Take a look around any social media platform these days and you’ll see endless complaints about Instagram. Between people buying followers and the algorithm, organic engagement seems to be a thing of the past; trying to grow your Instagram profile has become increasingly difficult.
But remember a few years ago when most people were on Instagram just to share filtered photos of their friends and food? When I started on Instagram it wasn’t about sharing the perfect picture or reaching a certain goal with your numbers. It was just about sharing your life.
As a blogger, I’ve fallen deep into the Instagram trap. I use Instagram purely for blogging purposes and don’t often share quick snaps on my grid; Instagram Stories is where I usually post daily snapshots that aren’t curated. I love taking pretty photos and organizing them in an orderly fashion on my Instagram because seeing all the matching photos makes my heart happy! But at the same time, I’d started putting a ridiculous amount of pressure to maintain the perfect grid.
Even as I’m typing this I can see how crazy this must sound to anyone who doesn’t use Instagram for blogging or business purposes! I think it sounds pretty crazy right now too.
So in January, whilst trying to find the perfect way to transition from my Holiday content to daily snaps, I completely stopped posting. None of my photos were working because of the mid-winter lighting, and I couldn’t find a way for my photos to match the way I wanted. At one point I’d just completely stopped taking photos because I knew they wouldn’t end up on my feed — like I said, crazy.
Then one day I went thrift shopping and found, what I think to be, the prettiest collection of eight LIFE Magazine books from the 60s and 70s about the world. For a dollar a piece I couldn’t wait to bring them home. Seeing them in my house made me realize that not only had I been curating an Instagram page filled with neatly matching, somewhat monochrome pictures…. but that I’d also brought this into my home. I needed a change and I used my new books as a jumping off point.
I brought out all the colourful books that I’d hidden away, relocated some plants into fun planters and started slowly bringing colour into my life. Suddenly, I wanted to take pictures and share them with the world!
But I also wanted to do something to show that Instagram isn’t perfect — without sacrificing high-quality images. So, I decided to show my followers just how much editing goes into every single photo on my feed. By showing the unedited version I’m hoping that I can show that even a small blogger like myself uses highly edited versions of our lives to promote a certain look.
As a designer, I love having bright photos that work together on my grid; I can’t completely abandon the ‘themed’ grid because it’s just my style. But, I’m working to put more effort in showcasing things that make my heart happy. Like this vintage makeup case that my Aunt passed down to me and my favourite mugs. As my friend and fellow blogger, Élana, always says “creativity doesn’t have to be complicated.”
I’m also trying to add more depth to my captions in a mini-blog sort of way. I’ll talk about my day or what inspired me to take the photo instead of just googling a quote or pun to keep it short and sweet. This way, even though I’m still sticking to a specific theme, my photos and captions are far more personal.
I’ve also kind of abandoned a colour scheme… I realized that my house is filled with various colours that don’t exactly match but still work together. My only qualification is that the photos have good lighting! It’s somewhat freeing to not worry about sticking to one colour online… because I definitely don’t follow that rule in my home.
It’s obvious that this change isn’t to everyone’s taste because I lost 20+ followers and my average likes on each photo have gone down. C’est la vie! I’m really happy with how my feed feels right now because I look at the photos and actually feel like it reflects me. If this sounds like something you’re interested in, follow along! Here’s a link to my Instagram.
My home isn’t perfect. My life isn’t perfect. And I’m certainly not perfect — no one is.
Here’s to finding the joy on Instagram again! Let’s strip it down and make it fun.