Instagram’s a tricky game. It can be used as a window into your normal life or an aspirational dream-world filtered through Valencia. The popular trend seems to lean toward the latter, but one too many macarons in pink lighting forced me to steer my account away from anything remotely twee. I’m all about a pretty picture. It’s just that I’ve also developed a complex where all group shots and camp counselor squats must be paired with a weird caption, non sequitur, or stupid joke.
I admit that the collection of photos I’ve posted thus far are absolutely my best foot forward. It’s not like I’m uploading empty takeout containers with accompanying text that reads, “None of my friends want to hang out,” because I, too, would like to appear fun and slightly tan to even the strangest of strangers. But my account is far from “curated” — a word that I’ve been hearing with extreme frequency in regards to one’s Instagram as opposed to, you know, a museum.
However…I have a secret. I wish I had one of those pretty, Pinterest-y Instagrams. No matter how many times I roll my eyes at friends who post saccharine photos of “spring!” (like thank you, I know, I also walked outside today, weather queen), there’s actually a dormant Martha Stewart deep within me, and she’s dying to take a photo of mason jars. And tea lights. Sometimes I have to actively restrain myself in flower markets so that I don’t hold up the line by documenting peonies. Just once I would like to take a picture of my cupcake without feeling embarrassed. Just once! And I’d like my captions to be earnest. Or quotable lines from a Bon Iver song.
But if people can live double lives, I recently reasoned, why can’t I live a double Instagram? I’d keep my original account for debaucheries, beer cans and curse words, and my new one for sunsets and other visual pleasantries.
So I did. Last night I made a perfect Instagram, and compiled all the idyllic photos I’ve secretly taken when no one was watching. In my perfect Instagram account (which you can view in the slideshow above) I made sure to include the following 10 clichéd, albeit highly necessary photos that I’ve noticed all other ‘grammers with similar accounts post. They are:
1) The Non-Repulsive Food Shot
This I found rather tricky as I am not a food photographer and often find myself eating boring sandwiches, as a rule.
2) The Sunset
Oh man did I have a backlog of good sunsets.
3) The Weather Announcement
One must take painstaking care, I’ve learned, to properly document seasons and note whether or not it is sunny outside. Otherwise, people may not know what to do.
4) The Scholar
If you haven’t Instagrammed a book, you haven’t lived.
Posting things that others would want to “pin” shows you care about community inspiration. Not sharing pictures of linen tied up in twine is selfish.
6) The Animal Lover
It’s the Martha in me.
7) The Tropical Island Vacation
This lets everyone else stuck at work, at school, or in snow live vicariously through you. Include your legs and a beach-related pun for extra likes. (My personal stash lacked a good island pic, so I borrowed one from Hot-dog Legs.)
8) The Macaron
This shot proved to be the hardest. Do you know how expensive macarons are? I tried to buy some for the sole purpose of an Instagram and nearly threw my wallet at the cashier’s head. The good news is so many people post pictures of macarons that you can just steal one and no one will notice. I took mine from Pinterest. #thanks
9) Farmers Markets
Vegetables = “like” bait.
10) The Positive Attitude About Exercise
Finally, it’s not a proper Instagram without a little humble brag and a motivational message in pretty street-font.
Captioning each one of my pictures sans snark or irony took restraint. My hashtags are humorless, and I threw filters on nearly everything with abandon. Was my original intention to slightly poke fun at my friends who don’t seem to realize that their thousandth image of a smoothie is annoying? Yes. But I’m a changed woman now; the experience was freeing if not absolutely cathartic. Adding Earlybird to a photo of oysters, I’m sure of it, is the millennial zen garden.
Image via Street FSN
Side note: Do you ever think Instagram is turning all of us into sociopaths? On a lighter note, you can use Instagram as your guide for packing for a weekend getaway!