The pretty/fake Instagram debate

A collection of shots from a styled Instagram taken with a canon 7D

Instagram is by a mile my favourite social network, I have been really enjoying it lately and there does seem to be a definite buzz around Instagram at the moment. As I am loving it so much I guess that’s why I’m noticing what people have to say about Instagram more and realising that there is a bit of a debate going on as to whether Instagram should be kept instant or if it’s ok to upload photographs from a DSLR.

Anyone reading this who loves the gritty real-life Instagram would probably hate my feed! I have changed the way I post images, had a long hard look at what I am actually putting on there and spending a fair amount of time selecting exactly the right image and promoting it with a million hashtags; that part isn’t true Instagram will only allow 30 ;-)

A collection of shots from a styled Instagram taken with a canon 7D

So what’s the problem with being super selective about images and using styled shots?

Well, they technically aren’t instant and are probably from a ‘big camera’ scheduled to post by latergram with 30 relevant and popular like inducing hashtag in the first comment box. I personally love these types of accounts and I guess the great thing about Instagram is that there really is something to cater for all tastes and when I say all tastes I mean ALL tastes!

My photographs are styled, they are pictures that I would be happy to use on my blog. This is a new thing for me and my following and engagement has doubled. I don’t think anyone could look at my feed and say it is fake because these are genuine moments of our everyday lives captured by yours truly. Yes for 90% of photographs uploaded they will have been taken on my big camera with the occasional iphone capture thrown.

I have heard arguments that Instagram makes people feel bad for not living perfect lives that it gives them Instagram envy and the images are unrealistic. I recently read an article saying that photographs uploaded from a DSLR made the writer furious and that Instagram is not the place for that. I think a sensible approach is to bear in mind that some people just want to share the very best and it is entirely probable that a foot away from the perfectly laid out scene is an unkempt child with a snotty nose playing next to a pile of laundry waiting to be done.

I joke with my family that there is nothing instant about my Instagram and while this is true, the nitty gritty of life wouldn’t make it onto my blog either. I am very picky about the images I share on here it doesn’t make them or my blog any less ‘real’. My feed reinforces my brand and is an extension of my blog and I see that as part of my job. Since changing tack on Instagram, I have had approaches from brands asking for product photography and features on my social media.

That is my end goal, to grow my blog to keep the offers of work coming in and, of course, to look back on the (prettier) snippets of our life. To be honest, I don’t really think any of you want to see how rough I look with frizzy hair and no makeup or the mess that my house gets into! Now that really would be an #Instasham

What do you think, do you like styled Instagram feeds?

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Comments

  • Em @ snowingindoors

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    Your IG stream is beautiful! For me IG has always been about phone photos only, with maybe 1 in every 75 photos taken on my camera.
    This is because I made the move from Flickr though, where 99% of the photos were DSLR and the switch to phone photos was refreshing, it levelled the playing field as it were and the ‘instant’ nature intrigued me.
    I don’t mind people posting camera photos, and, if you don’t like an account you don’t have to follow it, it’s just down to personal taste. xxx

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 9th November 2015

      Reply

      Aw thank you Em. I really love yours too and I’m shocked at how many of your pics are taken on your phone, but then you are a photographer and I am not! I wouldn’t rule out using pics from my phone and like you said it is strange when people say they can’t stand it, um ok unfollow then. Simples! xx

  • Jodie

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    See I’m struggling… Instagram is my favourite social media and I post every few hours each day. But I know that the photos I upload from my big camera, or the more styled ones always get more comments and likes. I need to maybe post once or twice a day with better images for better stats but I love to have my life documented.

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 9th November 2015

      Reply

      This is the thing, as someone who uses social media as a tool, when I see the likes and comments shooting up because I’ve used big camera photos it’s kind of addictive!

  • Mykidsguide

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I love your IG photos. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being picky on your photographs.

