Great Light by Reema Desai in Washington, DC

Name:Reema Desai

Place you live: Washington, DC

Occupation: Freelance Photographer and Travel Editor for

Preoccupation: Petting every dog I see!

Place your Instagrams were taken? I live in DC so most of them are taken here, but I do a fair bit of traveling as well so there are some from recent trips as well.

Can you sum up Washington DC? A lot of people consider DC to be a very serious town centered around just politics. In reality, there is a really interesting art and food scene to be experienced. There are a lot of different neighborhoods that make up the city and each has it’s own unique vibe and charm. It’s a great place for artists and photographers, for sure!

What is a perfect day in Washington DC? First stop would probably be coffee with my boyfriend and dog at La Colombe, a little coffee spot a few minutes from my apartment. Then maybe a trip to a museum or gallery after a lazy morning coffee. I would probably head to lunch at one of the billions of new restaurants that have opened or are about to open in my neighborhood, and then maybe hop on a Capital Bikeshare bike to work off lunch and explore a different part of town. During the summer, it’s great to kayak or paddle board on the Potomac. I’d end the day with dinner at Le Diplomate, and then perhaps have a few friends over for after dinner drinks. My ideal day here is definitely surrounded by food.

If Washington DC was a person or character who would it be and why? I feel like everyone expects it to be Frank Underwood from House of Cards.

How long have you been using Instagram? Four years, I think? Time flies and my first photos were truly terrible so don’t look!

Do you shoot with your phone or other cameras or both? My iPhone.

What is your editing process? I shoot with the regular iPhone app, edit in VSCOcam and then transfer to Instagram. I may make a few minor edits in the Instagram app before posting, but a majority of my editing is done in VSCO. I stick to the same two or three filters.

Has Instagram/phoneography affected how you shoot? Mobile photography has definitely made me a better photographer just because it makes it possible for me to constantly have a great camera to shoot with on me at all times (because carrying a heavy DSLR everywhere just isn’t feasible for me). I’m a big believer that the more you shoot, the better you’ll get.

Can you give a couple tips to aspiring Instagram photographers? Shoot the stuff you like to shoot rather than what you think other people are doing. Know your own worth and be cautious about giving away your hard work for free. A lot of people forget that if you’re shooting Instagram content for a brand or company, it’s still real photo content that you should be compensated for. Find great light! Look for interesting shadows. Lighting can transform an otherwise average photo into something amazing.

Who are your three favorite Instagrammers? @dialaskitchen@corinanika@nicole_franzen


Name:Reema Desai

City:Washington DC

Best place to eat:

Tough decision! Le Diplomate is loved by all and for good reason.

Best place to drink:


Best outdoor activity:

Anything on the Potomac if you’re here during the warmer months. I love kayaking.

Must do:

Go beyond the National Mall and explore some of the neighborhoods!

Local tip:

Rent a bike on Capital Bikeshare! It’s a really bikeable city, and it’s a great way to see more than what you’d see on the metro or on foot.