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taking a moment | images for instagram


images for instagram | humphrey and grace

Bear with me, I’m going to be a little bit honest here about taking images for Instagram. For a long time now I have been thinking about the perceived contrast between the bright white clean of my Instagram account and the busy, noisy chaos of my actual life. I have been asked in the past about just that, it seems folk consider it in some way dishonest to share the loveliest picture you can of a photogenic corner, that in some way it suggests what you see is not ‘real’ but I disagree. And here is why.

I’ve mentioned more than once before that we are renovating our home. This year has been the busiest yet and we have made enormous progress. However it does mean that the house is often full of other people, noise, mess and as such it hasn’t been exactly photogenic. Who really wants to see the workbenches and electrickery things that litter my house all to often…? Certainly not me.

I guess my way of coping with the disruption includes the taking of pretty photographs which at times means staging a lovely scene. It gives me a space to create, a small corner of ‘normal’ or at least as close to it as I can find at home, and with it comes a sense of calm in an otherwise at times overwhelming situation. It reminds me that life is not always endless box packing, tea runs and plaster dust. Photography is a creative outlet when there is not a single surface free for my sewing machine or even my laptop, but more than that I find immense satisfaction in taking photographs. In preserving moments. I’ve said before that my Instagram gallery is a curated collection and I stand by that, it has a purpose. Though my love of photography goes way beyond it and the collections of images I have are far wider than those you’re likely to see online, Instagram (I guess) is a chance for anyone to develop an aesthetic.

So is it cheating to create a scene specifically for a photograph? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure most of us tweak things to our framing advantage. Move the cup a little to the left, turn the vase of flowers so it’s prettiest face is towards us…? Then why not gather the things that look pleasing together? For me they are still the same items I have in the house and use or admire all the time. I was recently asked (though not for the first time) if I have a large props cupboard. Actually no, I don’t have one at all. What you see is what we use… They may not be where they live as such when you see them, but they are my ‘things’.

Recently I came across a post that had been pinned to Pinterest with tips and tricks for editing your Instagram photos to make the most of them. I wish I could remember who wrote it so I could tell you but for now at least, the name escapes me. What is the point of mentioning it then? Well, what struck me about this post was that we all use the same, or at least similar, methods. And I discovered in trying to find said post that there are several similar ones, then beyond are more than likely hundreds of people posting thousands of thoughts on how to make the best of your photographs! How is straightening a horizon really any different to arranging cups and teapots? If we can brighten an image or enhance the colour, mute the colour, darken an image, you get the impression, then why on earth not? Camera’s can record an image that doesn’t quite match the actual anyway. Blur, under or over exposure, artificial light, oh so many factors can vary.

So my conclusion is this. Post what makes you happy. Who really cares if you’ve tweaked a table scene to look it’s best? That is what they call styling after all. So style what makes you happy. And if you need to straighten the photograph a little then do it! Because if I’m honest a wonky line irritates me more than knowing that it has been fixed in editing. You can even do it on Instagram. Let’s not be too serious about it hey? Have fun, enjoy yourself!! Don’t you agree?

And maybe there is not really a contradiction between my Instagram life and my ‘real’ life. Maybe, just maybe, the two overlap more than a little and what I see is what you see, the only difference is the volume…

Just briefly, on another note, I can’t wait to share our new dining room space with you as it’s so neeeeearly done but there’s the small matter of skirting boards + paint…For now, if you fancy a look at some of the inspirations and ideas that I use for my home then come and say hello here!

Julia x

 thought about instagram | humphrey and grace



24 comments on “taking a moment | images for instagram”

  1. I love this post Julia. So true, it’s exactly how I feel. I post what I love even if no one else does! Instagram is a visual delight to me and a way to escape even just for a short while x

  2. a woman of integrity, honesty, grace and kindness dear julia, so grateful instagram has brought us together. can i just simply say i really like you. :) x

  3. Great post, Julia. I completely agree with you! Instagram is a hobby for me.. I like to take photos and share photos of things, people and places that please me. Making sure those photos look their best whether it be cropping something out of the frame, positioning objects or editing the photo afterwards is all part of the fun of creating something pleasing. Pleasing to me at least, and hopefully to others as well. It’s all part of the fun of photography and of my instagram experience!

