If you’ve traveled, brunched, or hung out with me, you know I take a LOT of photos. My love of documenting my life through photos started early in high school when my family got their first digital cameras. I loved taking photos of everything. I took my digital camera with me to every cross country trip, school dances and weekend trips. Somewhere along the way, I transitioned to taking photos with my iPhone. And today I’m still taking an extensive amount of photos and sharing them on my blog and Instagram.
As someone who spends a lot of time taking photos and scrolling through Instagram, I understand what it’s like to create photos for Instagram. I choose the word “create” because while some photos are captured in the moment, a lot of photos are styled – where I chose the specific locations to have a photo shoot and I’ve styled an outfit to be photographed. I’m with the thousands of aspiring influencers out there who share real moments and curated feeds with you and the rest of the millions of Instagrammers out there.
Today I want to share with you 4 things behind that picture perfect Instagram post. This blog post is here to remind you that some photos are caught in the moment AND a lot of them have quite of work behind styling, taking, editing, and publishing them into your feeds. So when you stumble upon those beautiful photos and cohesive feeds, you’ll have some insight what actually behinds those Instagram worthy pics.
Behind the scenes: 4 things you don’t see in that picture perfect Instagram photo:
1. It takes 10, 20, and maybe even 50+ photos to produce one picture perfect Instagram photo.
You may probably have guessed this first but it actually takes several…. Okay I mean lots of photos to find the right photo to share on Instagram. Even though it doesn’t take long for me to get the right shot, it still takes me many shots to find the right photo.
Why does it take so many photos?
Well sometimes you’re struggling to find the right lighting and other times you’re trying to wait for people to walk out of your frame. There’s so many variables typically happening (especially if you’re shooting at on a city block or even a public park) that it takes several attempts to get a good photo. Taking this many photos means my photographer/friend has to be patient with me and give me good feedback on how I’m translating on camera. This also means I have to adjust quickly – especially if we’re dealing with good lighting or losing daylight.
2. I have to play around with the angles
Another reason why it takes 10-50+ photos to get the one Instagram photo I end up posting is because I’m constantly playing around with angles. I could have simply taken my swimsuit picture standing up outside the pool, holding the floatie up. Or I could have also just sat on the floatie to take the photo. Instead my friend Janna and I figured out the photo looked more interesting as an overhead shot – where I laid down on the floatie like a flat lay photo. She figured out the right angle by standing on top of a lawn chair and holding the camera up above my head.
Example: Sitting on the floatie vs. Laying on the floatie
In other photos, I’ll have my photographer shoot at eye level, shoot upward, or even shoot from far away to give the photo more depth. The right combination of angles and posing help create that picture perfect Instagram photo.
3. I don’t ever publish the struggle of taking photos
You typically see those perfectly posed or candid smiling photos on my feed and you DON’T see the all the photos I’m struggling in.
- You don’t see me floating away from my friend Janna as she’s trying to take my photo.
- You don’t see me trying properly pose on a floatie without falling in the pool or laughing because my friends are poking fun at me.
- And you don’t see me trying to paddle to get in front of the camera.
The only photos you tend to see are the 1/100 photos where I’m caught in the picture perfect moment or I’m posed. Here are a few photos I was struggling to get in the center of the frame in:
Other things I struggle with that you don’t see on those picture perfect Instagram photos/blog posts:
- The wind whipping my hair in front of my face.
- Me and my friend/photographer waiting for people to cross the street or walk by where we’re shooting.
- Changing into my next outfit in the car.
4. I have to look alive, candid, cute, and posed – even with my eyes closed.
One struggle when shooting in direct sunlight is keeping my eyes open – so in this specific photo I chose to pose with my eyes closed. But one challenge that comes with taking photos with your eyes closed is you might look like your dead or sleeping in the photo when you’re trying to look effortless. I try to somewhat add a small smile in photos to avoid looking dead! But here is one of those photos were I’m looking a little dead in the face…
Why I was inspired to write this blog post:
There you have it friends – four things you don’t see behind that picture perfect Instagram photo! I was inspired to write this blog post specifically during Coachella and our trip in the desert. I was so excited to hang out at the pool (something I don’t do very often in Seattle) and wear my new swimsuit. I asked my friend Janna to take a cute picture of me on the pineapple floatie before we went into the festival in the afternoon.
When my friends Katrina and Melody walked outside, they laughed when they saw Janna standing on top of a lawn chair and me paddling to the center of the pool and into the sunlight for that picture perfect Instagram picture. As they were cracking up, they hopped on Instagram and Snapchat stories to share the “behind the scenes” look of Emma’s Edition. I realized how RIDICULOUS the situation was as we were wrapping up photos and I knew I had to write about this experience and share this blog post today.
Have you had a similar experience where you were “doing it for the gram”? What funny things happen behind your picture perfect Instagram posts?
For more tips on Instagram and blogging:
Ask Emma: How do you balance everyday life with taking photos?
7 Pieces of Instagram Advice for Beginners
4 tactics I’m doing for my blog and Instagram right now