  • Leigh - Headspace Perspective

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    You know Amy I use Instagram to look at pretty pictures because it is my happy place. Your photos are beautiful. The photos I post are poignant about my journey or quirky fun ones I find on my travels. I do have a DSLR, but quite frankly I can’t be bothered. I’m all about the writing. Keep doing what you do. It makes you happy, and it makes lots of others happy too. Those who say the ‘perfect’ pictures make them feel bad – I’d guess there is more going on for them than being cross at IG. xx

  • Alexandra @imeverymum

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I try and keep my Instagram pretty now but also try and keep it as instant as possible. I even hashtag #latergram when I upload something an hour later because I want my feed to be authentic. It is an interesting debate. The fact is the accounts I follow are definitely styled and mostly shot with a DSLR. So I guess it’s about personal taste. I love your feed Amy x

  • Linda

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    That’s brilliant that it’s had such a positive effect on your following. It shows that your doing something right with your photos!

  • Emilyandindiana

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I only followed you this morning and I instantly loved your pictures! For me though Instagram is definitely more about shots taken on my phone as I like to show ‘real’ situations as much as possible. For me they’re much more popular than pictures taken from my dslr for some reason!

    I think the whole point of it though is to show off your photos, in the way you want to. Keep it up, your pictures are great :) xx

  • You Baby Me Mummy

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    Well you know my thoughts on this! I have done a massive turnaround in my approach to IG and as a result my likes, following and enjoyment have quadrupled. Love your feed co-creator ;) xxxx

  • Emma T

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I don’t think it’s anything to do with whether it’s a phone or camera shot. It’s about whether your photos and feed resonate.

    Most of mine are taken with my phone. Yes I have a few that are a messy snapshot (eg N’s filthy school trousers) with a commentary, and I like big fill the frame shots which makes my feed look busy compared with ’empty’ pale shots that make a feed easier to read. But my feed is a snapshot of my eclectic blog topics, and my life which is busy and rushed. My photos are still generally those to be proud of, and I still edit and choose from hundreds I take. But I generally upload as and when, rather than waiting til I get home to upload from my camera and then back down to my phone to put onto to IG. If I’m out and about I take both my camera and my phone – my phone to take shots for IG, my camera to take the rest. I may take the same photo and (unless it’s one with amazing depth of field), it’s hard to tell which are phone and camera shots.

    I find engagement depends more on your niche (if you only take flower shots, are followed by flower obsessives, but only have 100 followers, you’ll get near to 100 likes, if you’ve got a hotch potch feed, but still lovely photos, and 100 followers, but maybe cover 3 different topics, you might only get a third at a time liking a specific photo), and the interaction you give out.

    I know the more I comment and like, the more interaction I get back on my feed.

    My only issue with IG is non-square photos – they look scruffy on a feed. Oh and people with tonnes of quotes in their feed…boring.

  • Nikka Shae

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I like Instagram photos either way!! Sometimes my photos are instant and sometime I load them up when I come home from an event.

  • Donna

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    Each to their own I guess! I still use Instagram pretty instantly but like my photos to look their best – if I’m on a day out I’ll use my DSLR and wifi memory card to upload a ‘proper’ pic but I take plenty on my phone too. Do whatever makes you happy x

  • Katy

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    Love this! I know Instagram is meant to be instant but my view is it is a snapshot of life- so what if that snapshot is arranged on the prettier side of things. I like seeing pretty homes, they make me want to make my own home prettier and I dont see that is a bad thing, it means I am striving for better for myself. x

  • Logan Can

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I would say mine is very branded to my blog. Isn’t that the point though? I don’t understand why others are so judgmental. To me, IG is just as important to your brand as your blog. I love IG and I also follow mostly styled accounts. They are the ones that inspire me and keep me coming back to see more. :)

  • Tim

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I have to confess I don’t really see what the fuss is about. I think of Instagram as a place to view interesting photos showing glimpses of people’s lives. If that means that some photos come from a DSLR or aren’t published until several hours or a couple of days later, I don’t mind. I’m more interested in seeing interesting images than instant ones.

