Enables me to not be soaked all the time. I’m just completely utterly in love with that camera!
WAL: Documenting this trip to the Isle of Skye with the OM-D E-M5 Mark II was such an enjoyable experience. I absolutely love its compact and lightweight body, which makes it easy to carry around even during a long hike. Not so surprisingly, we did experience a few rain showers while hiking in Scotland, and having a weather sealed camera in this situation certainly comes as a relief. One of my favourite features is being able to transfer the pictures from my Olympus camera directly onto my smart phone thanks to the OIShare app, enabling me to edit and share my images on the go. In terms of lenses, I very much enjoyed shooting with the M. Zuiko ED 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 II telephoto lens, and even gave a try at wildlife portraits with it. To sum it up, I am definitely hooked on my OM-D E-M5 Mark II.
AP: This camera was pretty much the first camera I’ve used, as I was only using an iPhone before. I was amazed how easy it was to start producing good quality photos. That was very important to someone like me who lacks a huge knowledge on how to work a camera. I feel like I’m learning new things all the time and I’m excited to see what the future will hold!
Taken by Adam Partridge
To see more visit https://instagram.com/olympusuk/