The day my photo was featured by Instagram

Tessie Wallace Photography:

What an experience! Last month, one of my underwater photos was featured on Instagram by Instagram (see it here)! The holy grail of features! It has been a crazy month and I have been getting tons of messages about how it happened and what gear I use, so here ya go...

Being a photographer on Instagram (@tessiewallace) has been amazing. I have learned so many techniques and I have been inspired by so many fantastic artists. This summer, I have seen lots of underwater photos and I knew I wanted to try it - I just didn't have the gear or the money to purchase anything. My brother in law owns a GoPro Hero 4 Silver and he offered to let me borrow it, but with one catch,

I had to photograph his twin sons underwater. Absolutely. Easy. Done. I also decided to purchase a Dome.cam so I could take split water shots, and I have loved this product because it is larger than most and doesn't leak. It took me a while to figure out the settings on the GoPro, but I knew I wanted to turn on Protune, so I could have some control over the settings since it isn't completely manual.

So on my second underwater shoot (a Saturday), I captured several photos of my nephews and niece and I posted a black and white edit of the boys sitting on the pool floor looking up at the sunlight the next day, which was Sunday. My friend from Instagram mentioned a hashtag called #whpmood and I didn't know what it was so I asked her. She told me Instagram has different themes for photos posted over the weekend and the current theme was "mood." What the hell. I tagged my black and white underwater photo and followed Instagram. The very next day, I opened an email at 7pm titled "Hello from Instagram!" WHAT?!! It was from an Instagram producer who was trying to reach me to let me know that my photo had been selected for their mood theme and would I mind filling out a questionnaire about the photo?...

I'm not sure the exact time the photo went live, but it was on Tuesday night (July 25th) and it was a blast. I called my nephews and it was like Christmas morning for them. We were all reading the crazy comments and cracking up. One of our favorites was "and then they drowned." I went to bed and kept checking my phone throughout the night and my follower amount started growing. Like crazy fast. Messages were pouring in asking about my gear. I think I typed "GoPro Hero 4 Silver" at least 200 times in replies and messages. I had a little over 2k followers before the Instagram feature, and by morning, it was almost double that amount. Everyone wanted to know my secrets and tips for using a GoPro underwater. So this winter, I plan to offer an online download about how I take and edit my underwater photos - so stay tuned for that.

I did get a lot of unfollows the following week, mainly from scuba companies that I didn't follow back. But I'm not a scuba diver so there ya go. I did send GoPro an email through Instagram about how I would love to promote the crap out of a GoPro Hero 5 if they could send me one for free ;) No dice. They didn't even reply back. But hey - it's worth a try! It's next on my list of purchases here:

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