How to Take the Perfect Polaroid Photo, According to the Creative Force Behind Some of Music's Biggest Stars

Inspiration is wherever you are.

Left: Quinn Whitney Wilson holding Polaroid Go camera; Right: Quinn Whitney Wilson with yellow fingernails against yellow taxi
Photo: Courtesy of Polaroid and Quinn Whitney Wilson

If you're looking for a true creative force look no further than Quinn Whitney Wilson. Based in Los Angeles and spending plenty of time around NYC and the rest of the world, Wilson is a creative director, filmmaker, makeup artist, activist, and all-around badass Black woman making space for queer and marganlized people.

"You can't be what you can't see, so make yourself known," Wilson told Travel + Leisure. "It's frustrating and sometimes paralyzing to live in a world where we don't all see ourselves where we know we belong, but allowing that frustration to stop you from creation is not an option. At the end of the day, I would say to the underrepresented creative, please do you, because we need you."

Quinn Whitney Wilson standing on roof
Courtesy of Polaroid and Quinn Whitney Wilson

And we need Wilson, a world builder who has concepted and directed music videos and live performances for a range of artists, including Katy Perry and King Princess, (who also happens to be her significant other). In fact, Wilson got her start working as Lizzo's makeup artist before becoming the pop star and body activist's creative director, leading projects like the music video for "Juice," world tours, and more.

Now, Wilson is sharing her own creative tips and tricks with T+L to help everyone document life in creative ways. Teaming up with Polaroid Go, the world's smallest analog instant camera, Wilson has been documenting her own life using instant film, and the photos are obviously stunning.

Left: Quinn Whitney Wilson holding pink ribbon; right: yellow, white, and pink flowers
Courtesy of Polaroid and Quinn Whitney Wilson

"I'm constantly taking photos on my phone, but in all honesty, I cherish the photos that are taken on film more, the tangible memories always seem more important," Wilson shared, noting that the point of a Polaroid camera is to be "reactive," and that when you see something you have a reaction to "whip that thing out."

As for inspiration, Wilson says to look up close. "I find inspiration from tiny things - I mean tiny, tiny. It can be as small as an iridescent jellyfish or the way a fabric reflects light. I always find that you can take something tiny and make it large! I've gone micro with my inspiration and it always tends to grow bigger and bigger until suddenly I have an entire music video or live performance based around this tiny little concept."

Quinn Whitney Wilson showing framed photograph to friends
Courtesy of Polaroid and Quinn Whitney Wilson

One simple idea that can get lost while documenting real life, according to Wilson, remembering to live in that moment. "I've found that it's so much better to not think about what you're documenting and rather, just document," she says. "Overthinking is the enemy. You may not realize how important an absent-minded picture or journal entry might mean to you years from now. It's your life, and anyway you choose to notate your memories is unique and beautiful."

Tanner Saunders is the Experiences Editor at Travel + Leisure.

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