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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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Photography, Animals, Black and White, Oceans, shark week, scuba diving, underwater photography, how i shoot, User Feature, Instagram,

How I Shoot: Underwater Shark Photography with @michaelmuller7

For each How I Shoot, we ask an Instagrammer to tell us about their creative process. To see more of Michael’s photos from his shark expeditions, follow @michaelmuller7 and follow @discoverychannel as Michael takes over Discovery Channel’s Instagram account during Shark Week.

Michael Muller (@michaelmuller7) is on a mission to change the way we see sharks. “They are in a lot of trouble right now,” he says. “100 million are slaughtered every year, and I say slaughter because the majority of the time the shark is killed just for its fins.”

In his day job, Michael is a Hollywood-based commercial photographer renowned for his celebrity portraits and images used in box office billboards. But when he has free time, Michael devotes himself to documenting sharks in their native habitat around the world. He has even created an underwater strobe lighting system as powerful as the one in his California studio. “Realizing that I couldn’t bring the shark into the studio, I knew I would have to bring the studio to it,” he says.

The key to successful underwater shark photography, according to Michael, is staying relaxed. “Anxiety is the biggest obstacle,” he says. “If you let negative thoughts take hold then you are in for a really rough time.”

Michael uses Instagram to share images of his encounters in the deep. Here he tells us more about his process during and after his underwater excursions:

Equipment:

Phase One medium format with Nauticam, Nikon D800 with Subal Housing, Red Epic Dragon, GoPro and a “list of scuba equipment too long to enumerate.”

Vantage Point:

Because Michael rarely shoots from insides shark cages, he works closely with a team to be in the best position possible. “I have to constantly anticipate where the animal may go or do. What we look for always is what we call a ‘player,’which is a shark that is very mellow and curious that will stay around us. It is with sharks like this that magic happens.”

Shooting:

“It’s all about waiting for that right ‘moment’ to hit the trigger, which comes from 28 years experience. If you get too excited and go too fast then you miss that moment. If you wait too long you watch it happen and have the shot in your head, but no one else ever gets to witness it, so timing is everything.“

Editing:

Depending on the length of the shoot, Michael will return with between 3,000-10,000 photos. “I keep every image I take, I get rid of blank images but keep everything else,” he says. “With Instagram I usually post between 4-8 images from a particular trip.” For processing tools, Michael uses his own custom filters app MullerPhoto, and also the newest Instagram creative tools. “There are times I just go right into Instagram and just use its tools which are really getting more and more phenomenal.”

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Photography, Fashion, design, Black and White, copenhagen, cphfw, henrik vibskov, behind the scenes, current events, Instagram,

Behind the Scenes at Copenhagen Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015

To see more behind-the-scenes moments from Copenhagen Fashion Week, follow @gittestark and explore the #cphfw hashtag.

At the spring/summer 2015 shows at Copenhagen Fashion Week (@cphfw), Instagrammer Gitte Stark (@gittestark) has been applying her dramatic, somewhat melancholic style to backstage photography for V Magazine (@vmagazine). “The best part is watching the theatrical transformation of the models, seeing them rehearse and collect their thoughts before the show begins,” she says. “It makes me realize just how much work is put into staging that one moment on the runway.”

Gitte and other Instagrammers captured behind-the-scenes moments at shows by designers including Barbara I. Gongini (@barbaragongini), Henrik Vibskov (@henrikvibskov) and Mads Nørgaard (@norgaardcph). “Barbara I. Gongini is one of my favorite designers,” she says, “because of her minimalistic but extremely dramatic universe.”

“Copenhagen Fashion Week perfectly reflects its culture,” Natasha Stagg (@natasha_stagg), online editor for V Magazine, says. “It’s all about the details that slightly adjust a tried-and-true formula.”

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music, Black and White, Lollapalooza, lolla, shy girls, dan vidmar, akila fields, Photography, Instagram, user feature,

Projecting Quiet Noise with @shygirlsmusic

For more wistful photos on the road, follow @shygirlsmusic. To see more from Lollapalooza as the festival unfolds, follow @lollapalooza and browse the #lolla hashtag.

