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Behind the #gram: Leonard Giam of @leotomatic

The easy-going Instagram photographer tells us why he favours feeling blue.

Angela Ouyang


Published: 9 November 2016, 12:00 AM

When we met local Instagrammer Leonard Giam, we were hardly surprised to see him donning a light blue T-shirt for our interview.

After all, Leonard, also known as @leotomatic on Instagram, is well-known for maintaining a consistent blue theme for all his photos.

“I wanted to find something to represent me,” said the 34-year-old.

“Since blue is my favourite colour, I decided to make it my identity.”

 

Leonard’s Instagram photos only feature prominent shades of blue and white.
Photo credit: Leonard’s Instagram page

 

His love for blue doesn’t just stop at Instagram. He didn’t even realise it until one of his friends asked him why everything he owned seemed to be blue!

“[A lot of] my clothing, my wallet and many other things are blue”, he added with a laugh.

For Leonard, his Instagram popularity came as a surprise.

He gained exposure by being featured twice by Instagram two years ago. He was in Taiwan for a photo walk when he noticed a stream of notifications appearing in his profile.

Leonard, who now has 63,900 Instagram followers, said: “Instagram used to have a ‘suggested user’ function, where you will see my account once you follow someone. I was just lucky to be suggested by the previous suggested user.”

 

Playing with perspectives is a common technique he uses when snapping pictures.
Photo credit: Leonard Giam

 

During our interview, Leonard also shared joyfully about his next Taiwan trip, where he will be meeting up with some friends he made via Instagram.

In fact, most of his friends are Instagrammers since he moved into the Instagram community two years ago.

 

Leonard (sixth from left) went on photo walks in Taiwan with friends he met online.
Photo credit: Leonard Giam

 

“Though [my friends and I] all like photography, we are a bunch of people with different hobbies. We like different things, but at the end of the day, we are still in one community, inspiring and learning from each other,” said Leonard, who counts karaoke as one of his hobbies.

While we were scrolling his feed, we were curious about the lack of food photos in Leonard’s aesthetically pleasing feed. Why is that so?

The food he eats is limited by his egg and peanut allergy. “Besides, it’s a little scary to have blue colour on food,” he laughed.

 

“Anything blue will get my attention first,” Leonard explained.
Photo credit: Leonard’s Instagram page

 

To create the blue photos on his feed, Leonard uses photo editing app VSCO for all his pictures, which are snapped with his trusty mobile phone. Working as a senior digital artist at Mediacorp has helped him develop an eye for aesthetics too.

“A professional camera would be too heavy for me. I just like to take [my phone] out and snap!” said Leonard, who does not have a background in photography.

 

He prefers to shoot with his phone because a camera is too bulky to carry around.

 

Leonard’s favourite tip for taking better photos?

“Try to look [at things] from a different perspective. If you walk around the same object and look at it from different angles, they will turn out different.”

Now that he has attracted a following online, does Leonard feel pressured to take better photos?

“There are some photos I really like and I wonder why they don’t get many responses,” he said.

 

I bet you can’t tell that this is an HDB flat.
Photo credit: Leonard’s Instagram page

 

However, Leonard prefer to stay true to his own style.

“I think it’s good to just share what you really like rather than to post something that people like. Just be yourself.”

I mean, why be blue over what other people have to say?

 

This is part four of Behind the #gram, a new series on Instagram influencers. In this series:

1. Ng Li Tying of The Spatula and The Pen

2. Stanley Tan of Windflower Florist

3. Yafiq and Yais Yusman


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