Using forced perspective, Instagram influencer and photographer Kyle Huber challenges our idea of what’s real and what’s possible. In the world of his photographs, cars, trees, people, and more shrink and expand, creating scenes that are surreal and full of wonder.
Trained as a graphic designer, Huber didn’t start taking photographs with the intention of becoming one of the most prominent influencers on Instagram. But after five years (and a lot of hard work) on the platform, he’s amassed a following of over 225,000 on his account, asenseofhuber, and has worked with dozens of brands like Fossil, Google Maps, Chevrolet, Budweiser, Esquire, and more.
We went behind-the-scenes with Huber to learn more about his path to becoming a photographer on Instagram, his career, and how he captures a sense of magic in his photographs.
How did you get started in art and design?
I was born an artist and have been an obsessive creator for as long as I can remember. After spending my childhood drawing and painting, I went to the Kansas City Art Institute to become a graphic designer.
What brought on your transition from fine art to photography, and how has your background influenced your artistic choices?
After graduating in 2010, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue my career as a graphic designer. While I loved the work I did designing mobile apps, websites and branding packages for various companies, I knew that I had my own art to create.
When I got my first iPhone, I became addicted to taking photos and I started capturing moments around me wherever I went. I was inspired by California and I wanted to share its beauty. Then Instagram came along and the rest is history! My design background definitely made me the photographer and advertiser that I am today. I’m a perfectionist who’s drawn to color, lines, symmetry and other graphic elements.
Why did you decide to focus on #ASenseOfPerspective and perspective photography in general?
I have always been fascinated by magic, so that’s probably why I have been so drawn to forced perspective photography. I love the idea of creating illusions by making the foreground and background subjects interact in clever ways. I think this makes for fun and memorable photography. I’ve challenged myself to keep trying new ideas, and it’s kept my interest in this technique going strong.
How do you choose the music that complements your videos?
Music is a huge part of my life. While I admit to having no musical talent, I love discovering and sharing tunes that make me feel a certain way. I try to use music that compliments the visual vibes of my work. Sometimes I will hear a song that I know right away needs to be used in a video. Other times, I have to spend hours going through my library searching for the perfect moment in a track.
What do you think are the elements that make a good photograph?
I think a good photograph is totally subjective. For me, it needs to make me say “Wow!” when I see it. This tends to be content that I’ve never seen before, whether it’s an incredible landscape or something graphic with clever use of color. Originality, strong subject matter and clean craft are very important.
How did you grow your Instagram presence?
An insane and consistent amount of hard work since I joined the app almost 5 years ago. I became addicted to using Instagram as my daily creative outlet. The more I engaged with other photographers (on and off the app), the quicker I was able to develop my presence. Over the years, my creative vision and skills have grown just as much as my audience has. Being a suggested user by Instagram two times allowed for a great boost in my numbers as well.
Where did you get the idea for your turtles? Which one is most photogenic?
I got my first turtle as a pet when I was 12 years old. I thought it was the coolest thing, and they quickly became my favorite animal. After living in Los Angeles for a few years, I discovered that I could buy them for a couple bucks in Chinatown and I just couldn’t help myself. I started collecting them and before I knew it, I owned eight at one point!
I came up with the idea of #TurtleTuesday when trying to think of what to say as my caption for the first picture I took of my new little pets. I got a lot of reaction from it and decided to start posting new photos of them every week. Three years later, I had never missed a single Tuesday and it officially became “my thing.” I had fun taking the turtles around with me on adventures to put them in unexpected locations.
They’ve traveled all over LA and to San Francisco, San Diego, and even Vegas! My followers seemed to love the photos as much as I enjoyed making them, so I stuck with it. I think the younger/smaller the turtle, the more photogenic it is.
What are factors you consider before deciding to collaborate with brands?
When my style and audience became appealing to brands, I started taking on collaborations that allowed me to get creative and advertise in a way that still felt on-brand. With my strong background in graphic design, I’m able to visually communicate in ways other photographers can’t.
I almost never say no to a paying client, but I do know my limit. Some brands just don’t make sense to promote. I will also never post something that I don’t love, whether it is sponsored or not.
Lightning round: Favorite Instagram filter?
None. They’re just awful.
Favorite spot in LA?
Santa Monica Pier.
Staple camera gear?
iPhone and Sony A7R II with a 24-240mm lens.
Somewhere you want to travel?
Iceland or Hawaii — both are screaming my name!
What kind of advice would you give to aspiring artists and social media photographers?
Be original and be creative. If you want to be an artist, you need to challenge yourself by coming up with your own ideas. I constantly see photographers going to the same locations taking the exact same photos. Don’t just recreate or copy what others have already done. Where’s the fun in that? I feel strongly about using as much screen space as you’re allowed when sharing your work online (post portrait crops rather than landscape crops). Also, you should pay attention to the details! Good craft goes a long way: Don’t rush, straighten your horizontal/vertical lines, and don’t over-edit!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Please, for the love of Instagram, support your peers! Don’t be a selfish snob who only cares about your own work. If you’re only following 100 people, this means you! It’s important to give back and to find inspiration in others or you aren’t being fair to yourself and those who support you.