Since I got the iPhone 4S I've been doing most of my personal shooting with it. I'm really impressed with the quality and enjoy the limits of the square format that Instagram sets. Shooting like this also frees me of having to sit down to process photos, which usually takes a long time because I obsess over them until I'm satisfied. In a moment of clarity, I summed up my feelings about shooting with Instagram in a message to @photojack: For me, it helps let go of the idea of "perfect," allowing me to enjoy the results of the moment and move on.

I sometimes feel guilty about shooting with a "phone," but what matters to me is that I always have it with me and I'm getting good results with files that I can print at a decent size. I've started making prints for Art-A-Whirl and am also using some iPhone photos for a project I'm working on. More on that in another post.

Below are some of my favorite Instagram photos. If you want to find me there, my username is craigvanders.

toy airplane sky contrail bryant lake bowl ids center in minneapolis domo kodak starmite matchbox car crow pepsi machine

The Blenders

Last year I was lucky enough to do a shoot with The Blenders. I've worked with Allan in the past on the Sally J CD project and he gave me a call to work with his group. They wanted something that felt like a live shot, but had enough detail to print on posters and banners, which is something they haven't been able to do with actual live photos, not to mention trying to get everyone to have a good pose. We rented a theater for the day and worked with the house lighting mixed with strobes to emulate a live look. After spending time shooting all four of the guys together, it was clear that nailing the perfect "live" moment was going to be tough. We decided to shoot them all individually in lots of different poses that felt right for each of their personalities. Later, the selects were composited together into something that turned out really well.

Aside from being excited about the final image and how it looks in the CD packaging, it was pretty fun to see the posters around Minneapolis and up in the Pantages Theater at the merchandise table during their performances.

Ila Handbags

A few months ago I had the privilege of shooting in the studio all day for Ila Handbags, a Minneapolis company whose products are all handmade, using new and vintage fabrics.

This weekend we're doing another shoot and I remembered that I never blogged any of the photos from the last one, so here they are!

More photos and some behind the scenes shots after the jump.

Paula, the designer and owner of Ila Handbags:

Behind the scenes: