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Welcome to the Instagram blog! See how Instagrammers are capturing and sharing the world's moments through photo and video features, user spotlights, tips and news from Instagram HQ.

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spotlight, romania, Location Feature, User Feature,

Spotlight: Romania

Spotlight Since launching, we’ve seen Instagram spread from our headquarters in California to every corner of the globe. In this series we highlight Instagrammers from countries and cities with thriving communities.

"Every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horse-shoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool." — Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

With the Carpathian mountains arcing across its center and the river Danube running along its southern region, Romania is a country of vast and hilly peaks and luscious wetlands.

A history steeped in folklore, Romania’s rural and remote landscape served as the fictional home of Bram Stoker’s famous vampire, Count Dracula. With numerous hilltop castles such as Bran Castle, as well as the fairytale turrets of King Carol I’s Peleş Castle in Transylvania, it comes as little surprise that Romania has ignited the imagination of so many.

For a closer look at Romania’s haunting landscapes and bustling cities through the lenses of just a few of the many Instagrammers that live there, follow:

  • Lorant Pandea, Transylvania photographer – @lorantpandea
  • Oana Befort, graphic designer and illustrator in Bucharest – @oanabefort
  • Lavinia Cernău, photographer in Cluj-Napoca – @lavinia_cernau
  • Liviu Ratiu, photographer in Cluj-Napoca – @liviuratiu
  • Raluca Tămaș, journalist in Bucharest – @raltamas

For a closer look at Romania, explore the country through some of its most popular and picturesque destinations:

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daniel krieger, cocktails, how i shoot, User Feature,

How I Shoot: Capturing Cocktails with @danielkrieger

For each How I Shoot, we ask an Instagrammer to tell us about the process behind their photos and videos. For more of Daniel’s pictures of food and drink, follow @danielkrieger on Instagram.

For Daniel Krieger (@danielkrieger), a photographer in New York City, the recipe for an enticing cocktail photo includes “beautiful composition, atmosphere and the best possible light.”

Though he also regularly documents dishes at restaurants such as Estela (@estelanyc) and Maison Premiere (@maisonpremiere), Daniel said that cocktails have something special going for them that most dishes don’t: their ability to transmit light. Captured correctly, “that glass just pops and creates an instant focus for the viewer.”

Here are Daniel’s tips for capturing the perfect cocktail photo:

Camera

"iPhone 5."

Vantage Point

"A 45-degree angle is nice because it shows the different layers of the drink and glass. And try backing up a bit. When you fill the entire frame with a dish of food or, in this case, a cocktail, the frame feels cramped and the iPhone camera doesn’t do as well. Put the drink against a wall, using some of the wall in your frame to create a nice composition. Watch your peripherals. If there’s a crumpled cocktail napkin behind your drink, move it out of the frame. If some guy is in the background of your frame maybe move a little bit to get him out of it. If he keeps following you around maybe go to another bar!"

Shooting

"Either use a cool glass—a coupe is a sexy choice—or a spirit with a rich, beautiful color. As with any type of mobile photography, natural light is a large chunk of the pie chart that makes up a good photograph. I will often use direct sunlight late in the day.”

Editing

"Enhance the image using an app like Snapseed (iOS and Android) or VSCO (iOS and Android). And don’t forget to enjoy the drink. Cheers!”

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user feature, In the Artist's Studio, Javier Calleja, art,

In the Artist’s Studio with @javicalleja

To see more of Javier’s work, follow @javicalleja on Instagram.

"I really hope I can make someone smile every day," says Spanish artist Javier Calleja (@javicalleja), who lives and works in Málaga. Javier’s bright, whimsical creations take the form of drawings, paintings and occasionally sculpture.

Since joining Instagram a year ago, Javier’s built a community around his playful, surreal aesthetic. “As an artist, Instagram gives me the opportunity to share my work around the world,” Javier explains. But Javier’s use of Instagram goes deeper, and he uses the platform to engage with his fans. “I’ll do art just for Instagram,” he says. “It’s a great testing ground.”

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User Feature, art, argentina,

Going 3D with @elo_____

For more photos and videos from Eloísa, follow @elo_____ on Instagram.

“I like the way I can turn my designs into something flat or three-dimensional depending on the color combination, light or point of view,” explains Argentina graphic designer Eloísa Iturbe (@elo_____).