    I tend to skim my stream, pausing to like or comment on photos that catch my eye. I’d rather see five well-taken DSLR photos spread out over 24 hours than five mundane ‘filler’ images dumped all in one go. At the risk of aking myself unpopular (I know, too late …), a stream full of photos of cups of coffee without nothing meaningful to say isn’t really what floats my boat.

  • Charlene

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I use Instagram as an escape, in fact it used to bother me when people DIDN’T choose styled shots. Now I like a mixture in my feed. You’re free to follow who you want and there’s something for everyone.

  • Chris (from Besties Sharing Bites)

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I must confess, I don’t have an Instagram account. Mainly because I refuse to pay a lot to buy a smart phone with a decent camera. ;-) But I don’t see any harm in selecting and styling photos for instagram, as long as you are happy doing it! It’s another thing if this becomes a burden to oneself, like in Essena O’neill’s case.

  • Eleanor

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    If you like a photo, you like a photo, end of story. Photographs are food for the eyes, not the soul. If you’re living your life worrying about it not being as good as one you saw on Instagram, you’ve got perception issues that need sorting out. Also, if you’re using Instagram to get validation on your lifestyle, you’re living it wrong, in my opinion. If you’re using it to drive traffic to your blog and want people to appreciate your tone, then it makes sense to make the pictures follow that tone. My instagram is a total monster of pictures that I like for many different reasons. My blog is the same. Your pictures always look good to me, as does your blog which I enjoy reading. If one didn’t match the other, it’d be weird.

  • Ana De- Jesus

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    You make an interesting point, I actually have a post coming up about this exact debate and personally I love stylized feeds. I am a creative, an artist whose spirit is not going to be nurtured by grainy ‘flash’ instant photos . My style is very much colour, nature and art but there are some who prefer minimal or a more realistic version of life. Instagram caters to all groups of people and that is one of the things that I love about it. You have a beautiful feed too!

  • Mudpie Fridays

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I think it’s personal to the picture taker. I love the styled images you have on your feed and would love to have something similar. I have started using some of the photos from my posts as Ive never worked out a way of getting them on there with a Mac! But may try out the programme you gave mentioned as I could do with scheduling as I’m in a corporate environment during the day so can’t post. Thanks for the tip xx

  • Di

    Written on 9th November 2015

    Reply

    I don’t mind stylized accounts. I find it kinda funny that the people talking about it are the ones who use a ton of filters. If you want real, stop using filters too!

    Honestly I think a bulk of the message is about people ONLY taking shots for social media, since the whole Essena thing. She admitted many of the shots were just for social media, That is disingenuous IMO.

  • cuteheads

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    I see nothing wrong with only posting beautiful pics that you’re proud of. I know I do it. It’s part of my job and my brand (I’m a kids clothing designer), and beautiful images are what sell clothes!

    Esther
    The Cuteness

  • laura londergan

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    I think it is YOUR IG and we can do what we want on there! lol No seriously though, I like both kinds of feeds and actually have a business and personal so I can post my staged photos & then my personal gets the nitty gritty! ;)

  • Kara

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    For me Instagram is just that – instant and that’s the way I like it. I have uploaded the odd couple of DSLR shots but they’re very few and far between. I use Instagram from me and it’s a lovely reminder of days out or things I’ve done with the kids. I follow a mix of people and have to say I do prefer the natural phone pics rather than the styled to the n’th degree but that’s just me!

  • Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    People seem to use Instagram in different ways. Some accounts are highly styled with a strong theme that matches in every photo. Others are styled photos with a bit more variety in scenery & color – those are my favorite accounts. Then there are a lot of people putting up photos without filters & use it as more of a behind the scenes network. I have a mix of accounts I follow & do enjoy the different types of feeds. Your IG photos are beautiful x

  • Nessa Robinson

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    I personally prefer curated IG accounts – it’s a visual stimulation for me to see beautiful images and to analyse how people have framed things or what lighting they’ve used etc. I think instagram works because it’s so visually driven. In order to keep people’s interest, you need to draw them in through thoughtful images. I can see how it would create the impression that everything in life is perfect etc but the same could be said for Pinterest and even to a degree Facebook. I think people need to realise that most of what people portray on social media is just hand selected moments that don’t always reflect the nitty gritty aspects of life!

