Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Reality of Instagram

Bloggers tend to have this great talent at making things seem much better than they actually are. As you scroll through a blogger's Instagram, you swoon over their pictures, every one absolutely perfect. The lighting, the styling, the photography, the background, everything, perfectly picturesque. I constantly find myself in awe of how gorgeous an Instagram feed is and immediately become envious of their life. Their daily lattes (with the most gorgeous latte art), fun adventures that they seem to be constantly on, magazine-worthy outfits every day, everything about their lives seem to be what we all would love to live. However, is this really what their daily lives look like?

For me, Instagram started out as a way to connect with friends, post pictures and see what everyone else is up to. But as of lately, not just for me personally, Instagram has become all about the aesthetic. Your pictures have to be crisp and interesting, it's not about whether you should use Valencia, Lo-Fi, or X-Pro II, it has become something that we put a lot of effort and thought into in order to get it to look just right. This especially is true for bloggers and people that are "Instagram-famous" like Kylie Jenner. The rise of social media stars is picking up speed faster than ever. And because of this, the dynamic for the use of Instagram has changed drastically. So how do these "Instagram-famous" people do it? How do their lives seem constantly exciting and always so picturesque? 

The thing is, they aren't. Okay, maybe it might be a little more exciting if you're Kylie Jenner, but my point is that not everything is as it seems. The reality of Instagram is that most posts are posed. While most posts seem like effortless snaps that people just took when they rolled out of bed (and they just happened to have perfect lighting), the truth is that they probably aren't as effortless as they seem. "Instagram stars" are good at what they do, making what they do appear easy, as if it's part of their daily life, even if it isn't exactly the best representation of their life. You see, Instagram pictures are snapshots. They capture a single moment in time and only what's within the frame. However, there's so much more, outside of the frame, outside of that single moment that the photo was snapped during, than we see in that post. So today I thought that I would show some Instagram posts that I snapped and how the process of taking them actually panned out, which is much different than what you saw online. 

The Instagram:


This picture is definitely over-edited, I think I went a little too crazy with the contrast, but that's not the point. What appears like a picture that was just quickly snapped in front of a white wall actually took dozens of practice shots. Maybe the camera wasn't in focus or it just didn't look right, but this picture took numerous shots until I got it just right. The reality is that I don't have a pure white wall in my house, contrary to what it appears like, This picture was taken with my camera on a timer and me holding a white poster board in front of my face, to create the look of a a white wall. 

Reality:


The Instagram:


This picture was taken on the same day as the previous one, which you can probably tell by the shirt and the ponytail. Like the previous one, it took dozens of shots until I managed to get it just right. For this one, I rested the white poster board against the couch and then tried to angle the camera so that you couldn't tell that I was sitting on the ground. When I began editing it, I realized that after I cropped the picture into a square, you could still see over the top of the poster board. To solve that problem, I used a healing tool over the whole top part so that the entire background would be white. Then, it was lots of brightening and editing until the picture turned out the way that it did.

Reality:


The Instagram:



What was posted on Instagram is crazy different from what the picture actually looked like. It looks like a quick snap that I took of my coffee that was a one and done, just one snap and it was up on the gram. In reality, this photo was taken early in the morning, so it was still dark outside and the lighting was not ideal. I took the photo in front of one of my green walls with my iPhone and as I was editing it, I noticed the water mark on the wall that I couldn't quite delete using the healing tool. What I actually did to this picture was remove the background by making only the background black and white (I used an app for it) so that I could saturate the coffee color. After that, I brightened the picture background up a ton (Snapseed is the BEST) and this is the final product. The thing is, I've always wondered how those big Instagram accounts have pictures that look prettier than my pictures ever look. That's because of all the processing that the picture goes through. As you can see, the original picture looks more like your Snapchats and such, with bad lighting and decreased saturation. 

Reality:


The thing about Instagram is that we only show specific moments in our lives, but the reality is that sometimes, these Instagrams are anything but truthful representations of our lives, sometimes they're staged. Stages moments that don't tell a true story. We have to remember that the reality of Instagram isn't as glamorous as we think that they are. There are some moments that we have, that are absolutely incredible, and never shared online (related post: If You Didn't Post It On Social Media, Did it Really Happen?) and there are others, that are posted online, glamorizing one moment in particular, or creating a new, fictional one all together. When it comes to Instagram, it's important to keep in mind that there's more than meets the eye. 

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