Eloísa, who likes to maintain simplicity and neatness in her artwork, has always been interested in painting and drawing. She explains, “At first I was actually more drawn to textile design. Right after high school, I went to London for 6 months and took a textile design course there. The whole experience in London was quite amazing, as I came from a very small town in Argentina’s countryside. When I returned to Argentina, the only career I found related to textile design was fashion design, and I wasn’t interested in that, so I chose graphic design instead.”

Nowadays, Eloísa runs her own design studio in Buenos Aires and says Instagram has become a great medium for sharing her artwork. “For some time I had been longing to do other kinds of creative projects besides my work at the studio. I wasn’t exactly sure about what that looked like, but only knew it had to be away from the computer. I tried a few different things, but they never lasted. Then I found Instagram, and everything fell into place. The medium of photography suddenly felt right! I found a place to share my work and the motivation to keep it going. It’s been very inspiring and a lot of fun too!”

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user feature, poetry,

#fourpartpoems with @emolabs

For more photos from Tony’s life and poetry, follow @emolabs on Instagram.

For Texas Instagrammer Tony Ciampa (@emolabs), Instagram serves as a place where images and creative writing come together as a form of self-expression.

After moving to Texas from his native Boston, Massachusetts, Tony took to Instagram to make friends and build a community of his own—and his photos reflect their adventures together. It wasn’t until later when his experiments in poetry began.

"It was a Saturday night, and a girl I was having a fling with wasn’t texting me back, so I was just sitting out on a hill that overlooks the skyline drinking a beer. It felt like this quintessential moment in the life of a young adult, so I wrote down what was in my head, took a photo and posted it," Tony explains. "It was the first poem I’d written since high school, so it was really cool for me to see people respond positively to it." With that post, Tony’s #fourpartpoems series was born, and he’s posted a poem every day since.

As for his aesthetic, handwritten poems photographed in front of sweeping landscapes, Tony cites another artist on Instagram for the initial inspiration. “I follow @lidiagulyas on Instagram, and the photo style comes from her. She does a lot of hand lettering and in one of her photos from a few months ago she had written the phrase ‘I want you’ in a notebook and held it out in front of an out of focus cityscape. It was so moody and really stuck with me.”

Tony writes all of the poems himself, first pouring out his emotions from the day through free writing, then distilling out his rhymes from there. “In my mind,” he says “that keeps the emotion as authentic as possible.” He then embellishes them with line drawings and sets up his photo before dusk, his self-imposed deadline for posting his work.

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Sara Catherine Pierce, User Feature,

Hunting for Colors, Shadows and Reflections in Los Angeles with @sara_cath

For more of Sara’s portraits, follow @sara_cath on Instagram.

"I’ve been drawn to color and shape since a very young age. I grew up believing the best thing about school is art class and the best thing about going to stayaway camp was getting to shoot photos on a disposable camera," says Los Angeles photographer Sara Catherine Pierce (@sara_cath).

"I’ve found that I have an affinity for those three things in photography: color, shadow and reflection. I use these to highlight what I find dear to me in my every day life," she says. Often, Sara turns to her friends for her photos, snapping colorful portraits of @clickinkris, @qualiitea, @keeegman and others in Los Angeles.

"An introspective portrait can be taken anywhere if draped in beautiful light and if the color surrounding pops," she says. "Color coordination makes me giddy. I’ve been squealing a lot these days when I find a particular shade of teal to photograph!" To catalog her shadow photos, Sara also started a series of shadow portraits with the #hishadowhi hashtag.

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User Feature, mytoyplane, putaplaneonit, macau,

Chasing Toy Planes with @vnthota

For more of Varun’s photos, browse the #mytoyplane hashtag and follow @vnthota on Instagram.

As the son of a helicopter pilot, Macau Instagrammer Varun Thota (@vnthota) developed an early love for flying. “I used to play Microsoft’s Flight Simulator for hours and even used it to train for my mock pilot’s certificate as a kid,” Varun remembers.

Now in his late twenties, Varun is still simulating flight patterns but has taken to Instagram to explore his fascination with aviation in a series he calls #mytoyplane. “I decided to start the series when my dad picked up a limited edition Kinder Egg chocolate pack, which included five Airbus A330s inside them,” says Varun. Drawing inspiration from the #putaplaneonit hashtag, Varun adds, “A lot of the photos using that hashtag are quite amazing and it was interesting to see how people even blended in photos of planes with insane backgrounds. I wanted to do something similar, and the idea of using the perfectly sized Kinder Egg planes with someone holding it to add perspective was what I decided to try.”

