Small Town Metropolis by Kevin Mao in San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a city filled with creative talent. There are a lot of amazing photographers based in the Bay Area and Kevin Mao is one who frequently stands out to us. Take a look at his beautiful work and explore what life is like living in beautiful San Francisco: k_mao

Name:Kevin Mao

Place you live: San Francisco, California

Occupation: Designer

Preoccupation: Photography and learning to be a better designer

Place your Instagrams were taken?San Francisco Bay Area

Can you sum up San Francisco? San Francisco is a metropolis at a small town scale, a storied city filled with quaint culture and boundary-pushing talent, surrounded by the beauty of nature.

What is a perfect day in San Francisco? Brunch, coffee, and ice cream, in between exploring, shooting, and waiting in lines for brunch, coffee, and ice cream.

If San Francisco was a person who would it be? Elon Musk. Brilliant, interesting, engaged in a varied range of endeavors, with a hint of weird.

How long have you been using Instagram? Over 4 years

What do you shoot with? I only post iPhone shots on my Instagram. I have a DSLR that I rarely use.

What is your editing process? I edit on my iPhone, mostly with Snapseed and VSCO. My edits tend to be a mix of what I envision and some serendipity.

Has Instagram affected how you shoot? Definitely. Instagram has given me an extraordinary amount of inspiration. My iPhone has enabled me to do creative photography on the go. They’ve greatly enhanced my creativity and curiosity.

Can you give a couple tips to aspiring Instagram photographers? Explore and practice and shoot more if you’re looking to expand your boundaries. It’s basic advice, but it can’t be stressed enough. You learn by trying. Also, don’t get caught up in likes and followers on Instagram. Sure it holds some weight, but it can be a really negative and useless way to frame your view of photography.

Who are your three favorite Instagrammers? It’s too difficult for me to narrow it down to three, but @dantom @thismintymoment and @chriscreature come to mind.


Want more Instagram tips and inspiration? Check out all of our Best of Instagram features and learn from the masters.

Want to be featured on our best of Instagram series and bask in the glory? Follow Global Yodel on Instagram and tag your best local shots with #GlobalYodel!


Name:Kevin Mao

City:San Francisco

Best place to eat:

Chinatown for an unbeatable value. Rhea’s Cafe for the best fried chicken sandwich ever.

Best outdoor activity:

Hike Mount Tamalpais when there’s low fog.

Must do:

Sunset at Grandview Park followed by chicken wings at San Tung. Or maybe a cable car ride down California Street.

Local tip:

Don’t come in the summer if you don’t like @karlthefog.