Portrait: A Documentary About a Popular Instagrammer and a Pro Photographer

Portrait is a new 20-minute documentary film by Columbus, Ohio-based filmmaker Andy Newman that explores the question, “In the age of Instagram, what sets a professional photographer apart?” Newman compares the lives and work of two people who are both crazy about photography, but who have chosen very different careers and mediums.

The first is Andria Lindquist, a Seattle-based lifestyle and wedding photographer who makes a living with her photographs. The second is Cory Staudacher, a Seattle-based web designer who has attracted over 174,000 followers on his Instagram account @withhearts.

When asked about Instagram and the term “photographer”, Lindquist states,

The core there is: [Instagram] changes the way [people] look at things and how they watch things, and that’s a photographer. So maybe that’s the definition.

Whether you’re doing it with your phone or you’re doing it with a $3,000 camera, it changes the way you look at things, and so I think that is the thing that ties us together.

The project was funded back in May after 68 donors contributed $2,655 through Kickstarter. At the time, Newman wrote,

I recently connected with Cory Staudacher, a web designer from Seattle. He’s friends with Andria Lindquist, one of the professional photographers I had hoped to feature.

As it turns out, Cory has never owned a DSLR and is in no way a professional photographer. Yet Cory, going under the name withhearts, has over 50,000 followers on Instagram.

What a better way to […] explore the creative process than to compare two friends: one professional photographer who makes a full-time living at what she loves to do, and an avid Instagrammer who has risen to some level of fame in the digital age due to his creative eye and iPhone photography skills.

Newman succeeded in creating a beautifully shot documentary that may remind many of you of why you fell in love with the art in the first place.

P.S. Back in May, we shared another short film by Newman: a BTS look at the work of street fashion photog Nick Fancher.

  • David Rychart

    Seattle, WA = Hipster Prime, homeworld of bad mustaches

    Seriously though, great film. Interesting film work and great subject matter. I wish I was good at portraits. I love shooting them but I’m not there yet.

  • Z

    Impressive collection of BS.. combined with kids with phones and a girl shooting into the Sun.

  • Benicio Murray

    I just couldnt connect with these two. Too much waffle.

  • Anthony Harrison

    Good music

  • D4

    I liked it, some of us on here are not as lucky as some on here for reason’s of there own, but watching this bring’s people like my self and others hope to their future, if you are already a pro then im happy for you, but for others we are not so lucky…. yet..

  • Dan Beaney

    She was using a lot of live view…

  • Daf

    Got bored of them talking but not saying much or saying the same old thing we’ve heard before, so stopped after 10min. Might be of more interest to creatives but non photographers.

  • Daf

    Got bored of them talking but not saying much or saying the same old thing we’ve heard before, so stopped after 10min. Might be of more interest to creatives but non photographers.

  • Bill Booz

    I think this is a good example of making a nice, short film on two different but connected topics. I like Newman’s editing of B-Roll with dialog and interviews. Kept my attention. Plan to use the video as an example in an upcoming introductory dSLR video class I plan to teach.

  • mmmarc

    What’s wrong with shooting into the sun? That is excellent use of light if you have a reflector, strobe or you overexpose to achieve a different kind of effect.

    If you’re going to pick on her, pick on the fact that she holds her camera really weird and that SHE SHOOTS IN LIVE VIEW. And it’s like click-click-chimping-click-chimping-click-click-chimping.

  • kelbel

    Well done! Take out all the stupid hipster elements it’s well done. Though in this film, there is little difference from the instagram and the pro photog.

  • mmmarc

    The video is too long and she’s not a pro photographer. Other than the fact that you can tell just by watching her, if you go to her website there is nothing there that says she’s a photographer.

    This video is shot and edited well. Why? Because she’s a videographer. Just like it says in her website.

  • Jamie Weir

    Here I thought the slideshow of her photographs being the first event on her site gave a pretty good indication that she is a photographer. Or the first line of her about page starting with “Photography came to me”. Or her sections for rates, styles, reviews…

    Maybe I’m just looking too far into things and drawing my own ridiculous conclusions to appease myself.

