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A photographer reveals behind-the-scenes glimpses of what Instagram photos look like in real life

Talia Lakritz , Business Insider US
 Sep 08, 2019, 12:36 PM
Behind the scenes of one of Chris Hernandez's portraits.
  • Chris Hernandez is a 22-year-old photographer from Tampa, Florida, with 100,000 Instagram followers.
  • He crafts whimsical, vibrant photos using ordinary settings and objects.
  • He shares behind-the-scenes photos of his process to show that you don't need fancy sets or props to make art you're proud of.
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Chris Hernandez loves taking whimsical, vibrant photos in otherworldly settings. Or at least settings that appear otherworldly, thanks to the magic of Photoshop.

The 22-year-old photographer has gained 100,000 Instagram followers through his dramatic fashion and portrait photography. But he continues to share the raw, unedited beginnings of his art to inspire others to create.

Here are 10 before-and-after photos that show what Hernandez's Instagram photos look like in real life.

Hernandez has a talent for taking extraordinary portraits in very ordinary settings.

He started by taking pictures on his phone in middle school, then bought his first camera in 2014.

He shares behind-the-scenes photos that show the humble beginnings of his finished work.

The artsy perfection of Instagram isn't always what it seems.

"I'm very inspired by fantasy and whimsical images," he told Insider.

He named the "Harry Potter" series and the photographer Bella Kotak as influences.

Hernandez uses the magic of Lightroom and Photoshop to transform raw photos into vibrant works of art.

He is a self-taught photographer who honed his skills by watching YouTube videos.

"Most of how I learned was trial and error," he said. "I basically learned by doing everything wrong and then correcting it."

One of Hernandez's most unconventional settings was a puddle on the street in Kissimmee, Florida.

He was walking down the street with a friend on a rainy day when they came across a large puddle. Hernandez saw a photo opportunity in the splashing water.

"It created this really cool effect where it looked like the water droplets were frozen around her," he said.

In reality, it was just an ordinary puddle on the side of a busy street.

"We just used what was around," he said.

He said he feels it's important to show the "before" part of his process to prove that you don't need fancy settings or expensive equipment to take good photos.

"I like showing behind the scenes because people think whenever they see a cool photo that interests them that they must have an extravagant setup, multiple lights, really expensive gear," he said. "But if you see my behind-the-scenes, it's basically just myself with the model in natural light."

"Instagram is very highly edited," he said. "I think it's more relatable to see the behind-the-scenes and realise it's really basic."

More and more influencers are sharing their Instagram outtakes to show that seemingly perfect photos don't reflect reality.

He hopes to inspire other up-and-coming photographers and creators to express themselves through their art, regardless of budget or level of experience.

Hernandez uses his photography projects to express himself.

"Whatever I'm feeling, if I'm feeling happy or sad, I express that in my photographs," he said.

"You don't have to have all this fancy equipment to start photography," he said. "Just start it."

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