Behind the lens: Meeting one of Sacramento’s favorite Instagrammers

Xing Liu
(Photo courtesy of Xing Liu)

If you’ve ever been to a Sacramento event – Gather Nights, Concerts in the Park, or even just an evening at Temple Coffee – chances are you’ve seen local photographer and Sac State alumnus Xing Liu plying his creative genius.

The 32-year-old engineer-turned-photographer is one of Sacramento’s busiest and most popular personalities behind the camera. Highsnobiety lists him among the top six photographers you need to follow. This weekend, Sacramento State welcomes him as our Weekend Guest Instagrammer, and he’s ready to show off the best and brightest spots on campus through the lens of his Fujifilm X-T1.

Originally from Taishan, China, Liu moved  to the United States in 2002 to pursue higher education. He graduated from Sacramento State in 2011 with a master’s degree in software engineering and is now a senior software engineer at SymSoft Solutions.

But after work, Liu lives his true passion as @caliallstaring on Instagram, with more than 23.6K followers and countless collaborations with artists across the region.

Liu’s photographs reflect a deep love for the Sacramento community, giving viewers infinite reasons, big or small, to brag about their city. Whether it’s a flower field, local business, or just some really great ice cream, Liu makes them glow:

In 2012, he found his first inspirational subject: flowers. Since then, his passion has evolved from petals to people, as he evokes beauty and strives to capture the mood and expression of human subjects in various settings.

Many have asked – as evidenced in his ever-flowing comments section on Instagram – how does he do it? In addition to providing photo tips in many of his captions, Liu always offers up encouragement and advice to photographers:

“Try different angles, and follow where the light is,” says Liu. “For portraits, make sure the background is clean enough for the subject to stand out.”

And while Liu’s subjects surely do stand out, so does he.

Be sure to follow @SacState and @caliallstaring on Instagram this Fourth of July weekend for the very special takeover.

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Author: Jayla Lee

Jayla Lee is a Communications Specialist for Public Affairs at Sacramento State.

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