HIGHLIGHT: DEMI KWANT

HIGHLIGHT: DEMI KWANT

You would never guess just from conversing with him, but Demi Kwant (@iidemii) is easily one of the most gifted individuals in the world of iPhone macro photography.  In fact, he’s so talented with his macro work that Olloclip has featured and interviewed him a number of times.  We first caught sight of Demi’s work because of its delicate beauty, but one thing that really got us hooked on his feed was his consistent sharing of genuinely phenomenal Mextures formulas.  We were able to catch up with him after a quick digital trip over the Atlantic Ocean to learn a bit more about him and the imagery he captures and creates.  Read along!

Hey everyone! My name is Demi Kwant and I go by the name @iiDemii on Instagram. I've recently turned 21 (31st of October) so that means it has been about two years since I started posting on Instagram and enjoying the community! 

Right now I am studying Communication & Multimedia Design with the major Interactive Media & Technologies in the Netherlands. This is also where I was born and raised. I live in a small town called Westerbork. It's a lovely rural area where I can take amazing walks with my dog and wake up before sunrise to capture all of the beautiful things nature has to offer.

My one big addiction is water droplets. If you look at my Instagram feed then you will most likely see a lot of them. Or actually... loads of them! It all started when I got an Olloclip lens for my iPhone 5c from my girlfriend as a birthday gift two years ago. I absolutely loved how you could turn your phone into a mini macro camera and while also being able to see nature so close up! I guess from there on I had that macro photography addiction that I love to share with everyone on Instagram right now. 

I actually did an interview with Olloclip about water droplet photography and they asked me to give a few tips and pointers.  If anyone is interested you can check it out right here.

WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO GET INVOLVED WITH INSTAGRAM?

To be completely honest, I can't really remember what motivated me to get involved on Instagram.  Two years ago, before I started Instagram, I was already shooting some photos on my phone but a little aimlessly.  Just a point and shoot kind of thing. When I got my Olloclip lens for my iPhone, that's what changed it all. I fell in love with macro photography and I wanted to share my photos with people. That's when I started to use Instagram in the way I am using it now.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?

I would say that I have a quite simple style when it comes to editing and taking photographs overall. I love softness and minimalism. To capture a few droplets with minimal background or just the sky is gorgeous! The detail really pops out and there is a center of attention in your photo.

With my macros I tend to either shoot towards the sky or horizon as it gives my images more detail - or it gives the droplets more detail. But besides shooting droplets, I like to shoot pictures of ladybirds, flowers (mainly daisys), dandelions and of course droplets on the grass. With those shots you can create great contrast while shooting downwards towards the ground or a darker surface than your object. This combined with a nice edit creates a dark background with almost no surrounding detail but great detail on your object in focus.

Generally when I want to edit a photo, I would go through my formulas and pick one that suits the image and most of the time tweak the formula a little bit. I try to keep it very minimal in the amount of layers I use. Most of the time it doesn’t get further than four layers. Although I must say, it's quite hard to overedit with Mextures. More layers can often give the photo a completely different look and feel!

I started using other people’s formulas as a baseline for my photos. I wasn't that confident with my editing skills at first but that developed over time. One person who helped me out a lot with her formulas was @hihorosie.  She is an excellent photographer and has stunning edits. I love her edits and they completely fit my style!

HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?

Getting a lot of feedback from the Instagram community and the people who follow me on Facebook gives me a tremendous boost to wanting to shoot more photos and better photos. It's really nice to see a picture doing well on social media and getting feedback from people.  Actually, the whole Instagram community is just great!

To be able to share your formulas with Mextures users and from there getting to know new people, seeing their work and getting inspired, that is one of the things where the Mextures community comes in and does helps myself and a lot of other instagrammers. You follow their work, get inspired, start conversations and meet new people. You learn from them and they learn from you. It's a win-win!

WHEN YOU ARE OUT SHOOTING HOW MUCH OF IT IS INSTINCTUAL RATHER THAN PLANNED?

The only thing I plan when I'm shooting is picking a time to go out and shoot. Most days I would look at the weather forecast for the next morning. Then I just go out and sometimes take the dog with me, have a walk and just shoot whatever looks interesting to me and catches my eye. Whenever I walk the dog I will bring my phone and Olloclip lenses with me so that I won't miss any shots I might spot. I guess that's sort of planning. But for the most part it is all instinctual. 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR IMAGES?

That's a good question. I mainly do it for the fun and love for photography. But sharing the love for droplets and macro photos is what I want to share with the community. 

I would say that viewers can take the formulas I share and to get inspired maybe from my photos.

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WHAT DOES YOUR EDITING PROCESS TYPICALLY LOOK LIKE?

I start off with importing the raw images I shot straight in to Mextures. I save every formula I create so my next step is scrolling through my big list of formulas until I find one that fits the image best and that gives it a certain feel that I want to create. I then adjust the formula to my liking. 

I love the fade slider in Mextures and also the ability to affect different areas with graduated filters. I guess that's what gives my photos a delicate look. 

My all time favorite textures are Soothsayer, Sky Earth and Vintage. I almost always incorporate one of those three to keep consistency in my images. I always keep playing around in Mextures though and experimenting and I've realized there is no ending to the possibilities when creating a formula.

Mextures is by far my favorite editing tool and, in fact, the only tool I use for my photos. The results are truly unique.

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WOULD YOU SHARE SOME OF YOUR FORMULAS?

Of course!  Here are four that I really like:

Dark & Contrast - ZNXEEUJ - Very dark formula that is great for macro shots with dark backgrounds. Pops object in the foreground with great contrast and moody colors. One of my favorites!

Sunrise Drops - WZLLZAV - One of the many formulas I have that is perfect for droplets. Especially when you shoot towards the sky or have a light and minimal background. This formula will give your photos a great moody but pristine feel.

Golden Mornings - VUBSCJI - Love to use the texture Soothsayer in many formulas and in this one it creates great warm colors and when the Navy overlay is added this formula gives your morning shots a great soft and warm look.

Soft Flowers - QZWPEWQ - Soft edit with minimal saturation and a lot of fade to create soft and pristine edits.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PIECE TO CREATE SO FAR?

I would say that this photo is my favorite piece that I have ever shot. It was a very rainy summer morning with lots of sunshine. There were loads of these tiny flowers all over this tree and I was shooting lots to try out lots of different angles. After shooting around 300 photos and sorting them out, I saw this one and imported it straight into Mextures. The bright and clean background makes the little flower really stand out and with the sunlight it gives the droplets a lovely glow.

WHO ARE SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR WORK?

There are definitely a few people that have inspired me greatly and have been so kind to me since I started on Instagram. So first of all, thank you!

@hihorosie (Heidi) - Heidi takes amazing photographs and her macros are exceptional! Combined with her moody edits, she keeps inspiring me.

@aaronburden (Aaron Burden) - His amazing macro and landscape shots captivated me pretty much from the start when I joined Instagram. He is a great guy and his drone photography is absolutely stunning!

@to_hi - His work is delicate, beautiful and pristine. Those are just a few reasons why I've fallen in love with his photography. The edits are stunning and I love seeing some of his formulas and his editing process.

@reinadj (Reina) - Reina is one of my fellow Dutch photographers who captures the northern part of The Netherlands beautifully in her photographs. 

There are a lot more photographers I could mention individually but then this list would be pretty long. So a big thank you to @pinkrumba, @terri_calico, @dan_mab, @leinsview, @katja_marian, @annekewesthof and @momentsforever1 for all of the support and feedback! You're all great and I love seeing all of your work on my feed!

You can follow along with Demi’s ever-expanding work right here!