Konstantin Vulkov: Three things that your really like in Instagram?
Melissa M. Tee: I love how Instagram opens this portal of talent. Since I've started using Instagram, I have been constantly amazed by the creativity people put into these 4x4 Squares. It's not just about taking a photo with a camera but also how you fit a photo into a square, composure is key.
I love the positive vibes of the platform and people seem to be more willing to give compliments to good photos. You rarely see negative comments on Instagram as appose to Facebook.
And lastly, I love how Instagram exposes you to different users around the world, indirectly showing their trends and culture. I follow people from all over the world - from the neighbouring countries of Singapore (Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea) to people from the other side of the globe.
Konstantin: You are a stylist and your feed is really perfect, every photograph is looking amazing. How much time do you devote to this?
Thank you so much for the lovely compliment, it is truly humbling to hear and it's these encouragements that keep me working harder to produce more inspiring images to share. I used to devote less time when I was starting out, but these days I try to put in much more effort in coming up with new ways to feature products and keep the feed exciting. I would say about 48hrs in a week if I have to put a number.
Konstantin: What are the main tips & tricks for using Instagram as a visual media?
Melissa: I'm not expert, but what I try to do is to keep my feed consistent in terms of colors and feel.
I also want the feed to express who I am and what I believe in, so 'staying true', I believe is one of the key things that draws users. And lastly play around with what you can do in a 4x4 square, push boundaries and keep my feed interesting.
Konstantin: Are you enjoying social media or does it make you anxious?
It's funny you asked that, because this is not something people commonly think of social media. But yes, it does make me anxious. Mainly because I hope my feed continues to inspire as I put effort into keeping that. So sometimes, I do get anxious that my images might not be interesting enough, especially when I'm given a product to feature and I have absolutely no idea how to make it look appealing to users. But that pushes me to think out of the box and when you feel you have accomplished that, it's almost like the best feeling in the world.
Konstantin: What is a typical daily schedule for you?
I have a full-time job at a digital creative advertising agency where I manage the social media platforms of a global brand. So I'm almost on social media 24/7. I try to get pictures on the go so it all has to fall in place (right timing, right lighting, right outfit, right location) to get the perfect shot. I take flatlays over the weekends if I have spare time.
Konstantin: You obviously work much. Do you prefer coffee or tea?
Melissa: I used to not drink coffee, but with the long hours of my new job, I have started liking coffee a lot more.
Konstantin: Any media rituals - do you read some websites/newspapers/magazines specifically?
I look through my Instagram feed randomly throughout the day to keep myself abreast on the trends and what users are following or liking. I do read online articles to see what brands are doing on social media but that's more for work than my own Instagram. I also love flipping through magazines, keeping print alive and reading through long-form editorials.
Konstantin: Summer plans? How do you make them and where do you really like to have a vacation?
It's summer all year round in Singapore (mostly), so we do not really take summer seriously like other parts of the world. But we do like to escape from our little tiny island once in awhile. I love being near to water (I'm a Pisces) but I also love the feeling of staring out at city lights so I try to visit a mix of city and beach destinations. My frequent visits would be to Hong Kong, Bangkok (for city) and Bali, Bintan (for beaches).
Konstantin: Favourite city so far and why?
Melissa: Hong Kong. I love everything there, the food, weather, culture, people! I think it's the closest country to experience cooler weather since we don't have winter in Singapore. Food is simple but comforting like Dim Sum or a humble bowl of noodles soup and a thick slice of spam.
And though Hong Kong is as fast paced as Singapore, with beautiful city lights at night, it also has this old world charm that I'm undeniably attracted to.
Konstantin: Linen or cotton towel for the beach?
Konstantin: What role does travelling play in your life?
It's the way I de-stress and keep myself inspired.
Konstantin: Where do you get your inspirations from?
All over. But mostly from work that comes from overseas users of Instagram and travelling.
Konstantin: Finally, a favourite song at the moment?