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Inspirations >> Photos & People

Learn How to Take Shareworthy Instagram Shots with Julian Cheong


Your Instagram represents your visual personality ­– it could be pertaining to food, landscape, fashion, or just your everyday life. By creating the right kind of look you can gain followers who appreciate your style and want to know more about you and your content, just like how Singaporean Instagrammer Julian Cheong (@julian_cheong) did. We speak with him to discuss style, photography, equipment, and how to create a stunning gallery of photos.

hongkong street traffic

EOS 5D Mark III, EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens, f/4, 35mm, 1/640sec, ISO100

What would you call the style of yours?

While I started out doing street photography, I find myself shooting a lot more photos of landscapes and my travels these days. I also do enjoy the occasional portrait shoot.

old man with turban

EOS 5D Mark III, EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens, f/1.4, 35mm, 1/2000sec, ISO100

What is the trick to taking beautiful landscape photos especially for Instagram?

Make full use of Instagram’s crop ratio. Ever since Instagram allowed users to upload photos in landscape and portrait orientation, we’ve seen a lot more photos posted in portrait orientation. This is so because photos posted in the portrait orientation appear bigger and occupy more screen space. With that in mind, when out shooting, it’s always good to visualise how the photo is going to appear when you post it on Instagram.

Up your Instagram game with tips on How to Give Your Instagram a Unique Identity.

How do you create and plan a stunning Instagram gallery like yours? Do you shoot spontaneously or is it thoroughly planned?

If I have an idea in mind, or a certain shot I want to capture, I will do some research on the location and the best times to do so. If need be, I’ll do a storyboard to help me get said shot. But on a normal day, I will just go to a general location, walk around and observe my surroundings; sometimes taking photos, sometimes appreciating the moment.


EOS 5D Mark III, EF 11-24mm f/4L USM, f/4, 11mm, 30 secs, ISO5000

You have a specific range of colours and tones in your Instagram photos, could you share more details with us?

My favourite times of the day to shoot at are during sunrise and sunset, and living in Singapore, the golden hour lasts for only about 15 minutes. Hence, editing my photos in the teal and orange look allows me to replicate the golden hour (warm orange light against a blue sky) when I have to shoot at other times of the day. The contrasting colours of teal and orange also creates a sense of depth in my images.

Learn how to shoot your subject beautifully during the golden hour in Capture the Fiery, Vibrant Colours of Sunrise.

Do you plan what to post on Instagram or do you post whatever/whenever you like?

I don’t really have a schedule of what to post and when, but I usually post once a day. However, I try to post photos that are similar in tone and colours to keep the feed aesthetically pleasing.

singapore skyline

EOS 5D Mark III, EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens, f/1.4, 35mm, 30 secs, ISO100

What camera equipment do you use?

Canon EOS 5D Mark III with EF 11-24mm f/4L USM, EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lenses. My go-to lens for everyday use is the EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens.

Which photo is your favourite, and why?

I don’t really have a favourite photo. I like them all that’s why they’re on my feed. But if I’m hard-pressed to pick one, I would choose the one photo I took in India with the lady looking at me out the window of a bus. It was just a passing glance, but everything from the framing to the moment came together perfectly.

crowded train in india

EOS 5D Mark III, EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens, f/1.4, 35mm, 1/2000sec, ISO500

Where do you find inspiration from to create a constant flow of content?

Inspiration can come from anywhere. For me, I find being in nature to be inspiring. I also draw inspiration from photographers I follow on Instagram.

Start from the basics with How to Take Better Instagram Photos with a Mirrorless Camera.

man running by a lake

EOS 5D Mark III, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, f/4.0, 65mm, 1/100sec, ISO4000

What is one advice you’d give to aspiring photographers who are creating or recreating their Instagram account?

It took me some time and lots of practice to find out what I’m good at, so never be afraid to experiment with different styles and genres. But most importantly, and as cliché as it sounds, just have fun and enjoy what you’re photographing!



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