Getting to Know the Luminance Speakers: Lucas Allen Buick, Hipstamatic

Getting to Know the Luminance Speakers: Lucas Allen Buick, Hipstamatic

Luminance 2012 – PhotoShelter’s conference on September 12-13 in NYC – is hosting over 2 dozen speakers in TED-style talks.

This week we introduce Lucas Allen Buick, CEO of Hipstamatic. Lucas got his start as a graphic designer, and worked as an editorial art director at various publications throughout his 20s. He quickly realized that he wanted to bring his own artistic vision to the world, so in 2006 he started Synthetic Corp. – which worked mostly on design, brand, and web consulting.

In 2009, Synthetic Corp. shifted its focus to mobile software, resulting in the birth of Hipstamatic.


Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere and everyday – I take all the bits and pieces from the experiences I have in my daily life and blend them all together. Sometimes they turn into something magical and other times they don’t, but the trick is actually writing stuff down so I can remember it later. The challenge isn’t often coming up with an idea, but more often figuring out why it makes sense or why we should take action on it.

When people interact with your brand or your product, what do you hope they take away from it?

My hope is that they touch our brand and are inspired to create. I also think it’s important to have a moment of surprise or serendipity or delight … these are all keys to falling in love with our products.

Where do you see your business in 5-10 years?

I look at what we’ve created so far as just the beginning. Three years ago you couldn’t take a photograph on your mobile phone and call yourself a photographer. Since then, Hipstamatic photographs have graced the covers the world’s top publications including the NY Times. We will continue to push this creative revolution and continue to blur the lines between analog, digital, and mobile. We want to democratize photography and empower creativity in the next generation of visual storytellers. It’s only just beginning, and we want to continue to lead this movement.

In a world where new businesses are starting up every day, what’s helped your business stand out?

Quite simply: design and thoughtfulness. There are many ways to build a company– business first, legal first, etc. We consider our company to be product first. Instead of building products that “people use”, we build products that we use, want, and continuously evolve to solve new problems that we discover in our daily lives.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

I love watching people create amazing stories with the products we make. I’ve developed nearly every look in Hipstamatic and yet there are still people who are able to capture moments that take my breath away. I know what the software is doing technically, but it’s the photographer that brings life into the images and truly makes the magic happen.


Lucas’ talk topic at Luminance is: “Capturing Moments: How filters are adding emotion to photography.” Interested in learning more about Luminance? Get all our ticket and pricing information here.


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  1. Lenny at 10:56 am

    I love Hipstamatic and use it constantly. I would love to get in touch with Mr. Buick and both ask a few questions and make suggestions. The app. is terrific, but fraught with frustrations of the user. Precision mode should be just that, got example: full screen, no gimmicky glare along the sides, and so forth. You may consider a new approach. Stop treating this remarkable software as a toy, for starters. Big time pro photographers are using it. It is not, I repeat, a toy. Allow us to purchase lenses, and so forth. Make the borders more precise and less child like. You could do both, I would imagine. Please everyone, in a sense. Have the best of both worlds. Also, the app is unstable and crashes from time to time. What Mr. Buick may fail to understand is that people who use his product are hooked. We’ll pay for things to be better. You can make money from of us. Honest!

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