instagram tools of the trade

I am high key obsessed with taking pictures. Food, my face, food, my outfits, food. You know how it is. When I was in the interim period between giving up the iPhone 6 I had for work and buying a new phone, I relied heavily on borrowing my friends’ phones to take my pictures. Yeah, those were a dark few weeks if you were my pal because not only were you not allowed to eat your food right away, you also had take pictures of my outfit if I was looking cute. Which is always. (That was a joke, I often look like human trash.)

Instagram is such an interesting product to come out of this age of technology. I think it’s fascinating to see how people interact with the tool and how there are even etiquette rules that were developed for this platform. See this half-accurate/half-hysterical Vogue article that goes over the ‘rules’ of Instagram.

I do enjoy the platform a lot though, it fulfils a non-existent childhood dream of mine to curate art galleries. That was also a joke but I do like the ability to control my feed and present an aesthetic that I think is (somewhat) representative of myself. I can probably write a whole other blog post on how we love to present only the best side of ourselves on social media – you will probably get a kick out of all the pictures that never make it to my Instagram. Actually, that sounds hilarious, I’m probably going to start drafting it right after publishing this post – stay tuned for stupid pictures of me looking like a raptor! My ultimate thesis for that post will probably be: I think it’s fine to want to present the nicer side of your life as long as you don’t get wrapped up in that expectation + you don’t pretend otherwise. But I digress. Onto some of the tools that I use for my Instagram.


VSCO – I use this one the most, almost religiously. I much prefer these filters over the ones in other apps or in Instagram itself. It’s less of an issue now that Instagram has made updates to its toolbox that let you do things like perspective adjustment (bless) within the app, but I used to rely on VSCO a lot for that too. All I do these days with it is filter, exposure, temperature (more cool than warm), and the perspective adjustment. You should play around with it yourself, but just to show you a quick example of the filters:

Processed with VSCO
Original, no filter
Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
HB1 filter (my favourite)
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
C1 filter (too red/vibrant for my tastes)

Layout – one of the other apps developed by the Instagram team. Sometimes I think that you guys should see me not once, but twice. Other than those pictures I don’t use really use it. I’m not super into collages I guess because it’s not my a e s  t h e t i c ™.




Boomerang – the other app developed by the ‘gram team. I think this one requires you to a) be around people more because it’s better with another human holding the record button but also b) be more interesting because I always see those videos of people jumping into pools or riding a shark and all I can offer is some supreme bobblehead imitations from me and Jill.

Snap remote – I have almost no friends on campus this term so I have to rely on myself to take cute outfit pictures. #dontneednoman #dontneednofriends #imkiddingpleasebemyfriend

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
It’s like 2 inches long, fits in your palm and makes a very high pitched noise when you press the button that triggers the app to take a picture.

I bought this online a year ago because I needed to bump an order over the $100 free shipping minimum and never really used it until now. There’s some maneuvering that I have to do since you still have to rest the phone somewhere, and a lot of my pictures now I’m just trying to hide the shutter in my hand. It can be an awkward process sometimes but no more awkward than I normally am so I guess I just roll with it.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset
Ha, this is a shot I got by putting my phone on the railing on a second story landing. Basically if someone opened the door aggressively I probably would’ve lost my phone. This was not a good choice on my part, you can probably see the regret in my face as I snapped this.

Camera lenses – I don’t use these so much for Instagram (yet) because I haven’t really had a chance to play with them. There are three lenses: fish eye, wide-angle, macro. I think I’ve only ever taken pictures for my Instagram with the macro and I have to say – it gets a pretty good macro picture for a tiny lens clasped to my phone.


Most of the time I will be outside and there happen to be nice backdrops for me to use. Other times we will be driving along and I spot a lovely brick wall so then I demand that the car be turned around so we can hold an impromptu photoshoot.

If I’m taking pictures at home you’ll likely be seeing one of 3 backgrounds:

  1. My lovely neutral bedroom wall
  2. My bedsheets which need to be ironed probably.
  3. My floor


A distinct portion of my feed isn’t possible without the begrudging support of my friends who have all had to kind of learn how to take pictures. Shout outs to Mike, Jill, Blair, and my little brother who is surprisingly both decent at taking photos, keenly aware of how I don’t like random windows in the shot, and willing to hand me props unprompted (like his skateboard).

And that’s about it from me + my obsession with Instagram. Now I need to go put together all the embarrassing outtakes for the next blog post.

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