Instagram users: Please stop jazzing up your photos…THEY SUCK.

Instagram users need to stop going over the top. With demonstrations, The Tab explains why…

Instagram is a free app for iOS and Android devices

Recently, I’ve noticed a growing trend in people using the popular free smartphone app, Instagram. Just a couple of years old, it was bought in cash by Facebook for $1 billion, and it’s gaining more popularity fast.

In a nutshell, Instagram is used to take photos on your phone and makes them look all ‘retro’ and ‘cool’, so they can then be shared on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Whilst I have no problem with this whatsoever (in fact I’m in full support of tech features and photo editing), there comes a time when sucky over-used photo effects should not be used on mass by the public.

What gets me the most are the people who upload the most utterly boring, uninteresting and rubbish photos, but because they have been dressed up with Instagram effects, they suddenly become so much more interesting (or apparently, anyway…). Furthermore, it makes the user believe they have become the most successful and professional photographer in the world, when really, none of us care what you had for your lunch or where you were walking.

Excuse the stereotype: but Instagram is used far too much to take photos of sushi lunches and muddy footpaths.

I didn’t want to pick on anyone I know, so here is a demonstration that I painfully demonstrated for myself for the purposes of this article.

Exhibit A: My standard, not very good, uninteresting picture of a frying pan. Typically something you wouldn’t share to your friends on Facebook. It’s a frying pan – it’s an inanimate object – you’d ignore it.

Exhibit A: The Original

Exhibit B: Now, with added Instagram effects, suddenly what was a terrible picture has become interesting. You appreciate the photo effect but IT’S STILL AN INANIMATE FRYING PAN.

Exhibit B: OMG, look how cool Instagram has made my photo! Or... not.

Exhibit C: Then uploaded to Facebook, complete with suitably retro/dickhead-y tagline: “getting out the frying pan for some afternoon pancakes <3 #YOLO“. Just you wait for your ultra-cool likes and comments to role in.

Exhibit C: Look what I posted just a few seconds ago. That's right... a frying pan. Nothing more, just a frying pan.

What Instagram is now allowing people to do is make their lives, their photos and their Facebook much more interesting (?) than ever before, by making your boring real life events (Exhibit A) into fancy, extra-saturated and high contrast effects that you think turns you into Mr(s) So-creative-professional-photographer-I’m-so-cool. Once again, without wishing to offend – if you do this, you look like a twat.

My next major irritation are people who don’t actually use the effects properly. Please, use them sensibly! This doesn’t apply to every Instagram picture, and I’m sure only a minority of its users are to blame, but still it’s a point worth noting. Once again, I demonstrate:

Exhibit D: An original picture of a sunset, straight from my phone camera. Lovely colours, completely natural, it looks good. Original portrait dimensions. I would happily upload this online as is.

Exhibit D: The Original

Exhibit E: Using Instagram (the way that users should be using it), some very minor adjustments have been made to improve the colour. However the minute I take it into Instagram, my photo dimensions are lost as I’m forced into square mode. This is how Instagram should be used, little and often.

Exhibit E: Minor adjustments in Instagram... this is ok...

Exhibit F: Instead of making small adjustments of the sunset as in Exhibit E, I’ve gone way overboard with a really bright and bloated saturation, grainy effect, huge contrast difference on the blacks, the completely unnecessary border… the list goes on. WHY!? We have ruined a perfectly good picture of a sunset.

Exhibit F: Instagram overload. Do not ruin your photos like this.

What’s unfortunate is that this is becoming an all too common sight with Instagram. Either rubbish photos being made unnecessarily ‘cool’, or actual good photos are turning into complete rubbish with the aid of unnecessary effects. And whilst of course it’s not an Instagram problem, it’s commonly Instagram users who are the main culprits. What irritates me further is the Facebook ‘like’ culture bumping up the viewings of these ruined or useless photos, much to the pleasure of the Instagram user.

I am no professional photographer. I admit, I am only a semi-professional filmmaker; but I know what ruins a photo. I also know what a perfectly good photo with no effects applied at all looks like. This is Facebook after all, you are not going to lose ‘street-cred’ over posting photos that are originals, just snaps of what is actually reality. I actually prefer this as I can actually believe you were there to take your photo.

Summary: I like Instagram, it’s a good little app. But please, use it in moderation… and don’t be a tool.

Instagram: License to be artistic... (Credit: Joe Hart)