With its enticing visual display, array of face-flattering filters and instant-gratification sharing ability, its no wonder that Instagram has become the choice social media app of millennials across the globe. Since its introduction in 2010, the photography app quickly gained mass popularity, currently with over 150 million monthly users. But amidst the feeds of gratuitous #selfies and plated #foodporn, a few artistic gems remain to be seen, harboring feeds that are not just an extension of Facebook pages, but are true cohesive projects with distinct artistic aesthetics.
One of those artists (or visual journalists) is Melissa Adames, known to her 11,500+ followers as LULAMELISSA—a true Instagram Maven and VSCO Cam Goddess. With a beautiful, fluid feed, this Fashion Institute of Technology grad shows a peaceful New York City from her point of view, through sunlit shots of brownstones and brick buildings, artfully executed lattes and street style shots of her low-key (yet totally cool) outfits. two+seven caught up with Melissa to find out a little bit more about her Instagram, and what she does when she’s not posting gorgeous pics of city sights (she’s a paralegal by day,who would have thought!). Read on for our exclusive interview, and don’t forget to follow Melissa at @LULAMELISSA!
two+seven: Give us some background: what inspired you to create your Instagram?
Melissa Adames: I started my Instagram right when the app first came out just about three years ago. At the time, Instagram was really only used for photography purposes from the photos I came across. The people that I have been following since then inspired me to use my feed in the same way, and I still follow some of them today!
2+7: With over 11,000 followers, you definitely have an undeniable presence on Instagram! What do you think it is about your feed that users love so much?
MA: I get this question a lot, and it’s always a little tricky to answer! But I personally think what attracts people to my Instagram are my photos as a whole. I like to have a nice flow to my photos, and edit them in a way where they go together. I think it helps that I live in a great city like NYC with visual inspiration literally everywhere. I also think a big thing that I notice: some people have no interaction with their followers. It’s so nice that people take the time out of their day to leave a comment on my photo, and it’s also a great reassurance that they actually do like the photos I’m posting. I always try to respond to my followers whether it’s a simple thank you or answering how I edit my photos.
2+7: Your feed has a unified, definitive look to it. Tell us a little more about your aesthetic and photography style.
MA: I would describe my Instagram style as a visual journal. I love to share with my followers the beautiful things I see every day, like an apartment building or a new coffee shop I went to. I also like to show them what inspires me so I’ll post photos of magazine covers or a cool display I saw at a store. I might decide not to post a photo due to poor lighting/quality, so I’ll sacrifice that in order to keep a good flow on my profile. When I’m able to control the photo, I think placement and lighting is key, but otherwise I’ll just randomly snap a photo of something that catches my eye and hope for the best in the editing process. The VSCO Cam app works wonders! The filters have great quality and there are so many features that you are able to change up in your photos.
2+7: What does Melissa do when she’s not Instagramming?
MA: When I’m not Instagramming I’m doing the usual 9-5 job. I work at a law firm as a paralegal in the Empire State Building (great perk about working so high up is I’m always able to get some great shots of the view). If not there, then I’m doing yoga in the East Village, meeting up with friends to wander around city, trying out new places to eat, and going to concerts. I’m also a big fan of tumblr and pinterest for creativity so I try to set up a little time in my day after work to go on either site for inspiration as well.
2+7: Where do you see the future of your feed taking you? Where do you want it to go?
MA: I would love my feed to keep opening doors for me. So far I did an event with a photography studio last year which was one of the best experiences I’ve had. I also have met so many great people through Instagram. I know when I say this to some people, they get really skeptical, but Instagram has become a community where photographers, artists, designers, and bloggers can all connect with each other. Of the people I met, I can honestly say that all have been so inspiring, genuinely nice, and have taught me so much. I keep in touch and have become great friends with all of them to this day. We like to meet up and plan photo shoots around the city, it’s really fun! It’s so refreshing to meet people who share the same interest of instagram photo taking as I do.
I would love for my Instagram to always be evolving. I like to look back on my photos to see how it began, and how I’ve changed my photo editing style. I try not to focus so much if I gain or lose followers because I want Instagram to stay as the creative outlet that I love to use everyday.