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NYC photographer–and Instagram pro–Silvie Bonne gives picture-taking tips on a walk through Harlem

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

Photographer Silvie Bonne

Leaf through photographer Silvie Bonne's new book, "NYC Guide for Instagrammers" –or scroll through her popular Instagram feed–and it's easy to admire her natural eye for capturing New York City at its prettiest.

But it turns out Bonne, a native of Belgium who moved to New York with her husband and son in 2017, also has some serious experience.

The daughter of an amateur lensman who kept a darkroom in the house, the 41-year-old has worked as a professional photographer for the last eight years while continuing to take courses from institutions such as the International Center of Photography. (Find out more about her services here.)

Taking a deep dive into Instagram has only added to her know-how. Using the social network to find photogenic places when she first arrived in the city, Bonne quickly began exploring New York with her camera.

By the fall of last year, she had enough images to publish her book, featuring 100 iconic spots around the city. Making stops everywhere from Central Park to Coney Island, it's both a guide to New York and a tip-filled resource for budding photographers.

Eager to see everyday Harlem through Bonne's eye–iconic spots like the Apollo Theater and Red Rooster have already been covered in her book–The Curious Uptowner recently invited the photographer on a short tour of the neighborhood.

Here she explores just a small part of Harlem with her Nikon 750 and shares a few easy-to-follow tips for getting the perfect shot on Instagram and beyond.

To see more images from the walk, head to Silvie Bonne's blog.

1. Use flowers as a frame or as part of the composition, not just as a subject.

Location: West Harlem Piers

Photo by Silvie Bonne

Photo: Silvie Bonne

2. Yellow taxis and school buses are iconic–and look great against blue skies.

Location: 12th Avenue and 133rd Street under the Riverside Drive Viaduct

Photo by Silvie Bonne

Photo: Silvie Bonne

3. Don't miss the shadows–they can be quite beautiful.

Location: a stoop in Central Harlem

Photo by Silvie Bonne

Photo: Silvie Bonne

4. When photographing public art, make sure to add scale by including a person, a recognizable object or A part of another building. And don't forget to credit the artist.

Location: "From Harlem with Love: A Mural Project for Yuri & Malcolm," 125th Street and Old Broadway

Photo by Silvie Bonne

Photo: Silvie Bonne

5. Use the reflection in a puddle for added effect–the trick is to get as close to the water as possible. On Instagram you can find this kind of picture under the hashtag #puddlegram.

Location: Hamilton Terrace and 144th Street

Photo by Silvie Bonne

Photo: Silvie Bonne

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