SINGAPORE - Everybody can take a photo of the famous bathhouses on Brighton Beach, but a good photographer often plans his shoot and edits the shot to the most minute detail.
Instagram is a treasure trove of talented travel photographers and one great thing about the online platform is its openness.
You don't have to own a professional camera to take amazing photos. This has revolutionised the photo-sharing community in a way to become more inclusive.
Whether you like it or not, Instagram looks set to stay, and today we are giving the stage to these 10 rising photographers. With strong voices, visual styles and interesting story snippets, scrolling through their feeds is an adventure in itself.
Check out their photos here:
1. Aisyah Ariffin
Instagram handle: @foxinthsnw
Photo: Aisyah Ariffin
How far would you go for a picture? For this landscape photographer, the answer might just be off the edge of a waterfall.
Aisyah had a near-death experience while taking photos from the top of Godafass Waterfall in Iceland: "I slipped on the icy rocks and fell. My iPhone dropped out of my pocket and while trying to retrieve it I slipped further and almost rolled down into the waterfall."
As part of the cabin crew with Singapore Airlines, Aisyah has been to far-flung destinations like Tibet and has reveled in the warmth hospitality of Bolivia. But Iceland, with its vast expanse of natural landscape, remains her favorite place to shoot.
Aisyah shoots mostly with a Lumix GF7 and her iPhone 6. It's not all #nonfilter though as she swears by the popular photo-editing app VSCO.
2. Alvin Ng
Instagram handle: @alvinnzh
Photo: Alvin Ng
Some would recognize Alvin from his Instagram handle, as one of the photographers behind blogger Christabel Chua's photos. He has taken part in many collaborations on social media, a recognition of his raw talent and sharp eye for light, shadows and composition.
The 24-year-old Design Communications student at Lasalle College of the Arts is also a freelance travel and adventure photographer. His main source of inspiration lies in his music playlist and location ambience.
Although he prefers shooting landscapes like forests and mountainous areas, he dabbles in street photography too. He told AsiaOne how he once got harassed for money by a fake Sadhu - an Indian holy man.
Alvin said: "He noticed me taking a photo of him from afar. (It) took about 5-10 minutes of intense hand signs and Indian and English conversation before he gave up and moved along."
3. Anne Lee
Instagram handle: @annopano
Photo: Anne Lee
"Following a theme is boring and limiting", says Anne, a Korean who grew up in Singapore. Her advice? "Go out and take photos of anything and everything that catches your attention. "
For the 22-year-old, nothing says spontaneity more than that, and it shows in her photos. She recalled taking a candid photograph of a man feeding his girlfriend in a café in Korea. "I later found out that one of them was leaving Seoul and was heading to another city so I was happy I got to capture this moment for them in a photo."
That said, the Ewha Woman's University student makes it a point to keep an eye out for bright spaces and sunlight, and occasionally plays around with shadows and reflections on water and glass.
Of all the places she has travelled to, Tokyo remains her favorite place to photograph for its fascinating street life, architecture and unpredictability.
4. Ashley Matthew Teo
Instagram handle: @potato_graphy
Photo: Ashley Matthew Teo
18-year-old Ashley has been mistaken for a traffic policeman several times while on a photo hunt for light trails, because of his tripod set-up on sidewalks or overhead bridges.
The Visual Effects diploma student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic has a simple mantra: "I see, I shoot, I post." This applies to his pet genres of landscape and architecture which feature throughout his feed.
While he is handy with a professional camera, Ashley prefers the convenience of capturing Instagram shots with his handphone.
He said: "Shooting with a DSLR requires you to travel home first and exporting the image before sharing it, but the best camera is the one you have with you."
5. Ashok Kumar
Instagram handle: @zomgitsashok
Photo: Ashok Kumar
Ashok, a Venue Executive at the Singapore Sports Hub, started experimenting with sunset shots when he first took to Instagram.
He has since moved on to street photography, a genre that throws him in sticky situations and "stealth mode" most of the time, especially during shoots in his favorite hangout, Chinatown.
He recounted an incident in Ho Chi Minh City where he took a photo of a man peddling donuts on his head. After taking his picture, the man asked for US$1 as a 'modeling fee'.
For Ashok, taking a good picture is not complete without post-processing. He said: "Learning how the camera works is very important and finding its strengths are vital. Fiddling around with the settings and using photo editing apps like Snapseed and VSCO definitely helps (to improve) the picture quality."
6. Calvin Seah
Instagram handle: @calvinseah
Photo: Calvin Seah
For professional photographer Calvin, taking pictures with a handphone goes beyond the simple "point, frame, and shoot". He angles and positions his handphone "like a prime lens" to "simplify the composition" before using the Snapseed app to edit his pictures.
The 37-year-old alumnus from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts has had his fair share of hits and misses while chasing light though. He once set up his gear at the Supertree Groves at Gardens by the Bay to capture golden and blue sky - the evening hues before the sun sets - but clouds soon thwarted his attempt.
The minute he packed up, the daily light show began and he scrambled to set up again for the shoot. He said: "From then on, I will always do my research before going to a unknown location or event to get myself well prepared."
Calvin's go-to photo spot in Singapore would be Marina Bay, a handy location to practice shooting architecture with stunning views of the sunrise. For overseas destinations, he recommends Santorini, Greece. Although the location is heavily photographed, it remains charming with its endless whitewashed houses and mesmerizing horizon.
7. Chrystal Lim
Instagram handle: @chrystlm
Photo: Chrystal Lim
Like Alvin and Ashok, freelance photographer Chrystal Lim has been confronted by unwilling photo subjects.
She had been snapping photos on the streets in Japan when she was stopped and questioned by an unhappy woman who wanted her photo deleted.
Chrystal pursued Landscape Architecture while studying in Singapore Polytechnic and has a keen eye for good landscapes, architecture, industrial spots and even museums.
The 20-year-old's Instagram feed also shows that she is good at portraiture. Her subjects are often captured with the right balance of light, shadow and composition processed by the VSCO editing app.
8. Keith Lim
Instagram handle: @fivefreeminutes
Photo: Keith Lim
Keith's Instagram feed is an eclectic mix of museum architecture, nature and street photography around Singapore. The expressive album describes the arty, sporty man himself.
The 27-year-old Segment Manager at OCBC likes to keep his feed open-ended and isn't afraid to experiment. He once went on a photo-hunt at the abandoned palace Istana Woodneuk where "a friendly bee gave (him) a very swollen ear."
Like all budding photographers, Keith scoured through Instagram to learn how to hone the craft. He said: "I think exposure to beautiful images and things over time will improve your own sense of aesthetics. Needless to say, you can be inspired by a whole lot more than the things on Instagram."
The avid traveller who regularly visits Japan and has summited several of the highest peaks in Indonesia, maintains that Singapore remains his favorite photo destination for its vibrant mix of both nature and city life.
9. Mathieu Beth Tan
Instagram handle: @redwashed
Photo: Mathieu Beth Tan
Bucking the trend and delving into the abstract world of conceptual photography, is 25-year-old Mathieu Tan.
Conceptual photography, Mathieu explains, is art-inspired photography, a genre most telling in his vivid, sometimes abstract portraitures and landscapes.
The recent graduate from National University of Singapore (NUS) shoots mainly with a professional camera, and doesn't shy away from discomfort to get a good picture.
Mathieu had once climbed two hours up a hill to photograph a volcano in Indonesia, but it started to pour. He persisted and braved the bad weather with an umbrella over his head, ignoring curious stares from all around.
10. Vivien Tan
Instagram handle: @vivtanshithui
Photo: Vivien Tan
Friends, family and beautiful strangers - at one glance, Vivien's photo feed is a joy to look at, with intimate portrayals of relationships, nature and candid interactions among strangers.
The 23-year-old Art, Design and Media student from Nanyang Technological University, recounts an amazing story of friendship that blossomed as part of a school photo project.
For her assignment, Vivien had to take a series of photographs with a stranger. She picked a German exchange student who quickly became a bosom friend. Both ladies were so close that they arranged to go on an overseas stint together in Europe!
Needless to say, one of her favorite locations for a photo hunt would be in Salzburg, Europe for the precious memories and natural landscape.
When not shooting on her camera, Vivien uses her iPhone and the Afterlight photo editing app.
She shares a handy tip: "I also like to lock the focus (by holding down onto the screen) to take candid burst shots because I like natural expressions."
AsiaOne Travel Instagram contest
Starting from April 11, AsiaOne Travel will be hosting a fortnightly Instagram contest with $50 shopping vouchers to be won. Contestants may submit up to three entries along with interesting stories, according to the chosen theme of the week.
Each contest will start on Monday and close at 11.59pm on Sunday.
Every two weeks, the three best photos and new theme for the week will be announced and featured on the AsiaOne Travel Instagram account and in an article on the website.
Follow us on @asiaone.travel to get updates on the contest dates and themes!
The theme for the April 11 contest is "Interesting Travel Encounters", which can be anything from flamboyant characters to friendly animals. Hashtag #asiaonetravelsnapsEncounters in your entries.
How to submit an entry:
1. Follow @asiaone.travel on Instagram
2. Tag us and include the relevant hashtag of the week in all three entries.
3. Photo entries must be accompanied with a compelling story description.
4. Participants must live in Singapore.
5. Participants must reset privacy settings to public for us to view submissions.
Anyone can take a good photo, but it's the story behind it that counts.
Let's hear yours.