Social media algorithms can be an enigma. With updates and additions to each app, it feels like they are constantly changing! Nowadays, Instagram Reels are all the rage – they seem to truly be the best way to be seen and found on Instagram. This poses a challenge for photographers and filmmakers alike. In both cases, IG Reels are not the ideal aspect ratio for sharing work. On the photography side, it’s challenging to make images work in a primarily video format. On the video side, this is the rise of the dreaded vertical video and condensing pieces into 90 seconds or less. But never fear…leading creators are always up for a creative challenge. Check out the creative ways these photographers, creators, and movers and shakers are sharing their work within the IG Reel setup and follow their accounts for more! Tag your own Sony shots and videos on Instagram with #SonyAlpha for the chance to be featured on AlphaUniverse.com, and give @sonyalpha a follow for your daily dose of creative inspiration.
While a great way to be seen and found on Instagram, the format for Instagram Reels poses a creative challenge. Take your IG Reels game up a notch with inspiration from creators who have accepted the challenge of the format and are sharing their work via vertical video.
Cristina Mittermeier – @Mitty
Cristina Mittermeier is a Sony Artisan and co-founder of SeaLegacy – a nonprofit that harnesses the power of storytelling for ocean conservation. Her Instagram page is full of stunning images from her adventures with SeaLegacy. SeaLegacy has also partnered with Sony Alpha to share the SeaLegacy | The Voyage series on YouTube about their conservation storytelling adventures. On Instagram, Cristina shares video footage from her work that she or the Co-Founder of SeaLegacy and Sony Artisan Paul Nicklen shot. It’s a great way to feel like you are in the ocean right next to them.
Erin Sullivan – @ErinOutdoors
Erin Sullivan of the Alpha Collective is a miniature, outdoor, and travel photographer. In 2014 she started her ErinOutdoors blog where she shared her travels. It helped her rediscover her love for photography and she’s been sharing her adventures with the world ever since. Her account is great to learn a ton about photography from a pro. To reach her audience through reels, Erin hops on popular trends and gives it her personal twist. We love the humor in this one, that any photographer can relate to!
Jeremy Cohen – @jeremycohen
NYC-based photographer and Alpha Collective member Jeremy Cohen is a must-follow on TikTok and Instagram. He has become a master at short form narrative, and vertical storytelling. He documents what’s going on in New York City, from his rooftop, from the streets or fully immersed in its happenings. He went out on Valentine's Day and photographed New Yorkers with flowers using his Sony Alpha 1 and the Sony 35mm f/1.4. We love the results! They are not only technically beautiful portraits but they are also such sweet images of Valentine’s day! Learn more about creating vertical videos from Jeremy Cohen in How To Create Attention-Grabbing Vertical Photo & Video Content.
Gina Danza – @wildgina
Gina Danza is a nature photographer, visual storyteller and member of the Alpha Collective. She takes an approach to photography that includes connecting with nature and getting in touch with her emotional side, something that is reflected through her imagery and makes it stand out. To make her Reels stand out, Gina is sharing “Botany Bites,” which are short videos she put together showcasing a specific plant as well as images she’s made with her Sony Alpha 7R IV. We love the combination of stills, video and voiceover.
Scott Kranz - @scott_kranz
Scott Kranz is based in Seattle and a member of the Alpha Collective. He’s become well-known for his outstanding travel images, and long treks through the mountains. Check out his travel photography tips HERE. We love the Reel he shared below, that feels like a mini wildlife and nature film! Scott utilizes vertical video very well in this post – follow him to see what he creates next.
Caroline Jensen – @carolinej
Sony Artisan Caroline Jensen specializes in flower photography. Many of Caroline’s images look and feel like a painting, and a lot of that comes down to how she’s lit the shot. We love how she’s using Instagram Reels to showcase a bit of behind the scenes of her work. In this case, she just took a simple phone photo that shows how small her subject was in comparison to her strobe lights. This gives the viewer a sense of how challenging this photo was. Caroline explains that she had to switch to using speedlights instead of strobes paired with her Sony Alpha 7R V and her Sony 90mm f/2.8 Macro G lens.
Nate Luebbe – @nateinthewild
Photographer and Alpha Collective member Nate Luebbe posts bold and colorful landscapes, astroscapes, wildlife, timelapses and more on his Instagram account. He is using a different technique to work around the aspect ratio rule on IG Reels. Instead of shooting or editing vertical video, Nate has split the screen into thirds, where he can show three videos at once. This also allows for some interesting ways to share sequences. Nate is sharing a variety of timelapses and we love seeing all the moody colors move across the screen.
Tiffany Nguyen – @tiffpenguin
Tiffany Nguyen is a California-based member of Alpha Collective. If you follow her globetrotting Instagram it might be hard to believe this adventurous landscape and lifestyle photographer who also teaches workshops around the world does a variety of commercial work for global brands, and when she’s not making photos, she’s a dentist! She’s been using Instagram Reels to give advice and tips on traveling, gear, and photography. In the video below, she shares her top tips for making great images. She also shares the Sony gear that helps make this happen including the Sony Alpha 1, Sony Alpha 7 IV, Sony Alpha 7R III, Sony Alpha 7R IV and a variety of Sony lenses.
Rachel Jones Ross – @rachel_jones_ross
Rachel Jones Ross is a landscape and astrophotographer based in the Canadian Rockies. The Alpha Collective member has a ton of experience hiking out into the cold to capture spectacular images of the mountains and surrounding landscape. She is well-known for her images of the aurora and she’s been able to translate that skill well into Instagram Reels. In her Reels she makes videos of the auroras and shares them along with fun facts or beautiful music. Seeing the lights dance across the sky is a remarkable experience and the Reels allow people to experience it, even if they can’t physically be there.
Carlton Ward Jr. – @carltonward
Carlton Ward Jr. is a conservation photographer and National Geographic Explorer whose passion for nature was born from the Florida landscape. His mission is to inspire appreciation and protection of Florida’s original nature and culture – the endangered wildness that is often hidden in plain sight but very much needs our attention to be saved. He recently co-produced a film (now on Disney +) about his quest to photograph panthers in Florida and the importance of the Florida Wildlife Corridor for the panthers. Most of the film was shot on the Sony FS7 and Carlton’s camera trap work was done with various bodies ranging from the Sony Alpha 6400 all the way through to the Sony Alpha 7S III. Carlton has been promoting the film through Instagram Reels like the one below. Read more about the making of the film HERE.