  • theShader

    I’m blind from looking so much into the sun! Honestly, I don’t see the beauty in photos where you can hardly see the subject because of the sun flare. This trick is way over used.

    I don’t think the “instagrammer” should be treated as a celebrity for having a lot of followers. I’ve seen girls there that have half a million followers just for showing their body in front of a mirror.

  • Charlie

    She is using tilt shift Lens in alot of her work. No AF and fine line of focus plane

  • Charlie

    Not a photographer, serious? Check her blog. She Does alot of on location weddings and such.

  • K G

    Yet more glorification of the narcissistic skinny-jean hipster doofus culture. Validate me on your little screen! Zzzz.

  • Andy Newman

    Charlie is correct. We discussed this in the interview and she’s very aware that can turn a lot of people off. That part of the discussion was left on the cutting room floor, because I didn’t really intend for this to be about the technical side of photography.

    If you’re looking for something more technical, I really recommend checking out my previous piece Michael linked to, with Nick Fancher shooting for JackThreads:

  • Andy Newman

    She is definitely a professional photographer. She’s shot for Microsoft, Lululemon, and more as well as being a very respected wedding photographer.

    You might be thinking of me, as I’m the videographer that put this piece together. I also definitely make a living off of putting videos together, but whether you consider me a professional is up to interpretation. :)

    I appreciate all of you taking the time to watch. I hope you took something from it, even if you had issues with a certain aspect of the documentary.

  • Andy Newman

    I appreciate that, Bill! Let me know if there’s anything else I can provide for you to help with the class.

  • Renato Murakami

    Yeah… I tend not to be overly critical of videos like this one, and maybe it’s just because I’ve watched one too many videos like this, but just couldn’t take it.
    The pro photographer thing is too blurred these days, but I agree with what she said… if photography pays your check and defines your lifestyle, I guess it’s enough.
    But it gets kinda redundant and a bit too on the hipster side. An instagram version of an interview.
    Couldn’t help rolling my eyes at times…
    I know this video could be interesting for lots of people, specially those starting photography and stuff, but for photographers who have been following stuff, watching videos, documentaries and lectures for too long, it just sounds like a bunch of clich├ęs and overused themes clumped together… it’s about community, hard work, liking photography, etc etc.
    I guess we’re not the target here for this. I’d value the whole “documentary” more if the most important thing when it comes to photographers was shown: their work.
    But instead, it kinda looks like something made to glamourize or glorify a certain spectrum of photography…

  • Andy Newman

    Thanks for taking the time to watch and comment. I can only hope you at least took something positive away from it, even if it wasn’t your cup of tea.

    I made a conscious decision to not show or cover any of the technical stuff. This was meant more to show their approach and mindset toward photography. If anything, I just hope it can motivate people to get out and shoot or otherwise follow their dreams.

    If you’re interested in a more technical approach to a similar piece, I highly recommend checking out my behind the scenes with Nick Fancher, which Michael linked to at the bottom of this article. Shot diagrams, finished photos, showing some of the post production process… it’s all there.

    Portrait was not made to appeal solely to a professional photography crowd. It was a lens through which I could explore the idea of creatives and their process.

    But thanks again for your comments.

  • Tim

    I feel a bit sorry for the instagram guy, he’s obviously addicted to the positive feedback he’s getting from the ig community. I didn’t quite get how he earns his living to be honest. The girl is obviously good at connecting with people. I think women definitely have an advantage over men in this department!

  • DamianMonsivais

    Everyones a photographer because they own a camera. But what if everyone owned a flute?

  • Gov

    But do you see any reflectors or flashes? I agree, she struck me as a one trick pony getting by with trial and error (click-chimping-click-chimping-repeat).

  • Dan

    These people are such stereotypes, one begins to wonder whether or not this documentary is just a hoax

  • Dan

    Ok, that came out totally wrong… sorry if I may have offended anyone, definitely not my intention!

  • Erin

    The whole hipster scene with the facial sculptures on the guys hanging and the planes flying over could’ve been a scene from Portlandia!! Trite, vapid, narcissistic, etc. My stomach was actually churning at that point…

  • Gross

    The girl makes me sick.

