The Struggles of the InstaLife

Instagram might seem like a cool concept, and it really is. You can use it as a window to your everyday life to show the world, or you can be all cool and creative and have everyone view your world through the Valencia filter. Most choose to express themselves by using the later which brings up a whole other topic because, my God, creating the perfect Instagram post can be so stressful.

So often I go on Instagram and scroll through my feed and see these perfectly executed photos and get inspired to create my own. I look at the pictures and analyze how people could possibly achieve these social media masterpieces and have come up with a seemingly simple list of steps to take in order fulfill these aspirations.

It all starts with the unedited picture. Your picture game needs to be on point. The whole purpose of Instagram is to have cool pictures and if your initial picture sucks, then the whole post is going to suck. And a post that sucks is unacceptable if you’re aspiring to create your own InstaDream world through the Valencia filter. Think pictures of sunsets, non-gross food, Starbucks, the Tropical Dream Island Vacation. Pictures that fit into these categories usually go over well with the general Instagram audience. Lighting is also key. You need good lighting to make the image bright and inviting. Usually good lighting comes from an indirect natural light source, like the sun through a closed window.

Once you have the best picture option chosen, you now have to figure out the cropping. Do you want to make it square, which is what Instagram defaults your pictures to? Or do you want to be different and edgy and use another app, like Whitagram, to keep your image horizontal or vertical? Personally, I can get a little lazy at points and I’ll stick to the square image. But sometimes the picture screams vertical and I’ll have to take the time out for the extra editing.

Now… it’s filter time. The filter can make or break your image. It can add a whole new dimension to your photo, or the image may not even need a filter and will look washed out and dead with one. It all comes down to the image you start with and the lighting you had. Generally, images with a blue undertone tend to get noticed more, although the Nashville and Valencia, two popular filters, give more of a yellow undertone. The most important note: images with low saturation are good, because it gives the illusion that the photo is old and artsy.

And finally, you need a killer caption. I’m a fan of the short and sweet captions, especially ones that use a pun or a play on words. It makes me feel witty and original. Sarcasm, irony and a little bit of snark can go over well also, but you have to have an audience that will appreciate it, or else they will just be offended. Others go for the motivational message to go alone with the majestic setting sun, but you just have to make sure that your not using the same motivational message as the person who posted the picture of the majestic setting sun 5 minutes before you. You want to be original after all. Some like to pay more attention to the image than the caption, which is fine, but there is nothing like a good caption to wrap up your post. Emojis are good also. Can’t think of anything original? Just add a poop emoji, I’ll guarantee you that no one else paired that with their setting sun.

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