City Snapshot: 3 Instagrammers Share Their Tools and Tips

By That's, June 10, 2022

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'City Snapshot' is a monthly feature where an Instagrammer tells That's about their foray into photography and the shots that inspire them. Here is a roundup of the Spring 2022 featured photographers.

The April Issue: @chaominzeng

Zeng Chaomin got his hands on a Canon 1000D in 2008 and became “fascinated with the process of making a picture.” The following year he bought a Sigma DP2 that he carried everywhere and really became interested in the scenes he found on the streets. Now he rocks a Fujifilm X100V. Zeng has been working and living in Dongguan, Guangdong province, for 14 years. When asked about composition, Zeng says he doesn’t have a specific formula but chases scenes with “dramatic lighting, captivating colors and, most importantly, interesting people.”

morning-walk-chaominzeng.jpg

“My favorite and most popular picture that I took and shared on social media is of a Meituan courier smoking before his shift. I asked him for permission before I snapped the picture. At first, he thought I was a supervisor for Meituan and refused. Then, after some convincing, he let me take a picture of him smoking but he was still very cautious and turned his back to me — which I liked even better as it made the vibe of the picture more mysterious.”

meituan-chaominzeng.jpg

The May Issue: @annnndddyyy_f

Having wanted to for years but lacking the time and a catalyst, Andy took up photography at the beginning of the pandemic. When he goes out searching for a shot, he looks for urban areas with the classic Hong Kong elements like neon signs, trams, red taxis and old architecture. He tells That’s, “it gives an ‘identity’ to the image, a Hong Kong identity,” and evokes memories people might have of the city. He also searches for scenes with intense contrast where “borders between shadow and light are clearly and very harshly defined.” At night, he enjoys snapping pictures in Central where the skyscrapers and purple and blue lights give it a futuristic feel like “walking around on another planet.”

Andy-hong-kong-night.jpg

He believes that photos are stories that a photographer is trying to convey. Distinguishing a great photo from the rest requires that the story is easily identifiable, there is depth and complexity, and the colors accurately depict the story being told. “In the photo containing the red minibus turning left at an intersection, it was pure luck that I captured that photo. I had been standing on an overpass overlooking the intersection for around 15 minutes, waiting for the perfect shot of a red taxi or minibus to enter the frame with traffic all around it. I had given up and started packing up when, right then, a minibus came hurtling around the corner, with no other cars blocking the minibus in the picture.”

Andy-minibus-swerve.jpg

“Hong Kong is a street photographer’s paradise. In districts with older architecture, such as Sham Shui Po or Sai Ying Pun, there is always something to take a photo of. Be it the hustle and bustle of a wet market or the beautiful facades of old Hong Kong buildings. It makes for an easy photo that has depth and a clear subject.”

Andy-taxi.jpg

Andy uses a mirrorless Sony a7R IV and loves its quick autofocus capability which allows him to capture such stunning street scenes with movement and detail in low light situations.

The June Issue: @hwang199

Aptly named Wang Hong, his Instagram account boasts just shy of 16,000 followers. While studying Architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Wang got hooked on the bold and vastly diverse styles of photography on Instagram.

kung-fu-tower-Wang.jpg

After returning to Hangzhou, he dove in headfirst and balances professional photography with lecturing on Architecture at Ningbo University. When asked about how to make a striking photo, he tells us that the scene itself is less important than the composition. On a cloudy day he will search for light and contrast in order to bring out a dramatic effect. He adds that a little bit of luck is also crucial as a great photo tells a story or captures an inimitable moment. 

bridge-misty-Wang.jpgHis favorite, he says, is titled ‘Wish You Were Here’ and features the nostalgic phrase emblazoned on a black hoodie with the unearthly Pudong skyline behind it.

“It was January 8 and I arrived on location at 4am. It was a frigid eight degrees below zero and I wasn’t wearing gloves. I did, however, don a thick down jacket for the shoot. I will be forever grateful for the Shanghai model who waited until after 5am for the light to be right before relinquishing her heavy coat in favor of a hoodie for the shoot.” He adds that the clouds in this photo are especially powerful — certainly worth the long and cold wait.

wish-you-were-here-Shanghai-Wang.jpgWang uses Sony A7R III and FX3 cameras for still photos and insists that DJI “definitely makes the best drones.” He tells us that his Mavic 3 takes high quality 10-bit color shots and has a strong enough signal that he needn’t worry when it’s in the air. The Mavic 3 has an insane height ceiling and range that is often only limited by the software itself. This proves a key attribute when shooting lofty cityscapes like Shanghai or Tokyo which Wang admits are his favorite skylines to capture.


Here’s how the That’s Shanghai @thatsshanghai Instagram account works: users hashtag their images #thatsshanghai and we pick out the best of them to regram, tagging the original photographer.

[Cover image via @hwang199/Instagram]

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