If you’ve not yet discovered the wonderful, fun photography of @ichaity yet you’re in for a real treat.
We first met Chaity when we collaborated on a project she was running to promote good dental health in pets – with Riley (her Parson Jack Russell) helping out! As part of that project we published the #ourpearlywhites Instagram photo book (with proceeds going to charity) which featured some of the 2,000 pets whose owners took part in the campaign.
Riley is a Parson French Canadian dog, and is now famous within the Instagram pet community. He is the spokesdoggy for several campaigns and, of course, a handsome part-time model for Chaity.
We chatted to Chaity to find out more about her and her beloved Riley.
When did you join Instagram and why?
I joined Instagram a few years ago, shortly after I was diagnosed with my chronic illness. It started as a hobby but quickly became a routine that keeps me busy while I recover. My dog, Riley, has been a blessing in keeping me active throughout my recovery.
What equipment do you use to shoot?
A regular point-and-shoot camera is what I use. The important things are to constantly try to be creative with my environment and Riley. Those parts keep it fun and interesting for me.
What do you use to edit your photos?
Natural sunlight is key for me to get sharpness and brightness in my photos. I also play around with the settings on the camera to experiment. As for editing, there are a number of tools out there but the Instagram app has some good ones.
What is your favourite shot that you’ve published on Instagram?
It’s tough to pick one but the one of Riley lying on his Harry Barker black & white stripe bed always does it for me. It’s fun, I love the contrast and he just looks so darn cute with that smile. It also feels sweeter because it was a difficult shoot. Placing the products, my back aching, but it was worth it.
Has Instagram changed your approach to photography & if so how?
I knew nothing of photography before I started Instagram. You “point and shoot” as far as I was concerned. Experience has taught that so much more is involved. Plus, I had to come up tricks to get my dog to pose.
What inspires you?
There’s no shortage of inspiration with my husband, family and friends giving me support. Also, my hometown of Montreal has a great art scene.
Who are your favourite Instagrammers?
One of my favourite Instagrammers is @joselourenco. Their work is simple, colourful, sharp and always a pleasure to have on my feed. I like the way they play with patterns and you can tell they have an eye for colour and photography.
What is your favourite shot of theirs?
My favourite capture of theirs is from the Instagram Weekend Hashstag projects featuring balloons (#whpballoons). It was crafty, creative and funny. All the things that I love.
How do you promote your work?
I promote my work through my gallery on Instagram or my website, ichaity.com. People usually find me when I am featured in popular galleries with a hashtag.
To what do you attribute your success on Instagram?
It’s got to be a combination of things. I tried a ton of different stuff before finding my style. Keeping consistency with that style is what I continuously work at now. Being able to show the softer side of Riley, since his breed is known for being energetic and stubborn. It’s a nice contrast to display his calm and happy attitude. I think it’s a refreshing surprise to people.
Coming up with projects and introducing them creatively helps as well. All this keeps me motivated to battle the challenges of having a chronic illness. Sharing this part of my life with people and hearing their stories of dealing with pain helps us inspire each other and face those challenges head on.
What do you do for a living outside of Instagram?
I am a former art director and also worked in programming, graphics design and marketing. I am currently recovering from my illness and cannot return to my career, but I have been able to utilize my experience to put them to good use in my gallery.
What advice would you give to Instagram newbies?
My advice, if you’ve just joined Instagram, is to never concern yourself with numbers of likes and followers. Do it because you enjoy it. Show your creative side, whatever it may be. Work hard and develop your own style. The success comes with time and patience.
If you’re not already one of @ichaity‘s 125,000 followers, why not check out more of her wonderful photography featuring the oh-so-photogenic Riley!