The Instaview | Xanthe on finding beauty in the mundane
One of the many joys of Instagram is the ability to turn something humdrum into a rose-tinted scene. It certainly makes me look for beauty on even the most boring of days. Which is why I love coming across a new account that fills my feed with creativity. Step forward Xanthe Berkeley.
If you’re one of Xanthe’s 50K followers, you’ll know the photographer and filmmaker has an incredible talent for transforming every day moments into joyful bursts of colour, whether it’s a bike ride or a tea break. (And if you’re not following, sort it out pronto: @xantheb).
It’s little wonder she’s been tapped to create cheery campaigns for the likes of Boden and Cath Kidston while also running online filmmaking courses from her family home in London. Oh, and she’s brilliant at a Boomerang too.
I was lucky enough to speak to Xanthe (pronounced Zan-thee) about how she uses Instagram, where she looks for inspiration and her beloved yellow bike…
Dressr: Let’s start from the top! How did you first get into photography?
Xanthe: I’ve always taken photos, from hanging outside the school gates as a teenager, travelling in my 20s to having my family. I’ve always had some kind of camera in my bag and used my camera to capture and preserve moments from my life.
Dressr: And when did you turn your passion into a career?
Xanthe: It all started when I discovered this online world of photo sharing on Flickr back in 2009. It opened my eyes to a whole new way of creating and potential ways of working as a photographer. I then started my blog and building an online presence and started accepting portrait and wedding shoots. From there, everything has grown organically.
Dressr: When did you realise it was really taking off?
Xanthe: Realising the potential of Instagram as a platform to showcase my work, and that people could find me and hire me to create for them, was huge.
Yes yes yes! So happy to be having a little holiday. First stop… One of my favourite colourful places. I’d like to live in this house… Although this street has a rainbow of houses, so I’d be spoilt for choice. I’ll share more of my colourful finds on stories… . #whenpeoplematchplaces #colorcolourlovers #littlestoriesofmylife #abmlifeiscolorful #myunicornlife #MakeYouSmileStyle #DressColourfully
Dressr: It’s unsurprising considering your Instagram feed is utterly gorgeous!
Xanthe: Thank you! Instagram has played a massive part in how my business has grown and the opportunities I receive. I use it as a portfolio of my work, sharing what I love to shoot and hope to shoot more of.
Dressr: Does it take a lot of planning?
Xanthe: I’m not a big planner with my feed and I’m probably one of the few people that actually posts things the same day or at least within a week of creating something. I still like the “Insta” element and use my feed as a visual diary.
Dressr: And how do you stand out?
Xanthe: There are so many amazing people creating wonderful images, so I think it is important to try to be unique. I like posting an eclectic mix of content.
An armful of autumn… It’s one of those misty mornings where all the cozy knitwear is needed. On another note…What am I supposed to do with these mini pumpkins now? ? . Day one of the #makefilms_dailyproject – making a mini film every day during November. Feel free to join in… more details on my blog. . #xanthefilms #makefilmscourse #stopmotion #inspiremyinstagram #littlestoriesofmylife
Dressr: What’s your favourite subject to shoot?
Xanthe: I love photographing so many different things. I know we’re often told to choose and do one thing really well, but I like the variety of photographing people, from newborn babies to more fashion related shoots or products and travel. If I only photographed one thing, I think I would become restless.
Dressr: What images does your community most respond to?
Xanthe: They love flowers! And #doortraits which are photos of colourful and pretty doors.
Dressr: How do you find such Instagrammable backdrops?
Xanthe: I look for bright colours and interesting textures. But I believe everywhere is Instagrammable, anywhere you go has potential to be photographed. It’s about how you see what’s in front of you and frame the photo.
Dressr: Do you use any apps to edit your pics?
Xanthe: I use VSCO cam or A Color Story.
Dressr: Do you feel pressure to maintain a double-tap-worthy grid?
Xanthe: I don’t feel any pressure to post only the pretty things. I post what I love and hope it connects with someone. I like looking for the beauty in the ordinary or mundane. We all have dishes in the sink or real life situations that aren’t worth photographing, but it’s about looking for the pretty in amongst the everyday stuff.
Dressr: What do you do if you get stuck for inspiration?
Xanthe: Inspiration and ideas are everywhere. But mostly in real life and often away from a screen. If I’m stuck, I find creating some quiet time to think helps. Going for a bike ride or a walk or even doing the washing up, lets the mind wander and often a spark will come to you.
Dressr: What’s the best – and worst – thing about being your own boss?
Xanthe: The best is having creative freedom to pick and choose projects to work on, but the work doesn’t go away if you take some time off. There’s always something to be done.
✩ INSTA’CRAM! ✩
⭐ The person who inspires me to shop is Erica Davies (@erica_davies). She’s a similar age to me and wears fashion in a super stylish and achievable way. I wish I had even 50% of her style!
⭐ I love @irinahp’s boomerangs. She’s my new Instagram follow.
⭐ My most Instagrammable accessory is my yellow Bobbin Birdie Bicycle.
⭐ Boden is my favourite place to shop.
⭐ My most used emojis are the monkeys hiding their eyes and mouth.
⭐ I’m most excited for a holiday… one day!
Thank you, Xanthe! We’ll see you on Instagram 🙂 Want more? Check out Xanthe’s glorious website here: www.xantheberkeley.com
SHOP THE LOOK
We do the scrolling. You do the shopping.
Love shopping? Hate scrolling? No problem! I’ve done the hard work for you and found where you can shop the selfies of Instagram’s biggest stars. Thanks to my hand-picked edit, it’s never been easier to get the fashioninsta look directly from the ‘gram. Go on, you know you wanna…