The R&B band Shy Girls (@shygirlsmusic) takes photos to match their music—soft and soulful with the occasional playful punch.

“We try to convey a sense of place and scenes from our travels,” says keyboardist Akila Fields (@sleepyvillain), who runs the band’s Instagram account. Though Shy Girls is fronted by singer-songwriter Dan Vidmar, Dan relies on Akila’s creative eye to capture important feelings and moments from their tour.

The entire feed is in black and white, which Akila prefers because of its simplicity. “It’s something we’ve been playing with from the beginning, even in our music videos,” he says of the Portland-based band, who released their first EP last year. “There is an intimacy and a quiet energy to our music that I hope translates to the photography.”

Shy Girls are also first-time performers at Chicago’s Lollapalooza (@lollapalooza) music festival this weekend, where Akila hopes to roam the event in search of interesting shots.

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Photography, Black and White, mountain climbing, mountaineering, scotland, User Feature, Instagram, edinburgh, Ruairidh McGlynn, landscape,

Mountaineering the Scottish Highlands with @ruairidhmcglynn

To view more photos and videos from Ruairidh’s mountaineering explorations of the Highlands, follow @ruairidhmcglynn on Instagram.

"In early 2013, my brother asked me if I’d like to climb a Munro in Scotland called Schiehallion (which is famous for its distinct conical shape). I took my brother up on his offer,” says Edinburgh Instagrammer Ruairidh McGlynn (@ruairidhmcglynn), of his first mountaineering experiences in the Scottish Highlands. “At 6:00AM on a typically dreich (dull and miserable) day in January, we embarked upon the journey from Edinburgh. The summit was shrouded in cloud so there was disappointment from the seasoned veterans over the lack of view. But to me that didn’t matter because it was about this great journey and story that I’d just captured. From that moment on, I was hooked.”

Ruairidh posted an image from that trip to Instagram. Now, having invested in proper equipment and conquering 40 of the 282 of Scotland’s Munros (mountains of more than 3,000 feet or 914.4 meters), he pushes himself to capture each journey to share it with others. “Instagram is the perfect tool that allows me to convey to others the beauty of the mountains,” he explains, “the journeys that I go on and the things that you can achieve when you put your mind to it. I hope to inspire people to appreciate the outdoors and to embark upon similar adventures (responsibly and safely).”

As for photo tips to share, Ruairidh adds, “Where possible, I always like to include people to give a sense of scale and adventure balanced with dramatic weather and light, which more often than not is never far away in Scotland.”

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Art, fashion, style, minimal, madelynn furlong, wide eyed legless, Black and White, user feature, Instagram, photography,

Balancing Minimalism and Whimsy with @wideeyedlegless

For more of Madelynn’s beautifully crisp photos, follow @wideeyedlegless on Instagram.

Years ago, artist Madelynn Furlong (@wideeyedlegless) turned to Instagram in search of a new creative outlet. Madelynn is now a successful designer, stylist and blogger in Minneapolis, and her photos on Instagram continue as an expression of her art, refined into a casually elegant, almost black-and-white style.

"Over the past few years I have been slowly rooting myself in minimalism," she explains, "and my feed isn’t the only thing that has turned basically black and white—my house and wardrobe both have as well!" Although her photos often feature sleek interiors and crisp fashions, Madelynn says that it’s her own personality that makes her work special: "I focus on contrast, clean lines and the rule of thirds—but still with a heavy dose of whimsy because that is what makes me, me. When it comes down to it, just take pictures of things that you think are beautiful and inspire you. That’s all that truly matters!"

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photography, black and white, shadow, documentary, tehran, User Feature, Instagram,

Finding the Drama of Light and Shadow in Tehran with @f64s125

For more of Ako’s street images from Tehran, follow @f64s125 on Instagram.

