Instax memories from the Canary Islands

I am Zsofia Berta, Sofía, I was born in Budapest, Hungary and I am currently living in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Photography is my passion, I managed several social media accounts as part of my job and as my hobby as well. This year another world opened for me with the analog and flat lay photography when the Fuji Instax SQ6 entered my life.

Hello Sofía, thank you for all your availability for this interview and sharing your amazing and very original work! Could you please start by introducing yourself to our readers?
Hi Maurício and Hugo! First of all, I would like to thank you for choosing me and my work to present to your audience, such an honour!

A brief introduction, I am Hungarian and I live in the Canary Islands for eight years. I lived most of this time on Fuerteventura, and I worked in the management of a prestigious Spanish hotel chain. Due to our work, we moved to Tenerife three years ago and soon our lives got even more complete with a beautiful baby boy as we became parents in 2019! And here I am, taking all the photos I can about our lively baby. The hardest thing of my life as he is always moving, it is quite challenging with an instant camera.

What is it like to live in the Canary Islands, a place that many only dream of visiting for a brief vacation? And for those who have not yet visited, for what reasons would you recommend everyone to board a plane and fly over there?
Life here is like an endless summer holiday with a lot of places to visit, unique beaches and amazing forests. The islands have a good connection with each other and with mainland Spain, and actually with all Europe so nothing is really too far if we need a little bit of change after a while… Also, here, if you wish to feel like winter then you make a trip to Tenerife to Mount Teide when it becomes snowy during the winter season 😊

There is a huge diversity among the islands so it depends on what you are looking for in your life and in yourself when you decide to move to the Canary Islands. I would say: you can find everything here and you will visit at least three of the islands to find everything you need.

If someone is considering to spend their holidays in one of the Canarian islands I recommend to know them a bit more before travelling, but for sure they will find their needs over here. Lanzarote with Graciosa are so exceptional islands and then there is Fuerteventura, by far the best place if you are dreaming of white and yellow sand beaches.

The island is famous for its amazing lagoons and endless long beaches, aaaand it is called the Hawaii of Europe because it is a surfers paradise!!! Gorgeous waves, really epic ones both for the riders and the photographers and idyllic environment for wind and kitesurfing. For a gastronomic holiday experience, I’d rather suggest visiting Tenerife. And the ones who are curious about those volcanic black sand beaches then I recommend visiting Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma or El Hierro. I could talk about why to visit the islands forever 😊

What are your passions, what do you like to do in your free time?
In my free time, I love walking in the golden sand or trying to ride easy waves. At the moment I´d rather say that my passions are interior design and photography. I find it really relaxing when it comes to taking photos. I admire the nature, the waves and the sunsets are mesmerizing here so I prefer to capture them.

Although I really miss those waves of Fuerteventura as I loved learning to surf. When it comes to decoration, I discovered a few months ago during the quarantine the flatlay photography and it is like designing a photo with objects you find around you, just like an Instax camera and then there you go! So much fun creating these photos!

When did you first get interested in Photography?
I remember going with my mother to the Kodak Photo Studio in the town where I grew up, and after a week or two waiting for the photos, finally they gave you the envelope with all the printed holiday memories!

How did you decide to use an Instax camera?
I got it for Reyes Magos (6th of January – Spanish festive day) from my fiancé and here I am, learning to use it.

Among the different Instax models, why the SQ6?
He told me it was the best in the shop and he felt it would fit me the best.

In the case of instant cameras, it’s crucial to choose your subjects very well, and be aware of the light and the framing, as each photo has a cost. Do you agree?
Sure as hell – if I can express myself with these words. On Instagram I found a great Instax community to get some idea about how to use this camera, what kind of photos can this camera make and all the features of it thanks to Antony (@myinstantimages).

Also sometimes with Laura (@lauraguiomar) we have some laugh about the way our photos looked – totally not as expected – after developing, so instant photography is challenging. Me, I had to go back to the basics of photography.

I read the instructions over and over again after starting to use my Instax as if it was a usual camera and finishing the packages of instant films I got at home with only two photos worth to have a second look on them 😊

Lighting is everything for me when I choose the setup for the Instax SQ6. Here we have very strong sunlight, so I use many times the Dark mode. Also, I still have the original batteries as I almost never use the flash. What really surpassed my expectations were the photos by dusk! All colors were perfectly captured and even though firstly I tried it, there was absolutely no need to use the Lighter mode.

How many 10-photo packs do you use every month?
I would say an average of 2.

In addition to the standard white-border paper, what different types of instant film do you use?
For sunset shots, I like the black frame photos and I tried the star illumination frames but now I only order the white-framed ones. I would prefer a mixed package of them, like 5 of each and I miss the monochrome option they provide for the Instax Wide cameras.

Almost everyone who uses instant film, speaks about the difference between having a physical photo that you can grab and glue to the wall, or on the contrary, a simple jpeg file buried in the phone or computer memory. What do you feel about that?
I like to see the Instax photos or the jpeg files printed out as they immediately bring you back to that exact moment when the photo was taken. Besides, to browse among photos from years back in physical photo albums or on my laptop or on my phone is quite relaxing, kind of time travelling and fills me with happiness. Then I start to print out more photos and I have to start to look for more place on the wall 😊

Based on your experience, what is your opinion on the SQ6 and which camera would you buy if it were today?
The SQ6 is a great camera with great features, I would only buy the next version of it. Or maybe the Instax Wide 300 Toffee, as I find it very photogenic for my flatlay photos 😊

To capture the beautiful flat lay images that you post on Instagram, what kind of camera do you use?
My Nikon D3400 and sometimes my iPhone7.

We noticed that, to publish on Instagram, you don’t just shoot that piece of instant film. On the contrary, you create beautiful compositions, real works of art, that give a context to the original photograph. How did you start this process, and how do you choose what to use as props?
Thank you for these appreciative words! When I got this camera I had to discover a whole new world of photography and a whole new community on Instagram. I got the inspiration watching the photos and starting to follow Instax hashtags. Then I realized that there were only a few photos of the camera itself.

I found this blush gold SQ6 a great subject to take photos of and I started to design and create, and here it is, the @fujiinstaxsq6bysofia! With surprisingly good feedbacks from the community and also from the official Fuji Instax accounts.

Thank you Sofía! It was a pleasure to have you for this interview. To conclude, would you like to tell us your wishlist for future Instax releases?
Thank you too, Maurício and Hugo! Well, I have a feeling – after I saw a photo on Anthony’s page – that Fuji Instax has already listened my wishes and the new square camera has some upgraded features! Also, it would be great to have the possibility to control the aperture and the shutter speed… And an additional childproof lens protector could be awesome 😊

"I am Zsofia Berta, Sofía, I was born in Budapest, Hungary and I am currently living in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. At the University, I studied Public Relations and Economics, and later I worked as manager in the fields of Guest Experience and Online Reputation. Photography is my passion, I managed several social media accounts as part of my job and as my hobby as well. 15 years ago I started taking photos in the Austrian Alps with my Sony Xperia phone. When I moved to Fuerteventura I owned an iPhone but very soon I got a Nikon D3400 camera with a 200-500mm lens to be able to capture the waves, the surfers and those amazing cutbacks. Recently I became a mother and I am learning portrait photography now, with a restless toddler, so not the easiest way I can say. This year another world opened for me with the analog and flat lay photography when the Fuji Instax SQ6 entered my life."

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