Creative Connection

The perfect Instagram image: searching reflections and having lots of patience

Erik Hageman was born 35 years ago in a Dutch town near the North Sea shore. He thinks that may be the reason why he is so fascinated by landscapes, symmetry and above all, reflections. Erik is an online marketer at Akzo Nobel and worked as a content coordinator at a travel agency before that. At the beginning of 2014, Erik started to shoot pictures with his mobile. In his role as content coordinator, he noticed there was always a need for suitable landscape pictures. That’s when he decided to shoot his own pictures. Now, Erik makes crazy beautiful pictures and posts them on Instagram, with a follower base of 76.6k followers. We wanted to know everything about his passion for photography and asked him what is his secret behind those beautiful pictures.

Cityscapes, architecture and landscapes
Erik’s favorite topics to shoot are cityscapes, architecture and landscapes (without people). His interest for these topics were fueled by different travel destinations, like the mighty cities of Dubai, New York and Hong Kong. On Erik’s Instagram, you can find many different countries. “I am always searching for the perfect lines and outstanding curves. I love mountains and tall buildings. Although my home country, The Netherlands does not have mountains, I love the Dutch windmills and old Dutch houses.”


Why Instagram?
“I am proud of my work and love to share what I create. Instagram is the perfect place to share, because it is a happy place. I have met a lot of lovely people there with the same passion for photography.”

What makes a photo ‘Instagram worthy’?
“I love natural light as well as artificial light. Maybe natural light a bit more, because it’s unpredictable. Speaking of this light: the perfect picture is Instagram worthy when it is above standard, taken on the exact right moment during the day. That means in the morning at or just after sunrise or at night before dawn. The other advantage of shooting early in the morning is that the sky is clear. Also, the water is less wrinkly, in case I want to turn a reflection into the hero of my picture.”

Do you have other tips for creating ‘Instagram worthy’ pics?
“The most important thing is to cherish the moment of ultimate happiness while taking the shots. Other tips and tricks I suggest:

Try to stay as close to the ground or water as possible. The view is so much better when you keep your lens at the lowest position possible.

So now and then, use a wide-angle lens. You will be surprised by the effects.


Always shoot in portrait mode. That way, you can make the most of the space Instagram offers you to place the picture.

And finally, my most valuable piece of advice: have lots and lots of patience. It can take a whole morning to shoot that perfect picture where just everything in the frame is perfect.

Post processing: do or don’t?
“Definitely a do. You can bring up certain colors or remove noise from a picture. For instance: if a sky is a bit grey instead of bright blue (I just love blue tones), you can easily add more blue tones with Lightroom. But there are clear don’ts in editing photos. It is not done to paste a bird in a sky that wasn’t there before. It often feels so unnatural.If you deliberately want to add or paste objects into your composition, just make it clear you are creating a piece of art, instead of a landscape photo. Just to come back to the last tip I gave: have patience, patience, patience. Just wait for that bird to fly by or that person to walk in the frame at the exact right moment. It will definitely pay off.”

Try some of Erik’s tips to bring out the best in your summer photos. Every week in August, we’ll be sharing top editing tips to help you bring out the best in your summer photos. Show off what you’ve learned. Share your shots using #ShineThisSummerBenelux and you’ll be in with a chance to win a pocket photo printer.

Creative Photography, Photography

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