Pastel-hued and deliciously saturated, Dan Tom’s snapshots combine the dreamlike quality and careful framing of paintings with the sharpness and detail of real life. The result is an Instagram feed that shows you the world, but better: brighter, crisper, more nuanced. Here, we interview the San Francisco native on his city, his inspirations and his start in the world of photography.
How did things get started for you?
My love for travel and storytelling started on a missions trip to South Africa in 2008. From there I bought my first SLR camera a couple years later and then Instagram a couple years after that.
What was your life like before your Instagram?
The biggest difference before/after Instagram is now I have opportunities to get paid to travel vs. paying for the trips myself!
How has Instagram changed things for you?
Exposure has been the biggest difference. Most of the opportunities I’ve received have come because of Instagram. In the past 10 months, I’ve had a photo published in National Geographic Traveler, given a photo workshop at the Apple store and had multiple paid travel opportunities.
Were you formally trained in photography or did you teach yourself?
I’ve had no formal training. I took one photo class during my undergrad, but that’s about it. Most of what I’ve learned has been self-taught. I think having a design background has helped as well.
Shooting in Utah for a sunglass wear company. Also will be part of a published book coming out next year (can’t tell you more than that yet).
A friend is visiting your city (San Francisco) for just one day. Where do you take them and what do you do?
Favourite place you’ve visited so far?
That’s tough. The most memorable right now is Patagonia back in December of 2015.
What’s in your bag/what are the items you never leave the house without/never travel without?
Camera, passport, and my favourite snack Skittles.
How do you edit your photos?
I edit in Lightroom on my laptop. Snapseed and VSCO on my phone.
Your one tip for aspiring photographers?
Shoot as much as possible. Be aware of what people are doing and how they’re editing (Instagram is great for that).