  • Sandy B

    I just threw up in my mouth a little…

    It’s funny to see who gets to wear a pro-photographer moniker these days.

  • Rick Jameson

    I tend to agree…but that blonde girl in blue trousers was well worth wasting few minutes of my time on this video.

  • Devoinus

    Can a serious photographer let me know if her work is actually credible…I took a look at her web page and, it’s ok…looks like click click on auto mode to me. Cameras these days do about 90% of the work for you so to creat a really good image is pretty easy I believe and dong get me stared with instagram, show me a bad instagram, it’s impossible because the whole point is to create an old crappy looking photo to begin with…a picture of my big toe with a cool filter and bad lighting would look awesome with instagram.

  • Magnus Gustavsson

    So many haters. I’m sure that most of you are sitting at work, browsing petapixel and are being jealous of people actually doing what they love.

  • AW

    Good videography on this video, although perhaps shorter editing would be better on a video that is not very fast paced. I think she uses live view so she doesn’t ruin her eyes looking towards the sun, plus it’s probably become a habit now from doing it a lot. It’s her style, so what.

  • matt mawson

    For me being a pro photographer it’s about unheard of stress; fighting with clients because they want you to do the job for a cheaper rate even if they have been using you for a number of years, fighting authorities in other countries for permissions etc, fighting your commissioning agency to bring back images that cannot be realised because they have failed to do their research properly, fighting the creatives because they use the final images in a completely different way to what they presented at the brief, working all hours to do the post production and upload the images so the client and agency can view them and get back to you with a new creative brief and what is the worst is when the client go for a cheaper photographer and get back to you the next year because the cheaper guy has fucked up all because he/she lacked the experience.

    I am happy that Andrea can be a pro and still take time to look good on a shoot and be relaxed at the same time.

  • Giulio Sciorio

    Should have known a video like this would bring the haters..haters that are just operating their photography in fear and/or lack of skill.

    What does it matter if she uses a reflector or not or if Cory uses an iphone. It’s not about the camera its about the end product.

    I found this short film to be an enjoyable and inspiring experience. I’d love to have hundreds of thousands of IG followers and I’d love to be able to shoot 100% natural light with my subjects.

    Big ups Andria and Cory

  • Meefo King

    A hack wedding photographer and an instagrammer: these are supposed to represent the spectrum of photography? This tool really think his instagram feed changes the way you look at things? It’s just a bunch of hipsters standing in roads. When will this site start featuring talent again?

  • Emily C

    You guys are pretty hateful.

    I really liked the interview aspect with Andria- she’s a huge role model for me, I love her work and aspire to equal to her talent one day. The instagrammer doesn’t really impress me, aside from the fact that he’s rockin’ it with a cell phone camera, but I don’t do much instagram work… so kind of irrelevant.

    Quit hatin’ because these guys are better than you.

  • Emily C

    If you can nail exposure, you don’t NEED reflectors or flashes.

  • Roy

    “Gets to wear”? Elitist much?

    A pro is someone who gets paid for performing a specialized job. It doesn’t require approval from faceless habitual cynics.

  • Roy

    You’re not a photographer because you own a camera, but because you shoot with one. If everyone played a flute, then they’d all be fl(a)utists.

  • sander van der veen

    haters gonna hate… I found it very fun to watch and inspiring!

  • sander van der veen

    Are you really that ignorant?? Damn… lol!

  • sander van der veen

    Why should a photographer let you know if it’s credible? She works for her clients, not for other photographers…??

  • sander van der veen

    Bunch of haters over here man, wow! They love what they do, why so negative on them?

  • jesse

    No amount of auto settings will work a tilt shift for you. As for the instagram comment, he wasn’t editing using instagram. I know lots of people using lots of others apps to shoot and edit in. Instagram is used as a platform to share because thats where the viewers are.

  • Djambel Unkov

    Seattle d-bags

  • Djambel Unkov

    Amen, you are a gentleman and a scholar.

  • Djambel Unkov

    Lets be real here. Shes a one trick pony getting by on being a good looking person. I see this every day all day in the photography world.

  • Djambel Unkov

    OR we’re photographers who are jealous of hacks getting attention.