Who doesn’t LOVE Instagram? If you don’t have an account yet, you need one. Yesterday. Download the app on your smartphone, create an account of your own, and start making your photo journal today. Handy filters turn ordinary photos in digital works of hip art. Oh… just make sure you follow us @LifeandDog! (You can even view Instagram on your computer now. Just click here.)
When we set out to create our new website, we put photos—especially YOUR photos—on center stage. Take a look through our contests and galleries as we post them, and you’ll find ways to simply use hashtags in Instagram to enter your photos into the interactive galleries here on our site. Each month we run a monthly contest, too. View the finalists by clicking INSTAGRAM FINALISTS in our tip-top menu bar, and use the #lifeanddog tag on all of your photos to enter.
Each month we choose finalists all month long, and then one winner. Winners receive a 50.00 Gift Card, a metal print of the photo we choose, a frameable certificate, and a special feature on our website. We’re thrilled to introduce the first monthly winner of the #LifeandDog contest on Instagram, Kelly Strodl from the SF Bay Area—also known as Instagram user @Kelly4Nia.
Including Kelly’s photos in your feed by following her is a MUST. We are enthralled by every photo she posts, not just the photos of her super-delicious French Bulldog Gambit. Her stunning photos are whimsical and smart, and have such a vast depth of color that you’ll be left wondering if you’re walking through your own life in a state of color blindness. See for yourself by clicking through a gallery below of some of our favorites, and view her full feed here. (You can also find her feed for her French Bulldog Gambit @gambitthefrenchie.)
We got a chance to chat with Kelly about her Instagram feed and her adorable pup Gambit and after reading about her, we know you’ll be just as obsessed as we are!
LIFE&DOG: What is your profession?
Kelly Strodl: I am a writer and social media marketer.
L&D: When did you join Instagram?
KS: I joined and posted my first photo on April 1, 2011 and my first still life of Gambit [#stilllifewithgambit] was shot about two years ago, before we even knew what Instagram really was capable of. I saw a bright red scooter in front of a stunning green apartment complex with these especially big succulents, and I just wanted Gambit to pose. He was actually very scared and had no clue what was going on, but with practice and praise, he is a total professional now.
L&D: Tell us about your Instagram Accounts.
KS: I have two, my personal account that you can find @Kelly4Nia and Gambit’s account you can find @gambitthefrenchie. My boyfriend (@kiltkid) and I were always taking photos of Gambit since his arrival in 2011, but it wasn’t until early 2013 that we opened an account dedicated to him. His photos were doing so well in my own feed and there ended up being more photos of Gambit than I wanted to share on my own, so it was a natural progression. It has been so much fun to become a part of such a fantastic, friendly and fun instagramming frenchie community! We have even made some new real-life friends along the way from the bay area.
L&D: How was #stilllifewithgambit formed?
KS: We were new to the city and naturally wanted to explore. I thought that many of the places we discovered would look better with a French Bulldog sitting in front of them, and it sort of just happened! It turned into a great way to catalogue all of our adventures and the new spots that we happened upon.
L&D: What type of smartphone do you use to access Instagram?
KS: I say iPhone all the way! I have been a proud user since 2009 when I got my 3GS before a trip to Costa Rica. It was the best purchase I have ever made. Four iPhones later, I couldn’t imagine life without it!
L&D: What are your favorite things to take photos of?
KS: San Francisco architecture, clouds, and an even split between portraits of my boyfriend, Will, and Gambit… and it’s even better when they’re together!
L&D: What are your favorite Instagram filters?
KS: Rise, by far. I also like 1977 and Valencia.
L&D: Do you have any favorite camera or picture editing apps you love to use?
KS: Yes! I always start with an initial edit in Snapseed (Editors note: SO DO WE! Snapseed is a must for anyone looking to improve their camera phone photos!) and then finish with Afterlight. I also, on occasion, edit with Reflection, Mextures, Repix or Blender.
L&D: Do you take photos with a real camera or just your iPhone?
KS: I do actually take photos with a real camera—a digital Pentax and 35mm—but I only post iPhone photos to Instagram. I’m a strong believer in #iPhoneonly!
L&D: Do you have tips for anyone looking to take better photos?
KS: Don’t be afraid to experiment and explore! No one can tell you how to pull the best out of your photos, you have to find what works for you and focus on what you really enjoy shooting. Also… one last tip. Give up the frames.
L&D: What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts to follow?
KS: @leahminium, @nerdx, @biggie_griffon, @barkleysircharles, @jasonreinhart, @slvrlyt, @stitchbully and @joshjohnson. Also, we roll with a crew of frenchies that we’ve met in the city over the past few years through Instagram and are now friends. These are @marlowenugget, @likeaboss_dog, @mrbobabear, @mrs_bencivenga, @hubertthelittlebulldog, @bogeythefrenchie, @donteverblink, @ninjeeee, and @tronthedog.
L&D: Who are your favorite followers?
KS: Well aside from those I mentioned, @art4kelly, @shortformelissa, @chezrhonel, @insitu and @kiltkid. @chezrhonel has painted a portrait of Gambit and is even working on an illustrated book of him as well! @kiltkid is actually Gambit’s “Fur Pops” and works at the shop our winning photo was taken in front of!
L&D: And what about your favorite hashtags? Besides #lifeanddog, of course!
KS: Oh, of course #lifeanddog! I also love #igerssf, #jj_justdogs, #jj, #weeklyfluff, #fancy_frenchies, #bestofpack, #squishyfacecrew, #frenchiemafia, #buhi and #stilllifewithgambit.
If you want to see more from Kelly, you can visit the following links.
Don’t forget to enter your own photos for a chance at your own feature by using the #lifeanddog tag on Instagram. Click any thumbnail below to launch an interactive gallery of our favorite photos from Kelly’s feed.
This article was written by LIFE+DOG publisher Brett Chisholm.
To read more from Brett, visit his blog on our site.