The Key to Instagram Popularity

Food.  Probably the most popular subject matter on Instagram is food.  It’s a weird phenomenon.  Not that there’s anything wrong with food pictures, some people make a living taking photos of edibles.  Thing is, most Instagramers (Is that a word or not?  It is now.) are not food photographers and the photos almost never look appetizing. Face it, unless you’re being paid to take pictures of food, your food pictures suck.

Sunset picture from Instagram. People loved the shit out of it.
Notice how it looks like the start of a nuclear explosion.

Another popular subject; hot girls taking “selfies”.  Some of these pass for appetizing.  Hot girls are always popular though, so these people are cheating.  There’s no thought in their photography other than how low to unbutton the shirt and how extreme a POV angle at which to hold the camera  phone.

Instagram was a smash hit with hipsters when it came out because they could instantly create important looking art with the click of one filter button.  No fiddling with photo editing software.  No confusing learning curve like there is with Hipstamatic.  Unfortunately, the limited supply of available filters got predictable and hipsters became as bored with it as last week’s indie band.  Thankfully, along came Snapseed and other photo editing apps to raise the bar a notch.  With Snapseed, you get just that extra bit of control (And more filters, yay!) to make a photo look like someone took the time to think about things like lighting, shot composition, etc.   The true secret to Instagram success without resorting to cleavage and food?  Color saturation and cliché.

Here’s the recipe:

1. Start by taking a picture of something like a sunset or your feet on a beach or the scenery out an airplane window (make sure to get the wing in the shot).

2. Open the picture file in Snapseed or a similar photo editing app.

3. Crop your photo to a square proportion.  For optional extra credit you can actually apply the rule of thirds to your focal point.

4. Adjust the color saturation by moving the controls a ridiculous distance until your photo looks like it was painted over with bright colored markers (Snapseed has a control called “ambience” that also does the job nicely).

5. Blast the sharpness controls just as much as you did the saturation, or maybe even more so that the edges of your subject look as though they were traced with a felt tip marker.

6. Use a center focus or vignette control to darken the edges to a burned crisp so it looks as if you’re viewing the scene through a dirty telescope.

7.  If your image is of a sunset, repeat step #4 so the colors look completely unrealistic and the texture of the clouds resembles thick stucco on a Mexican church.

8. Save your picture and post it to Instagram with a shitload of hashtags.
Images by Legion of Weirdos


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