This month’s dose of Instagram inspiration is a little different, as it features not one but two fantastic photographers.
Jeska Hearne (@lobsterandswan) and her husband Dean (@dean.hearne) are both very talented people: she’s an interior stylist and the woman behind brilliant blog Lobster & Swan; he’s a designer with a passion for travel and adventure. Together, they run The Future Kept (@thefuturekept), a wonderful online store with a selection of gifts and home accessories designed to be kept and cherished. All three of their feeds are packed with striking product photography, sweeping landscapes and images of the coast near their East Sussex home, and it’s beautiful stuff indeed. I particularly admire the way they capture light, from slithers of early-morning sunshine to golden evening glows, and I couldn’t wait to chat to them about their inspiration and tips…
Please can you tell us a bit about yourselves and The Future Kept?
Jeska: “I’ve been blogging since 2007, sharing the many changes to our life and home over the years, and all the inspiring things I’ve discovered along the way. It’s been an amazing journey so far, evolving from an evening outlet to a full-time job and now gradually turning back into a more personal online space. Around 10 months ago (during an early mid-life crisis!), Dean left his job so that we could pursue more independent freelance work together, and The Future Kept was born. It has a focus on inspiring people to think a little more carefully about the items they have. By working with talented and independent creatives who make products grounded in meaning and story, we aim to promote the ethos of ‘Buy Less, Buy Better’, to connect with like-minded folk, and to create something with a positive impact on the environment and how people live.”
How long have you been using Instagram, and how did you get started?
Jeska: “I’ve been using Instagram since the beginning, so I can’t really remember how I got started. I do know that by being part of such a creative online community, my photography has gotten way better over the years!”
Dean: “I’ve also been on Instagram since the early days. I used to run two brand profiles as part of my old job, but only since focusing on The Future Kept have I felt like I’m using it more in the way it was intended. I’ve had such a good time building up the feed for the store that my personal profile has now undergone a bit of a makeover, giving me an outlet for more of my travel and landscape photography.”
What do you like about Instagram?
Jeska: “I love sharing my day in pictures, and seeing what creative magic my friends have been getting up to. It’s such a positive and inspiring place to spend a few hours a day (yep, hours!).”
Dean: “Instagram is more than a social media channel; it’s a creative community where you can really connect and build relationships with others. The amount of talent out there is overwhelming, and it’s a breath of fresh air compared to some other social media channels. I have always shot photos, but Instagram is somewhere to share and get feedback on what you’re doing. It’s a great place to learn and develop your personal aesthetic, and to discover people with similar interests. It sounds strange, but I feel it fosters a desire to travel, to be creative and to inspire in some way. Even if some days it does drive me crazy because I can’t decide which photo to post (and I then drive Jess mad by showing her the same image with five subtly different edits for her opinion…).”
What inspires your photos?
Dean: “That’s a tough one! Everyday life combined with a sense of travel and adventure. Great Britain and the world are such beautiful places with so much to explore, and sometimes I feel that isn’t appreciated enough. I love going to different places and seeking out mini adventures to photograph, even if it’s just somewhere local for a few hours. Oh, and I love cliffs and seascapes, with the odd person to show the scale.”
Jeska: “For me it’s usually whatever I’m working on around the home that day, or where I am if I’m out and about. I like to share images of our plants and how I arrange them in the house, and rooms that I’ve moved around. I’m quite off the cuff with my posting: I don’t get too caught up about my feed and the next picture that I might post, although I do like them all to sit nicely together as a grid.”
How would you describe your photography style?
Jeska: “Spur-of-the-moment and still. I don’t often include people in my photos, and I seem to get a bit closer in with my pictures than Dean. I like to show detail and what I deem beautiful from the everyday. I try to capture what I see in one shot and then move on to a new angle or scene.”
Dean: “I like simplicity and minimalism, but not too much. I prefer natural light where possible for interior shots, and early mornings or late evenings for outdoor photos. Being from a design background, I also tend to end up with a decent amount of negative space as I’m always thinking about where type or graphics could be placed, even if that isn’t the intended use! I would like to think that my photos encourage a desire to travel and explore, but I suppose you’d have to ask someone else whether that’s the case; I think I have a long way to go yet! Constantly evolving and a work in progress probably best sums up my style.”
How do you take and edit your photos?
Jeska: “I’m still using an iPhone 5 and counting down the days until I can upgrade! I also use a Canon 70D for photos that go on the blog and Instagram. If I fancy putting a filter over images or adjusting the levels, I usually use VSCO Cam on my phone before posting.”
Dean: “I use an iPhone 6 or a recent extravagant purchase, a Canon 5D Mk III. On the phone I always use VSCO Cam to edit, but I tend not to add too much of a filter; I like things to look somewhat real, but with a slightly desaturated, clean tone. I do notice that pictures taken with the new iPhone are a lot flatter, though, and need a few extra notches on the filters. With the camera I use Adobe Camera Raw and I have a bunch of self-made presets. Much to Jess’ annoyance, it’s not uncommon for me to stay up late making a batch of presets with very minor differences between them!
“I’m currently struggling with cropping everything to a square (portrait and landscape photography are called that for a reason!). I know it’s something that people either love or hate on Instagram, and many have broken away from it recently, but I still haven’t. We’ll see!”
What catches your eye on others’ Instagram feeds?
Jeska: “Ooh, I love mountains, forests and outdoorsy images, the combination of crisp interiors and cityscapes by Alice Gao (@alice_gao), and dark and moody home life as shared by the likes of Local Milk (@local_milk) and La Porte Rouge (@laporterouge).”
Dean: “Again, a tough one! Naturally I’m drawn to feeds like our own – a balance of life/travel/story/adventure/inspiration. I think that’s why our store feed is the way it is: I want to look at it and feel it’s something I would be interested in myself. I like feeds with a running theme or aesthetic, but only when the content isn’t sacrificed; it’s easy to get wrapped up in your style and forget about the actual photo itself, and if you don’t try new things it can stifle learning. It’s a personal preference, I guess. I do always gravitate towards simple and clean interior shots, or someone who clearly likes travel and adventure.”
What are your top Instagram tips?
Jeska: “I’d say just have fun, and show the world as you see it through your eyes. Join in with the community by commenting on other people’s photos and taking part in hashtag projects, and most of all be a friendly IGer. Let’s keep it a positive place!”
Dean: “For the actual photos, natural light is always best, and shoot early in the day or late in the evening for outdoor photography (stay out of that harsh midday sun!). But it’s trial and error, so experiment. Find people whose aesthetic you admire and be inspired by them, but don’t directly imitate. And don’t be afraid to connect, comment and be part of the community; after all, that’s what makes Instagram so rewarding.”
Thanks Jeska and Dean!
All photography by Jeska and Dean Hearne