The results are an imaginative set of photographs that playfully weave viewers through skyscrapers, city streets and the Macau countryside. When it comes to choosing his locations, Varun says, “I try to pick them when I feel they are realistic enough to have actual planes fly over or by them, so this is usually over resident buildings or estates. One of my favorites is looking up through a fire exit ladder.”

More than anything, what Varun looks forward to about the #mytoyplane series, and Instagram in general, is the relationship building: “The thing I enjoy most about the series is how fun it is to include other people in it. It’s always fun to show people the plane, tell them the story and then ask them for a helping hand in taking the shot.”

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user feature, Tibet, monks, Buddhism,

A Peek into the Life of a Tibetan Monk with @gdax

For a peek into the daily life of Tibetan monk དགེ་འདུན་དབང་ཕྱུག (Gedun Wangchuk), follow @gdax on Instagram.

དགེ་འདུན་དབང་ཕྱུག, or Gedun Wangchuk, (@gdax) is a Buddhist monk living in Tibet, where he uses Instagram to share scenes from his daily life atop one of the highest locations on earth. The region boasts an average elevation of 4,900 meters (16,000 feet) and is home to some of the world’s tallest mountains, including Mount Everest at the Nepal border to the southwest.

"Mankind shares and lives on planet Earth as one family with each continent having its own different nationalities, religions, faith, customs, unique culture and languages. But aside from such differences, we all have the same common desire for happiness," Gedun says. "That’s why Instagram, as a window to this global family, is a joy."

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User Feature, Who I follow,

#WhoIFollow: Japan’s @koshi_another_side

In the #WhoIFollow series, we ask Instagrammers to share their favorite people to follow. For more photos and videos from Koshi and his favorites, follow @koshi_another_side, @chikuwa91 and @laylah on Instagram.

For Japanese Instagrammer Koshi Nishijima (@koshi_another_side), the natural landscapes around his hometown of Fukuoka serve as his inspiration for photography. “My favorite place to shoot is Aso Kujū National Park. You can find valleys, wetlands, volcanos and grasslands with grazing animals, as well as a long strip of road that runs straight through all of this nature. It’s often quite foggy there and even icy in the winter, which brings out the mood,” he explains. He enjoys exploring nature with friends he’s met through Instagram, trying out different ideas to create surreal scenes. “I don’t shoot just to share pretty images. What I want to share is the moment and the ambiance of the time I spend with great people in my favorite places to shoot,” he says.

Koshi also experiments with his iPhone camera. “If the focus and exposure is just right, you can get very clear images and even create bokeh.” He then edits his photos based on his impression of the moment.

Looking for more natural scenes from Japan? Follow some of Koshi’s favorite Instagrammers:

  • @chikuwa91: “His work is so unique and always gives me a pleasant surprise. We go shooting together a lot, but it feels like he’s capturing things in a completely different demension.”
  • @laylah: “Her photos are just plain cool. I don’t know any other girl who takes such edgy photos.”

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Khalid Aljabri, Manama, bahrain, user feature,

Capturing the Streets and Walls of Manama, Bahrain, with @k_aljabri

For more photos and videos from Khalid’s life in Bahrain, follow @k_aljabri on Instagram.

"For the past four years, I’ve been documenting #manamasouq—the old market in the heart of Manama—and the rest of Bahrain, searching for the things we forgot or maybe have chosen to ignore,” says Bahrain Instagrammer Khalid Aljabri (@k_aljabri).

Khalid often photographs the graffiti and writing on Manama’s walls. “Once you write or draw anything on a wall it becomes something of great value. The streets are like the society’s archive,” he says. “Whether images of sorrow or joy, wisdom or pure silliness, they are all stories worth sharing.”

Khalid’s favorite place to photograph in Bahrain is the capital city, Manama. “I started wandering in the neighborhood where my late mother grew up, following her and my grandpa’s footsteps and rediscovering the beauty of the city she used to tell me about,” he explains. “I enjoy documenting the little hidden details between its tight streets and alleys because behind every corner there are generations of stories waiting to be discovered. After four years of documenting, I still feel lost in its streets and beauty.”