Seven Instagram Tropes to Try This Month

As you know, our July monthly challenge is to do an instagram post a day. If you’ve found yourself uninspired, here are four easy and three difficult tropes to steal from the insta-famous.

Easy posts…

1. Rustic Brunch Flatlay Taken by Standing on a Chair

Please don’t actually stand on chair to pull off this shot. You probably will have to stand up but just #doitforthegram. I personally prefer wooden tables for this type of shot but marble/quartz-ish ones work better if you’re going after a more cool-toned aesthetic.

Make sure to go out with a couple friends, preferably ones that tend to order cute food and won’t mind you rearranging the plates to make it look flattering. You could also do this at brunch with your dad, as long as you don’t mind him teasing you about it at every meal thereafter. #butfirstbrunch

2. OOTD in Front of an Interesting Wall, Looking off to the Side Like Someone is Talking to You Even Though There’s Actually No One There

When you’re out and about and feeling cute, keep an eye out for brick-ish walls in colors that complement your outfit. The trick is to find one with enough sidewalk space for your very patient friend to get a full-body shot without getting hit by a car (after all, good photo taking friends are hard to find and harder to replace). Cute pedestrian alleyways or barely-traveled side streets are often a goldmine for this type of photo. If you’re exceptionally organized, you can scout locations in advance by looking up photos posted in the area you’re visiting.

Optional add-on: dark sunglasses so you don’t need to worry about blinking or why the hell your eyes seem to look uneven.

3. Flowers, Buildings, Murals, and Witty Signs That Do the Work for You

Sometimes it’s easier to see the beauty in others than in yourself, especially on days where you’ve literally done nothing but roll around in bed, run errands in your laundry day outfit, and bingewatch a Netflix series you don’t even really like that much. Having a nice little stockpile of Pretty Things that you had no part in creating can help maintain the illusion that you actually go out and do things. #nofilter (I mean, unless you did use a filter)

4. Staring Thoughtfully into a Body of Water

This is a personal favorite of mine, which I recently realized while scrolling through my Instagram feed. It’s probably because I’m hilariously terrible at pulling off any sort of looking-over-the-shoulder pose. This pose is especially great because even if you’re short on time and can’t take twenty photos with varying brightness settings to get just the right look, you still have a pretty shot that makes you seem more introspective and philosophical than you probably are.

Suggested caption: Ambiguous song lyric or a series of emojis. Keep them guessing about what’s really going through your head, since you were probably just thinking about whether you could turn around yet.

Challenge Posts…

1. Biting into a Dessert While Looking Cute but Not Pornographic

I love a good Instagram-able dessert, but I still can’t figure out how people take photos pre- or mid-bite and still look adorable.

Easy version: Hold the dessert close to your face and smile.

2. Empty Coffee Shop Counters When Employees Are Conveniently Out of Frame

Seriously, how are people going to these gorgeous, pristine coffee shops and managing to get photographs without some attentive barista or caffeine-deprived hipster in the shot?

Easy version: Take a nice flatlay of your coffee instead. Add a pastry to really treat yourself.

3. Mirror Selfies with Actually Cute Backgrounds

This seems to require a good deal of commitment. I suspect people who actually make money off of social media have designed the areas around their mirror specifically for this purpose, because the backdrop really seems to be the difference between “wow you look like an Instagram influencer” and “I just took a pic to ask my best friend if my outfit matches.”

Easy version: See no. 2 above “OOTD in Front of an Interesting Wall, Looking off to the Side Like Someone is Talking to You Even Though There’s Actually No One There”

Honestly, it was hard to narrow this list down to just seven tropes, so I’m sure I missed a lot of good ones. What are your go-to favorites? And, seriously, please give me tips on how to eat a donut photogenically because there are 20 days left to this challenge and I’d love to nail a great dessert-eating photo by the end of it.

If you try any of these tropes, we’d love to see them! Don’t forget to follow along with the challenge by adding the #htlytjulychallenge and #htlyt hashtags to your photos, and feel free to tag us @htlyt in any of your monthly challenge photos if you’d like to be featured.


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photo courtesy of sandrachile

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