Austin Texas, or ATX, is a true mecca for creatives, entrepreneurs, students, foodies and musicians. And speaking of musicians, live music is so pervasive in Austin it’s dubbed the “Live Music Capital of the World.” However, during my travels I quickly learned that Austinites do not take themselves too seriously – and that’s what keeps the city’s cool factor in check.
From the wide spectrum of music, film, and interactive festivals like South By Southwest (SXSW) and the upcoming Austin City Limits, to the plethora of delish restaurants, funky art and cultural scenes, beautiful dog-friendly parks, and even meditation flash mobs, most Austinites agree that ATX is best showcased visually. Here are some of Austin’s most innovative photographers (in no particular order) and their IG accounts to guide you through this wonderfully weird city.
Sid & Alex
Austin’s premier canine photog Alex Hopes and his dog Sid are often found in ATX’s famous Zilker Park photographing some of the cutest creatures you ever did see. “When I adopted Sid, he became a catalyst for my photography career. He was a model that would never say no,” explains Hopes.
Hopes then moved from Iowa to Austin, “I decided to finally push myself, bought a camera I couldn’t afford, and after a very rough start, started making money doing marketing and travel photography. I thought, if I could make good money in Austin doing this, why not travel to gorgeous destinations and do the same thing.”
But the universe had other plans. Hopes explains, “The day I sold everything in preparation to move to Croatia Sid was hit by a car, it was devastating. He went through extensive surgery, in fact, his followers donated 10K in one day to help with the medical bills (full story here).”
Sid eventually recovered, and Hopes decided to take a trip with his canine co-pilot to White Sands New Mexico. One night during the vacation Hopes recalls, “I was running around naked under a bright full moon and decided the entire experience with Sid was the universe telling me I was headed in the right direction.” From that point on, a wonderful 15,000-mile documented journey with Sid began, a book about the experience was published, and eventually ZilkerBark Photography was born.
So why photograph other people’s dogs and not just Sid? “I never will run out of content,” states Hopes. He also offers this quick tip for successful dog photos, “Always maintain motion, and dogs are afraid of the shutter so familiarize them with the camera beforehand.” Hopes uses a Canon 6D. You can also follow Sid’s popular IG handle @myregalbeagle. After all, he is Austin’s Dog Mayor.
Austin-based photographer Matt Crump uses his candy-colored minimalist style to showcase landmarks in Austin and throughout the Nation. American symbols are delightfully transformed into a 1950’s whimsical IG feed that provides a unique take on the ordinary.
Drone Over Austin
Using an array of Phantom drones, some he designs himself, aerial/freelance photographer Jared Tennant takes photos and videos to showcase Austin’s spectacular cityscape, live events, and international travel. Here’s his latest video capturing Austin’s Fourth of July fireworks using his DJI Phantom 4.
When asked for a few simple tips to know while traveling and working with drones Tennant advises, “There are so many things to think about when traveling with your drone, and some TSA are still not aware of the new laws and rules that went into effect recently, so it’s best to bring the updated rules with you. And always be polite, patient, and transparent, especially when dealing with international security.”
Photo: Sara Marjorie Strick
Audiophiles take note: Do512.com or “Do awesome stuff in Austin” is considered THE definitive online guide and IG photography feed for everything music from SXSW, Austin City Limits, and South Congress Street live music venues to all festivals and bars in between. One of @Do512 photo contributors is the talented Sara Marjorie Strick @saramarjorie. Her photos (shown) capture the essence of some of the best live music ATX has to offer.
Photo: Sara Marjorie Strick
Warning: the following images will undoubtedly make you hungry. Austin-based food and lifestyle photographer Nicolai McCrary strongly feels, “food has become increasingly accepted as a legitimate means of creative expression and more than just sustenance.” Most of McCrary’s IG feed is shot with his iPhone 6. However, his professional work is shot with a Canon 6D and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 or Canon 100mm f/2.8L lens.
When asked for a quick tip to great food photography McCrary believes, “It’s important to understand the key elements in a dish and figure out how to best showcase those. Lighting is important. Overhead lights tend to cast shadows, whereas softer and more diffused light, typically lends itself to better images.”
McCrary also does a lot of his own cooking, “This photo (above) is one of my favorites from a popup dinner series I’ve been working on in Austin. It’s a koji-rubbed flank steak, miso-cured egg yolk, and coconut cream curry sauce with Thai chili and basil.”
McCrary also states, “The BBQ at La BBQ is arguably among the best in the country, and this spread was no exception. This photo (above) was taken after wrapping up a photoshoot at the La BBQ smokers.” See more @thenicolai.
Austin’s state capital building during flash mob meditation “Om the Dome.”
Austin-based photog Daniel Davis is a prolific photographer/videographer. Besides his incredible talents behind the camera, his IG feed showcases his mystical adventures as an avid traveler/adventurer “who thrives on constantly being challenged by new experiences.” Davis uses a Sony a7S II for most of his work.
Burning Man festival
The Deep In The Hearts of Austin (@Deepatx) photo series project is an emerging collection of the great people of Austin and their amazing stories. Photographer Suzanne Pressman continually adds deeply moving, humorous, and inspirational stories and images to her IG feed daily. An in-depth article on Pressman’s photo series project will be featured soon.
According to Austin’s multifaceted photographer Geoff Duncan, “My style and ever-evolving body of work can be described as eclectic and riddled with juxtapositions; much like myself.” Couldn’t agree more; check out his IG feed for more funky musician photos, quirky engagement poses, and cool ironic images.
If you love architecture and/or have a serious case of wanderlust, Austin-based travel and architectural photographer Chase Daniel will fill your needs with his wide-range of commercial, landscape, and interior IG photos. Daniel’s quick tip when shooting architectural and beautifully designed spaces, “Have a balanced photo with straightened verticals.” He shoots his subjects with a Sony a7II (Zeiss16-35mm lens) and his iPhone.
Photo: Ashley Laughlin
The photos curated on @bestfoodaustin, run by MyFab5 Austin, Ashley Laughlin and other community leaders, are a true feast for the eyes. Austin’s known for it’s culinary delights from long-time staples such as Kerby Lane Cafe, Torchy’s Tacos and limitless BBQ to vegan cafes, Thai trailers and new upscale dining. This IG account is a fantastic guide to Austin’s best restaurants, food trucks, specialty cafes and more.
A special thanks to all the photographers who took time to speak with Lumoid, and to the City of Austin for welcoming me with open arms. Stay weird, stay wonderful Austin.
All images copyright of their respective owners.