Canon’s Digital Billboards Help New Yorkers Take the Perfect Instagram Picture

200 customizable tips in key locations

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

Here's a fun way to step up your Instagram game. Starting today, Canon and 360i are setting up pop-up digital billboards around New York's most photographed locations to help people snap their best photos.

The outdoor campaign includes trucks that pop open to display digital screens in three of the city's most-photographed areas: the Flatiron District, Central Park South (at 59th Street and 5th Avenue) and the Brooklyn Bridge (at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Fulton Ferry Landing). The brand is also running ads on billboards at Penn Plaza near Madison Square Garden.

Through Sunday, the digital billboards will pull in 200 tips from data gathered from social networks, traffic updates and weather information, and the billboard's creative can be swapped on the fly based on current conditions.

"We started by looking at the hottest regions of photo activity in NYC, based on where people were taking and posting the most photos, which guided the placement of our billboards," said Pierre Lipton, 360i's chief creative officer. "Throughout the campaign we'll be listening on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and responding to people who submit their photos on these platforms. And that's in addition to all the APIs we'll be listening to—pulling in weather, traffic, location information and more."

Outside of Madison Square Garden, New York Knicks and Rangers fans will see a sports-related message before the teams' games this week. And during Billy Joel's concert on Thursday night, attendees will get a tip on how to snap a concert picture.

Other advice includes how to shoot into bright sunlight in the middle of the day, take a picture in the rain and fog, and shoot the perfect sunset.

A team of five people will also be on-site to give passersby tips on how to take pictures, and people can also test out Canon cameras.

Using the hashtag #RealTimeTips, people who post on social media will be directed to, a scrolling website filled with 100 tips for photographers like "how to create a double exposure." Each one is illustrated with cinemagraphs and GIFs.

Check out the heat map of New York's most photographed locations:

Canon's campaign is the latest example of the brand's focus on mobile and digital work that doesn't necessarily promote its line of cameras. Last year, Canon launched a digital platform for photographers to share their work and this year's "Project Imagination: The Trailer" contest with Hollywood producer Ron Howard encouraged consumers to submit 60-second films from their lives.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.