Instagram, photography and letting your eye speak

Published:  August 24, 2016

Tony Irving, one of Australia’s top photographers and an Instagram influencer, shares the beauty of nature with thousands of people every weekend with each single capture.


Turimetta Beach. Credit: Tony Irving

It’s 5.30am on a Saturday morning and photographer Tony Irving has just set up his camera on the tripod along the coast – a 40-minute drive away from his home in Castle Hill, Sydney. He stares into the horizon and waits patiently. Apart from the rhythmic crashes of waves, nothing else stirs. Irving arches. He sees a faint streak. The first light. The sound of the camera shutters joins in tune with the waves, and now the chirps of birds. And as the sun rises in the horizon, the colours of the sky and sea change, the wind starts blowing. And with each image Irving takes, a different story unfolds.

That’s a typical Saturday morning for Irving. Taking pictures of landscapes started out as a hobby for him four years ago, but that has now grown into something so much more.

Today, Irving has a following of 73,600 on his Instagram account where he shares his work and is also a member of the Canon Australia Insider Circle, which means he gets to try the latest gear from Canon. He also does some commissioned work and sells his images to people around the world.


Maroubra. Credit: Tony Irving


Collaroy Beach. Credit: Tony Irving

However to Irving, photography isn’t just a side income stream. “I work as a full time construction estimator. Photography gives me that creative release and that stress relief from the corporate lifestyle. I get out there on the edge of the sea waiting for the first light and forget about work and focus on capturing the scene in front of me,” the father of three tells desktop. 

Like many photography enthusiasts, Irving started his journey with lessons from the internet and YouTube tutorials and then gravitated to photography groups such as Focus Photography which he would meet regularly for training workshops and shoots.

“I’d ask the rest of them many questions about how they captured an image, or the type of gear to use and they offered so much of advice. And then my questions changed to the topic of editing the photos and that set me up on the path of post processing and improvement with my skills,” adds Irving.


Kirkjufell Grundarfjorour, Iceland. Credit: Tony Irving


Jokulsarlon, Iceland. Credit: Tony Irving

He also sought help from other professional photographers he follows on Instagram.

“Instagram is a great sharing platform. When I first started sharing my photos on Instagram, I used to get a lot of feedback from friends and other photographers too. And the greatest thing about photographers on Instagram is that they’re always willing to give advice and tips. Some of them would even put in their settings as the image captions so that others can use the settings and replicate and learn.”

And now the tables have turned. Irving gets daily messages and comments from his followers for tips, which he openly shares.

“I think the first tip I would give anyone who wants to improve on their photography skills, is to develop their own unique style. That is the natural way your eye sees an image, and what jumps out at you,” shares Irving.


Kirribilli, Sydney. Credit: Tony Irving


The Rocks, Sydney. Credit: Tony Irving

He adds that replicating another photographer’s style never actually works. “Go out often with your camera. Go to different locations. Try different things and through that course of creativity your style will start to come out – the way you like to see an image and the way you want to share it with the world,” he says.

The other tip he shares is to “not get caught up with gear”. Photography is an expensive hobby and Irving agrees. He says, “It’s not all about very expensive gear. There is a basic level of gear and sharp lenses that do a good job. What’s more important is your style, your knowledge of composition, being there at the right time to capture. And finally having a ‘why’ behind the image. What is the story you’re telling with this capture?”

Irving’s stories behind his images are mostly centered around the beauty of the world we do not get to see much of. “And to share that with the world via social media is something I will never take for granted.”


Moraine Lake, Canada. Credit: Tony Irving

See more of Tony Irving’s work here

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