#thingsyoulike by Chris Schoonover in Lawrenceville

Photographer Chris Schoonover decided to stop taking the photos he knew would get likes and comments and instead focus on creating images that inspired him. We’re grateful he made the switch. Chris’ photos and portraits are some of the most unique we’ve seen on Instagram. Check ’em out at @cschoonover

Name:Chris Schoonover

Place you live: Lawrenceville, NJ, but I spend a lot of time in NYC and southern NJ.

Place your Instagrams were taken: Lawrenceville, Princeton, NYC

Can you sum up Lawrenceville? Lawrenceville is a great little town in central New Jersey. Rider University is right around the corner so I see a lot of teams jogging. That may be as eventful as it gets, but I like that just fine. My house is a little cottage back in the woods. It’s nice and quiet. Home should be a peaceful place.

What is a perfect day in Lawrenceville? A perfect day in Lawrenceville would involve a lot of food, family and making photos. I’m fortunate enough to know some of the best people on the planet and I love to be around them constantly. If we all get together for a BBQ I’m set. Also, one of my favorite places around here is called Halo Farm. They make their own ice cream and it’s diabolical. If you’re ever in the area, give it a go.

If Lawrenceville was a person or character who would it be and why? Lawrenceville would probably be a college professor or a mommy-blogger. There is a university right around the corner and a ton of mini vans with soccer ball magnets on the back.

How long have you been using Instagram? Just over two years.

Do you shoot with your phone or other cameras or both? I use a variety of cameras. I use a Fujifilm x100s, Canon 5D Mark II and an iPhone5. Some may have an issue with people using non-phone photos on Instagram, but the camera isn’t changing the concept, subject or composition of the photo. The camera is just there to give me the best quality you can get. I was spending so much time taking photos on my phone and was realizing that I wasn’t able to print them or use them for anything else but the web. That was when I decided to get better tools.

What is your editing process? My editing process is very minimal. Unless I have to Photoshop out blemishes, I’ll usually just edit using VSCOcam or VSCO FILM. I try to make the image the best I can in camera so I don’t work hard in post.

Usual VSCOcam Process:
-Choose filter and adjust strength (I like M6, S2, C1-C3)
-Adjust exposure
-Sharpen +1 usually
-Adjust tint (watch skin tones)
-Add saturation if needed (watch skin tones)

Do you create images outside of Instagram? Yes I do, but I’d like to give Instagram credit for getting me into photography. I really enjoy sharing what I make with others. Otherwise, I don’t see the point in creating something.

How has Instagram/phoneography affected how you shoot? It’s been good and bad. I got into taking photos because of Instagram and it helped me grow to a point. After a while I started to realize that I wasn’t growing in the way that I should be. The things I saw in that forum didn’t inspire me. I think part of that comes from the fact that most of the photographers on Instagram are beginners like myself. I started to seek out what fashion and contemporary art photographers were doing. That has helped me grow tremendously.

There is also the temptation to take the photos that you know other people will “like” or get you more followers. I have decided just to take the photos that I want to take regardless of how many likes I get. I seem to get more comments and feedback when I do that anyway.

Can you give a couple tips to aspiring Instagram photographers? 


Take photos of the things that you like. I take a lot of portraits, which are probably one of the least popular type of photos on Instagram. There seems to be a formula for getting a lot of followers, which is to take photos of mountains, bridges and coffee. There is nothing wrong with that, but I don’t enjoy shooting those things and that’s ok! Stay true to your style and people will see that you’re being honest. Post what you like!

Always look at other people’s work. It takes a lot of time, but you have to feed your brain. To make images, you need to be looking at images and studying. You need to find out what’s possible, what hasn’t been done and what can be done better. I try to keep up with what’s going on with fashion and contemporary art photographers. Tumblr is where I get a lot of my inspiration these days.

Who are your three favorite Instagrammers? @jonschoonover, @stephdimiskovski, @pauljungdiary




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Name:Chris Schoonover


Best place to eat:

Halo Farms Ice Cream

Best place to drink:

Small World Coffee

Best outdoor activity:

Frisbee golf

Must do:

Princeton Record Exchange and Princeton University

Local tip:

There is a fireworks store right across the river in PA.