  • Zoe Forde

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    Same with me, a lot of my instagram photos are styled as they’re pictures I’ve taken for my blog the week or days before. And I don’t an issue with it, as I am aware that other bloggers do it too – it’s part of the game. I do get that young people can be more impressionable and feel feel pressurised about the photos though, so I am in two minds about the whole thing.

    http://www.ibelieveinromeo.com

  • April

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    I adore instagram and am really happy with my feed. I try to share half instant photos and half photos taken with my camera, but my phone takes amazing photos and I always edit them to make them look better before I share.

  • Shelly

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    I have two IG accounts, one for my regular life and one for my blog. I try to put nicer pictures on the latter, though, after looking at your gorgeous pics, I should probably step up my game :)

    Anyway, what people do with their IG accounts is none of my business. I’m not forced to follow anyone I don’t want to follow, right!?

  • Susannah

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    I don’t mind styled feeds. You can definitely tell what instagramer styles their feed and that’s just their aesthetic. If someone wants unstyled feeds to follow that’s who they should find.

  • ashleigh

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    I kind of use my Instagram to follow the styled/perfect photos. It’s just what I like looking at and it’s what I like to post too. Nothing wrong with the “real life” Instagrams but it’s just not what I prefer when I’m looking at photo feeds. I am LOVING your feed!

  • Bonnie @ Living a Fit and Full Life

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    Love this! Instagram allows 30! Yikes that’s a ton of hash tags!

  • Melissa

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    Your IG is beautiful. I love Instagram, and it is a huge part of how I share my blog posts, and videos. I do upload from a large camera, but not always. I feel like if there is balance, and consistency then there is no issue. It’s your account so basically do and post as you please, and what you please :)

  • Kirsten

    Written on 10th November 2015

    Reply

    I am actually a fan of both. If you have a stylized IG I like, I follow it. If you have good iPhone pics, I’ll follow it too. It’s all in the delivery. : )

  • Erin

    Written on 11th November 2015

    Reply

    Your instagram feed is just lovely. And it represents you, correct? Thats all that matters. I feel like people get caught up in that pretty/fake debate too often. The truth is this. IG is great for showing authenticity. If you’re not spending hours staging a completely fake set up and you’re happy with what your posting, you’re being authentic. And no one has any right to complain about that <3

  • Jaime

    Written on 11th November 2015

    Reply

    Your IG is gorgeous! I had to follow you.

    Honestly, I am on Instagram because I love beautiful photos and frankly, who cares? I am in it for the photos. If the pretty photos are fake, big freaking deal. People are always so caught up in worrying about what others are doing versus their own lives! If your photography style is all about beauty and stylized, it’s your authenticity!

  • CourtneyLynne

    Written on 11th November 2015

    Reply

    Omg where do I even start with this?!?! Ahhh… This whole thing drives me nuts! Social media I wouldn’t say fake, but it is very staged! If you are an influencer of any sort and you’re accepting paid gigs for things you don’t believe in, then you are doing social media wrong and you’re the fake one… Not social media! I blog full time and I only do campaigns I truly believe in and like… If my pictures are a tad bit on the staged side… Well it is my job! I hope my pictures look beyond fabulous. But they definitely are not fake.

