The Truth Behind The Perfect Instagram Picture

As an avid traveler, I am constantly in search of the perfect Instagram shot to represent my trip and the places I’ve seen. But, oftentimes, the situation isn’t as glamorous as it seems. Sometimes, you find beauty in the strangest of places and, sometimes, you have to be a little uncomfortable to get the perfect shot.

For example, today I Instagrammed a gorgeous picture of me standing in the sunshine in front of a field of sunflowers (my absolute favorite flower). A perfect paradise, right? Not exactly. Though this field is absolutely incredible, this shot was taken in the parking lot of a gas station. I had to climb into the weeds to make the shot work. Was it worth it? Absolutely.


Or this stunning picture of Horseshoe Bend, which looks effortless. To get this shot, I had to lay down flat at the edge of a cliff that’s 4,200 feet above sea level with my tripod a few mere inches from the edge.


This beautiful image of a sunrise over the Toronto skyline seems like I just happened to be there. Nope. I had to get up at 4 AM, hop on 2 trains, stand on a highway overpass, and take the shot through a fence.


Even seemingly simpler pictures, such as this one taken on Melrose Avenue in LA, aren’t as simple as they seem. I had to wait in long line of tourists to get my turn and then pose with dozens of people staring on. Melrose is a notoriously touristy spot for Instagrammers. Most pictures like these don’t show the crowds or awkwardness around them. They’re set up in a certain way to look polished and pretty.


My point is that sometimes the culture of Instagram encourages hiding all the hard work that goes into each picture or each video, and just showing the positive experiences. Making life seem effortless and aesthetically beautiful, which it obviously isn’t all the time.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s just part of the business. It can lead to stunning imagery. But, it is important to be cognizant of that when you consume social media and look at everyone’s highlight reel and compare it to your everyday. Behind every perfect picture, there is a lot of posing, planning, and purposeful effort made to get that “perfect” look.

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