The Instagram Diaries #1: From Photographer to iPhonographer

This blog is shared from the fabulous Jordana Borensztajn‘s Instagram Diaries on LinkedIn. Jordana is a Social Media Strategist ★ Creative Content Producer ★ Humourist ★ Author ★ Speaker – and we’re thrilled to have her as part of the Quantum CIQ team. Check out her new book:Capture My Attention: How to Stand Out Online with Creative Content or book her to MC or speak at your next event.


I was a professional photographer for more than a decade and my journey into the world of photography began in the same way as most pre-digital shooters; in a dimly lit black and white photography darkroom.

The Magic of the Darkroom

I can still smell the strong mix of chemicals that hit me every time I entered the darkroom in the Creative Arts Department at Melbourne University. I’ll never forget the excitement of it all; processing films, creating proof sheets of negatives, and using the enlarger to manipulate image size, resolution, cropping and composition. Most exciting of all was seeing my images come to life on paper as I moved them from the developer tray, into the stop bath, and into the fixer, before rinsing them and hanging them up to dry. A small red safe-light in the corner of the room provided just enough visibility to find our way.

I spent hours in the darkroom, in the classroom and out on shoots. I learnt aboutlighting, filters, exposure, camera settings, aperture, contrast, composition, depth of field, shutter speed, framing and so much more. And I invested thousands into my photography kit. I had two camera bodies, a wide angle lens, a telephoto lens, lens filters, microfibre cloths, two flashes, a tripod – and rolls and rolls and rolls of film. My kit was my most treasured possession.

From Photographer to iPhonographer

Fast forward more than a decade and I don’t use my photography equipment – at all. The world has changed. I don’t need big, heavy gear to take great shots anymore. While a lot of photographers might disagree with me, all I really need these days is a smartphone and the Instagram app.

With that knowledge I have proudly transitioned from Photographer to iPhonographer. What does that mean? It means I can be a photographer anywhere, at any time, without any equipment other than my iPhone. It means I am free to capture images in a completely hassle-free way; no giant lenses, no spare camera batteries, and no back-up rolls of 200, 400 and 800 ISO films. My only priority items are a charged iPhone battery and the latest version of Instagram.


The Power of Instagram

As a social media strategist, Instagram has always been my favourite social network.Through capturing colours, moments and expressions, Instagram allows us to show the world who we are, what we love and what we stand for. It’s a platform to express our lives, our journeys, our interests and our passions – all through visuals – which is such a powerful concept.

Thankfully, my photography background makes me appreciate the power of Instagram’s amazing functionality. Instagram allows us to create – in two minutes on a handheld device – what could take hours to complete on a shoot and in the darkroom. Better yet, Instagram allows us to immediately test, preview and apply photographic effects to our images – techniques that professionals can spend years practising and perfecting. I don’t take any of this for granted.

It actually makes me really, really excited because it means we all have the opportunity to create more, learn more, and capture more than ever before. At a time when the internet is speeding everything up, we hold the power – in our hands – to slow life down, even just for a moment, in order to capture it forever. And it’s so easy to do. What a gift.

Instagram’s a powerful photographic tool and there is so much brilliant content we can create simply using our smartphones. So this is the first instalment in a series I’m launching called The Instagram Diaries where I’ll draw off my experience as a photographer to share strategies, lessons and techniques to help you enhance your Instagram account. I’ll run through a variety of photography principles you can use to improve your images, as well as tips and tricks to get the most out of Instagram’s functionality.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.”
– Ansel Adams

So, what are you waiting for?

Do you have a smartphone? Great. Have you installed Instagram? Excellent! (If not, go ahead – it’s free!)  And there you go. You have everything you need to become an iPhonographer and dive right in.

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Is there a photography technique or Instagram feature you want me to cover? Tweet me at @JordanaOZ.

When I’m not taking photos, I work with clients to enhance their creativity, online content and social media marketing skills. Check out my new book:Capture My Attention: How to Stand Out Online with Creative Content.