In the nooks and crannies of Tehran’s streets, photojournalist Ako Salemi (@f64s125) finds the moments when light, shadow, environment and people all come together in exquisite balance. “Sometimes I shoot just from the hip,” says Ako, “and sometimes I wait for ‘the decisive moment’ when the action, the light and all other elements make the right composition.”

Ako’s passion for black and white images began at an early age when he discovered a love for the classic films of Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, and Ingmar Bergman. He even graduated with a degree in drama hoping to be a filmmaker. But it was his shy demeanor and introverted character that led him to realize that he is better suited to what he calls “an art that can be made in solitude.”

Ako began expressing his visual ideas through photography and for the past two years has turned to Instagram to share his vision of street life in Tehran. “It’s as if I am having a non-judgmental dialogue with each of these Instagram friends that could not be expressed in words. I’m showing a piece of my city’s life and a piece of me.”

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illustration, art, art on tumblr, Artists on Tumblr, Black and White, david bowie, photography, Instagram, User Feature,

@elenikalorkoti’s Strange and Stylish Illustrations

For more chicly drawn sorceresses, witches and space travelers, follow @elenikalorkoti.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Eleni Kalorkoti’s (@elenikalorkoti) inspiration for the strange and stylish characters she illustrates comes from eclectic sources including ’70s cinema, “Columbo” and dance costumes by Oskar Schlemmer. “Last week I went to see a David Bowie exhibition,” she says, “and now I want to draw everyone wearing quilted jumpsuits.”

For Eleni, Instagram provides an opportunity to share inspiration as well as works in progress. “It’s nice to get some feedback on something after working on it alone in your room all day,” she says. “It’s also a great place to share someone else’s work and hopefully send some new people their way.”

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Black and White, art, Artists on Tumblr, shantell martin, photography, In the Artist's Studio, Instagram,

Follow the Pen of @shantell_martin

To see more of Shantell’s life and work, follow @shantell_martin on Instagram.

Blank canvases were once intimidating for the artist Shantell Martin (@shantell_martin), whose black-and-white work travels across surfaces from crisp white shirts to refrigerator doors. “I used to worry, ‘what if I make a mistake?’” she says. “Then I realized that it’s all a big mistake. You just have to enjoy it.”

Shantell’s advice for artists who are facing the beginning of a project is simple: “Just follow the pen and hope that the pen knows where it’s going.”

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Black and White, photography, music, bonnaroo, Summer Music Festivals, ryan mastro, Instagram,

How I Shoot: Capturing Concerts with @ryan_mastro

For each How I Shoot, we ask an Instagrammer to tell us about their creative process. For more of Ryan’s behind-the-scenes perspective on music, follow @ryan_mastro on Instagram.

This year the Connecticut photographer Ryan Mastro (@ryan_mastro) will shoot Bonnaroo (@Bonnaroo) for the ninth time. “It’s become a summer tradition,” he says. “I get to document artists who are doing what they love and be surrounded by more than 80,000 like-minded people.”

Music has always been a big part of Ryan’s life. “I started shooting shows as a student in Montana,” he says. “I’m interested in capturing the energy and emotion of a band as well as the lighting and other visuals they’ve chosen to present with their music.”

Here are Ryan’s tips for capturing the perfect picture of a performance:

Camera

"I use an iPhone 5s but still shoot mostly film and every year I like to try something new."

Vantage Point

"Behind the drum kit is the place to be. I also fly in a helicopter for some aerial photos, which is quite a view! If you’re shooting from the crowd, focus on the atmosphere rather than the bands. At Bonnaroo there’s a lot of off-stage visual stimulation.”

Shooting

"I’m a Libra so I like balance. I’m comfortable shooting high-energy performances, but I also like to set up the tripod at night for some long-exposure, landscape-type work."

Editing

"For mobile, I use Hipstamatic. For film, all of what I do is ‘in-camera’ so there is not much to do in Photoshop.”

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weekend hashtag project, whpblackandwhitevideo, Black and White,

Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPblackandwhitevideo

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.

This weekend’s tag was #WHPblackandwhitevideo, which asked participants to capture creative videos in black and white. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.