  • Instagram, operations and the gentle art of dishonesty | Tots 100

    Written on 11th November 2015

    Reply

    […] Instagram is by a mile my favourite social network, I have been really enjoying it lately and there does seem to be a definite buzz around Instagram at the moment. As I am loving it so much I guess that’s why I’m noticing what people have to say about Instagram more and realising that there is a bit of a debate going on as to whether Instagram should be kept instant or if it’s ok to upload photographs from a DSLR. Read more from Mr and Mrs T Plus Three here  […]

  • Sarah MumofThree World

    Written on 11th November 2015

    Reply

    You’re the total opposite to me – my Instagram is just literally snaps on my phone taken of things which I think are beautiful, which interest me, intrigue me or even make me life. To be honest, it bears very little resemblance to my blog and I do very few hashtags too!
    As you say, there’s room for us all and we all like to use it in our own way and we all choose which accounts we follow.

  • Michelle Murray

    Written on 11th November 2015

    Reply

    I have instagram and I like instagram I just don’t use it and I wish I did. Its just a social media platform I can’t really ‘get into’

  • Claire at Tin Box Traveller

    Written on 11th November 2015

    Reply

    I was talking to a friend about this subject last night. She is in the non-styled camp and I am in the styled camp. I can’t claim that my own feed is anywhere near picture perfect but I like looking at other people’s beautiful Instgrams. When I started using IG I did think that shots had to be from the moment. That’s clearly not the case but I still think they need to be quite recent or related to something current. At the end of the day, if it’s a likeable picture I’ll like it!

  • alexandria waning

    Written on 12th November 2015

    Reply

    I recently changed my fee up, too. I only post from my camera or a good outfit shot from my phone. I don’t think anyone’s account is instant anymore. I also know that it can be frustrating seeing these perfect lives; I actually just did a post on that with the Be Bonafide campaign. Like you said, I want my following and blog to grow so my accounts have to be pretty! As a style blogger, good pictures are everything so that’s what I focus on. Im going to give your account a follow!

  • Robyn

    Written on 12th December 2015

    Reply

    I just use my IG to share snapshots, I might crop them or use the IG filters but my iPhone is the only camera I have and I just don’t have the technical ability to ‘curate’ my feed. I’m happy with it the way it is, and just as happy to follow others with lovely stylised photos. We’re all trying to achieve our own effect, mine is just about the simple things, and that includes avoiding complicated processing :)

  • JuggleMum, Nadine Hill

    Written on 4th January 2016

    Reply

    I love the styled shots to be honest, as I appreciate the creativity that has gone into them. It’s the same as when I’m watching a movie for example, I don’t only watch for the storyline and the actors, I also drink in the landscapes, the costumes, I notice the camera angles and I appreciate the work that has gone into getting that one shot that tells a story. It’s someone’s job to put that image on screen there, and I love that! Even though Instagram is not a ‘job’ as such, maybe just another avenue to build awareness for your blog or just as a happy means in itself, I still take time to appreciate the effort involved in putting together a pleasant photo. I don’t think the styled shots are any less valid than the ‘Instant – this is what is happening in my life right now’ type shots. There is a place for all styles on Insta!
    JuggleMum, Nadine Hill recently posted…Write Your Best-Seller in 2016My Profile

  • Laura @ Little Ladies Big World

    Written on 12th March 2016

    Reply

    I love Instagram. I like both the styled feeds and the more instant phone photos. I think there is something for everyone and just like any marketing you can’t be accountable for everyone’s perception, there is room for everyone. I love it for inspiration, a feed can instantly make me happy! Your photos are gorgeous. X
    Laura @ Little Ladies Big World recently posted…Our Gender Announcement Video!My Profile

  • Cara L McKee

    Written on 3rd May 2016

    Reply

    Hi there, I love your cute pastel-y look on your blog and on your Instagram. I don’t really care how the photos were taken so long as they’re taken by the person. Can’t stand people putting internet memes on IG! I also don’t like (many photos from long ago, just because I sometimes get deja vu on people’s feeds, sometimes because I have indeed seen that picture before.
    I get accused of making life unrealistically nice in my column (and other places) too. I’m not trying to make anyone feel inadequate, let’s face it, we can all do that for ourselves! But I do try to accentuate the positive. :-D

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