    1. Thanks so much Christine! I agree, it’s all part of the Instagram game isn’t it? And I know I quite enjoy the challenge of taking the prettiest photos I can. Even better it seems we are not alone with this thought!! Hooray! xx

  4. I wholeheartedly agree, and relate, especially with the corner of ‘normal’ amidst a renovation chaos. People get so precious about styling of photos vs. authenticity. If a little bit of skilful tweaking can bring the beauty in everyday life or objects, then if anything we need more of it!
    And may I just add – Julia, your Instagram gallery is a joy to follow, styled or not.

    1. Thanks so much Martha for taking the time to read and comment! Are you renovating? I have never been sure why anyone gets worked up about the real v styled issue, there is no obligation to either follow or not is there…? But it comes up from time to time so, for what it’s worth, this is my take on the subject. It has been so refreshing to learn many of us share the same opinion! I have just had a browse of your website, I know your name from twitter, you have such a beautiful store xx

      1. Yes, have been renovating our cottage for the past 5 months with a little break in between, so know the tea runs all too well! Thank you for your kind words about my shop, they make me feel warm and fuzzy on this dreary day! X

        1. Oh you have my sympathies then, it’s the best and worst all at once isn’t it? It becomes like an obsession… And you’re welcome, it is lovely x

  5. Very well put, no-one wants to see the ‘behind the scenes’ photos, well not all the time anyway. I think most people are on Instagram for a bit of escapism anyway, they want to look at beautiful photos not the chaos of real life.

  6. I couldnt have said it better.
    I enjoy the process of arranging and tweaking, and then taking the photo. Even the editing.
    I just wish I had more time… weekends are so short…

    1. Thanks Lesley, it’s half the fun isn’t it? When we aren’t always faced with a pretty scene or a gorgeous view we have to style one for ourselves hey? You’re coming into summer now though so longer hours of daylight… xx

  7. Fab post. Totally agree. I enjoy a keeping it real post from time to time, but I like Instagram to be pretty. And your styled images are an art form! I only wish I could make my house and stuff look half as good as your do! (Hence why I mostly post outdoor photos!) xxx

    1. Thanks Rachael, I guess that many of us are drawn to the ‘styled’ side of Instagram anyway, I know I find plenty of inspiration from it. And often an element of ‘how on earth did they do that?” which leads me to try different things… Love it. And thanks as always for your lovely comment, I do appreciate it xx

  8. I couldn’t agree more Julia. Instagram is many things to many people. There are no rules that say you must share things exactly as they are – and where is the creativity in that? I come to IG for inspiration and to connect with like minded souls. I love to see beautifully styled images – the styling is a large part of what makes an image, and you are so good at it. Please keep styling and curating. I adore your images and the sense of calm they provide. And hurrah for progress on your house :)

    1. That’s exactly it isn’t it Zoë, there are no rules. No right or wrong way. Finding a style that you love is half the fun I think! Thanks so much as always for your lovely comments, I really do appreciate them! I hope you’re making progress with your house too xx

  9. Hey Julia,

    Lovely write up, and to be honest I completely agree with you. These silly people that think we’re being ‘dishonest’ because we choosing to show our prettiest/ happiest moments in life are just downers. If we live a pretty life and surround ourselves with pretty funiture etc etc, (what they see to be as ‘props’) it just proves it more than a styled image but a whole life style behind it! Plus I have no interest in seeing dirty dishes on insta- I mean who’s going to be inspired by that lol?

    1. Exactly my point!! Instagram is such a positive place on the whole, I absolutely love it for that so I’m on a campaign to keep it that way. I agree with you on the pretty homewards too, maybe that is just what we own… Heehe. Thanks for stopping by xx

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