#Yinzstagrammer Spotlight #1: Sarah Collins of Rose Colored Creative

Originally published March 1st, 2017.

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Pittsburghers may not realize it, but this city has something special going on in terms of its Instagram scene.  

It is the perfect goldilocks size. There is consistently new stuff on your feed, but the connections don't end there. These are real people who live and appreciate the city. You actually see them in person (which usually ends up being low-key awkward, but whatever). 

People see Instagram as a superficial app, and it is that... but it isn't. It's a place where people can show of the city, and develop a personal style. I am constantly inspired by what other people are doing in Pittsburgh, and am so happy I get to see it through Instagram.  

To highlight this I am beginning feature different Instagrammers, to show off what they are showing off in Pittsburgh, and glue us all together as one, online community.  

This is being called #Yinzstagram for obvious reasons. 

First up is my friend Sarah Collins of Rose Colored Creative.  We met up last week to discuss all things Pittsburgh, photography, and Instagram.  Sarah is a fashion and lifestyle shooter, and can be found on her Rose Colored Creative account, and personal account Sarah Collins Photography. 

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What is Rose Colored Creative in your own words?
Sarah Collins: I created Rose Colored because I shoot a lot of different stuff right now, fashion, weddings, product, food, but I loved doing fashion and lifestyle shoots. I started following some accounts with sunsets and beautiful clothes, and I really wanted to feature that part of my work. I made Rose Colored to focus on editorial portraits and fashion bloggers.  I wanted something that was girly and fun, but authentic. 

Do you have a memory of the first time you picked up a camera and connected with it?
SC: Yeah, when I was in high school my mom bought a nice camera, and through her pictures I saw things I would do differently, so I just started taking pictures with her camera and it felt super natural. I took it on a trip to Haiti, and when I returned I got so much positive feedback, that is when I really started

What do you see as your style?
SC: It started as very journalistic, but the more I take pictures, and even Instagram has influenced this, but my style has shifted to fashion and lifestyle, incorporating journalism. My goal was to become more of a fashion and lifestyle shooter.

Was that your goal pre-Instagram?
SC: No, Instagram actually really influenced it.  I majored in photo-journalism in college, but I never had a goal with it, or was sure where I wanted to take it. My favorite things just became networking and fashion events, and Instagram has helped me narrow that as something I like to do.  Instagram has also inspires me to try out things, and do more creative shoots.  Things thing I did just for fun on Instagram have become a series in my work. 

Have you found that Instagram is something successful photographers now need?
SC: Yeah, I mean there are established photographers who don't need to update frequently. However, as a photographer in our generation, if you have an Instagram you don't update frequently, you sometimes don't have as much merit compared those who do.  

It has really become the best way to quickly glimpse someones style. How do you balance photo vs. feed?
SC: I have a really hard time with that.  I have struggled with keeping my photos consistent, which is why I gave my company, Rose Colored Creative, its own feed, as compared to my Sarah Collins account.  On Sarah Collins I can spew my thoughts or any photo I just took that day, but on Rose Colored Creative, I focus on a feed of my style. 

How do you feel about Instagram in Pittsburgh?
SC: I think it is super interesting.  I have never experienced it in other cities to know what it is like, but Pittsburgh is this interesting size where you can actually know people from Instagram.  You even see them in real life, or at events, and you wonder, "Do I know this person? Should we talk?" It is really funny.  There are a lot of sub-communities like Steel City Grammers and 412 Project, which are neat.

It is also funny when you are going through someone's work, and then you recognize a model as someone you went to high school with.  
SC: That has happened to me a few time too!

How do you see the fashion community in Pittsburgh as compared to other cities?
SC: I don't know a lot about other cities, but I wish I did, because I even sometimes form opinions on Pittsburgh in comparison to other cities, and then I am like, "Wait a second, I don't know what is happening there." You see New York and LA, but Pittsburgh has cool things going for it, like Style412and Style Social.  Style Social is a great place where bloggers can support each other.  Style412 is an open discussion about how we can work on the style industry in Pittsburgh. There are a lot of people, men and women, who have come back home from New York because they saw there was stuff happening here, and how much they could bring to it.  It is hard because there are a lot of people who don't care about style, and you see them, but there are also a ton of people who do. 

What part of pittsburgh are you trying to show?
SC: I have a lot of pride for Pittsburgh like a lot of people do, but not for sports.  I think there is a lot happening, and a lot to show what is going on. As a style photographer, I can show people all that it happening.  It almost feels like my duty. 

What area of the city if you went to without your camera you would be like, "Damnit!" What area are you most inspired by?
SC: Everywhere! I don't know, I annoy myself because I don't like to carry my camera around if I don't have a shoot scheduled, but then something will be going on, or the light will be perfect, and I'll be like, "Why don't I have my camera?"

I live in Polish Hill, and I am super inspired there.  You can see everything from up there, and the sunrises just dance and cast light over everything.  I always imagine do a really elaborate sunrise shoot on my fire escape. 

Where is an area you keep going back to as a spot to shoot in?

SC: The Strip District at golden hour. Every time I am in the produce terminal at golden hour, it is stunning.  You can see the bridges and the city. The sun sets behind it and everything is orange and pink and beautiful.  I just picture that area, and a flowy dress.  Every single time I am there at sunset I want to do a shoot. Every single time. 

What do you think about Pittsburgh street style?
SC: That is the funny thing.  I was in Toronto recently and it was ridiculous, 90% of the people on the streets were super fashionable. I wish Pittsburgh is more like that.  In some areas, maybe Butler street you can see some style. Chance from Keep Pittsburgh Dope finds people Downtown. It has a long way to go. I do have immense pride for Point Park because Point Park kids have street style and know what they are doing. 

Do you have one or two photos that stand out to you from your work?
SC: I really figured out what I wanted to do with photography during my senior project.  I decided to do my project in nature, and do a fashion look book shoot. I decided to use glitter, and this photo came out of it, and that is probably one of my favorite picture.  

Another one is this one of my little cousin, who is kinda like my little sister, and these are her senior pictures. We got crazy luck in the sunset.  We were in Greensburg, and she was just standing on a rock in a parking lot, but with angles we were able to create these crazy, dreamy aspects of Greensburg.

You could have told me that was out west. 
SC: Yeah! That is just what it looked like.  It is one of my favorite shoots. 

Tell me about your shoot with Liz from Pittsburgh.
SC: Yeah! She had this idea about a shoe shoot. She wanted to feature all these shoes, and she wrote a really fun blog post with it. It was funny because I was like, "Are you down for anything?" She was like, "What do you mean?"  I asked her to lay down and put her feet up, even though it was dirty and rocky and she had a nice coat on.  She was so cool with it.  That pink wall is also amazing.  That is another area where I always want to shoot.

Can you talk about something that doesn't work for you?
SC: Yeah, and this is actually upsetting to me, and something I am working on, but still life and some product stuff.  That is what I always wanted to do, and I have tried, but I am not there yet. When there aren't people and I am not capturing emotion, it is harder.  I like styling things, and I like styling my home, but it hasn't come to naturally yet. 

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