ASU Instagrammers, Urban Outfitters a match made in heaven

Peanut butter and jelly. Tom and Jerry. ASU and Urban Outfitters.

It may not be the first pair to come to your mind, but with locations near the Tempe and the Downtown Phoenix campus, students are a large part of the hip clothing store’s success and brand, including the store's blog and social media accounts.

Urban's Arizona Instagram account, boasting more than 19,700 followers, has been the spotlight for some of ASU’s most talented photographers.

Journalism sophomore Mallory Prater has had three of her pictures posted on the account.  Her shots, ranging from adventure-scapes to pictures of clothes, have received more than 700 likes each.

Fall layering perfection | : @mallory.prater #uoonyou #uoaroundyou #uoarizona

A photo posted by Urban Outfitters Arizona (@uoarizona) on

Prater was drawn to Urban Outfitters when she applied to work there after moving to Phoenix for school. The store has always been one of her favorites because of its aesthetic and atmosphere.

“Urban Outfitters, as a company, has a very young urban focus and was actually started near a college campus in Philadelphia with the target audience being college students,” Prater said. “The vibe of the store from the music to the interior design appeals to college-aged people.”

Prater got involved with photography for the account after being introduced to the head of the Arizona Instagram by a coworker, who asked if she would be interested in shooting for the account.

Every week, Prater and four other photographers are given a direction and execute shoots based upon that and trends for the week.

“The planning of the shot is what takes the most time," Prater said, who uses her iPhone, digital cameras and film cameras, but prefers film. "Once I have everything styled and staged the way I want it, taking an iPhone picture takes hardly any time at all."  

With the strength of iPhone cameras, around eight megapixels on the new models, and app capability, taking Urban Outfitters Instagram-able pics isn’t out of reach for any student.

“Nearly anyone can take a great photo if they have the right subject and lighting," she said. "I think for photography of this style, it's more about the preparation and vision beforehand and the editing afterwards than the actual click of the camera button."  

Prater's friend and journalism sophomore Jade Yeban played model for one of Prater’s first shots. She said Prater's artistic flair and her knowledge of style as a retail employee makes her the perfect photographer for the account.  

"I think that they admire Mallory's work so much because she does have such a devotion to the Urban brand," she said.  

Photography sophomore Regan Norton was posted on the Urban account, simply by tagging one of her photos with one of the store’s hashtags.

She’s gone on to have multiple photos posted, collecting more than 84,700 likes on one picture.

The store is Norton’s favorite because of the style Urban Outfitters promotes, sells and supports of the arts. Its Instagram account is a daily source of inspiration for photography, she said.

Norton added that she looks at color and composition when taking pictures for Instagram to create moods for her photos.

“Being a photography major, I’m always trying to get the right angles and the perfect composition for my Instagram photos,” Norton said. “I look to see where the subject is in relation to the angle I’m shooting at, along with the colors, and overall feel of the image.”

While Norton said she prefers taking pictures with a DSLR camera, she also said she has experience with film and iPhone photography.

Her advice? Practice makes perfect. Take pictures everyday. Your own brand of Urban Outfitters aesthetic may be just one snap away.

Related Links:

How-To: Be "Successful" on Instagram

Why I'm happier without Instagram


Reach the reporter at cmlnarik@asu.edu or follow @carsonisawkward on Twitter.

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