The Perfect Picture – Instamazing or Just an Illusion?

The Perfect Picture : Have I stopped taking the real life pictures of parenting? The messy and often blurred in favour of instaworthy snaps, artistic and filtered. Have I unknowingly become everything I set out not to be?

Instagram is the home of the instamum. She’s a magical god like creature, posting pictures of her clean white walls, roll top bath and range master cooker. Her children could model for vogue and you can only assume she wears matching lingerie! It seems her husband is a professional photographer and she always post’s the perfect picture. But is that what makes her instamazing or is it all just an illusion?

Last month I lost my phone. I say lost. In actual fact I drank way too much Prosecco and left it sitting on a bar with my bank card and driving license for companionship! Obviously it was uninsured so as you can imagine I was pretty distraught – something which the Prosecco only made worse! Fast forward a week and I’d bitten the bullet and purchased a new one *sobs at the thought*. Syncing my new phone to the cloud and Apple alerted me to the 4000 plus photos I had safely tucked away. Initially it was a surprise. How had I accrued so many photos in little over a year?  

Taking the opportunity to reminisce I begun browsing through pictures of days gone by. Pictures from Christmas and Rory’s first birthday. From Bonfire night and Halloween. Summers walks and days out at the farm. It was only after delving a little deeper that the sudden change became obvious.

Around the same time that I started my blog there’s a very obvious shift in the type of photos I’ve taken. Replacing the random pictures of yogurt covered faces and cheeky smiles are pictures which appear rehearsed. Not quite staged although not completely unplanned. 

Looking through the pictures made me feel a little sad. Have I stopped taking the real life pictures of parenting? The messy and often blurred in favour of instaworthy snaps, artistic and filtered. Have I unknowingly become everything I set out not to be?

Of course, when I post a picture on Instagram it’s something which I’m proud of. I want people to see it, hopefully like it and maybe even tell me what they think of it. I’d be lying if I told you it isn’t disappointing when people unfollow me – something which I definitely take way too personally!! But I also want to share pictures which are an honest portrayal of my life as a parent. I certainly don’t want to make people feel inadequate or given them unrealistic expectations of what it’s like to raise a child.  

So what turned me from a regular snap happy mama into a member of the perfect picture paparazzi?

I think it’s a combination of factors. The first been the army of Instamums who I follow adoringly. Their feeds are overflowing with bright, beautiful pictures. It’s near on impossible to not aspire to be even half as talented as they are. I like to think I have my own style but I take inspiration from their creative techniques, flawless edits and attractive styling. 

Secondly is my growing interest in photography. Six months ago my only camera was my phone. Now with a new camera I have the potential to take better pictures. I say potential although it’s currently untapped! While understanding the benefit of natural light may be advantageous, it’s clearly luring me away from taking as many pictures at home. 

So with the free-flowing inspiration and a newly developed passion for the lens it’s easy to see why I’ve been led astray.  

While I enjoy developing my new-found interest and capturing photos I’m proud of, I want to make sure I’m not forgetting amount the candid family snaps. The ones which fill family photo albums and decorate walls. The ones that will make up video collages at future weddings or that I’ll proudly display at family gatherings. The filtered versions of real life might be OK for Instagram but it’s the everyday pictures that mean the most! 

Going forward I’m going to make a conscious effort to take a wider variety of pictures. Still sharing my real life yet ever so filtered pictures on Instagram, I’ll be reserving my grainy, action shots for the likes of Facebook, Twitter and of course Rory’s scrap-book.  

Stop aiming for picture perfection and enjoy the everyday moments 


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35 Comments

  1. April 13, 2017 / 7:02 am

    We think everyone is guilty of over filtering their lives. It’s great that you are making the conscious decision to change that x #SharingTheBlogLove
    Baby Isabella recently posted…Tear and Share Hot Cross BunsMy Profile

  2. April 13, 2017 / 7:24 am

    I can totally understand this. My computer died on me last Friday and I’ve just spent days trying to retrieve and backup all my photos. The biggest change for me is that I now seem to have 2-3 versions of every picture; the original unedited one, then another one or two that have been filtered for Instagram or the blog. They’re never too heavily editied though and I’ve never ‘set-up’ a shot, but then I’m still relatively new to it all so never say never. I think once you become interested in something, like photography, it’s understandable to want to get better at it and I think nowadays most people understand that Instagram more often than not shows a very filtered version of life, but that’s what it’s all about x
    #Ablogginggoodtime
    Alana – Burnished Chaos recently posted…#funseekingkids Week 2 Round-UpMy Profile

  3. April 13, 2017 / 7:54 am

    I so agree! I have always loved taking pictures and I’d used Instagram way before I started my blog. So if you scroll way back you’ll see just every day shots – now I really think about what type of pic I will post and how many likes it might get. It’s sad really! Sarah #SharingTheBlogLove
    Sarah Stockley recently posted…Moomoo ponchos for kidsMy Profile

  4. April 13, 2017 / 7:58 am

    Yup, guilty! 🙋🏽 But, actually #sorrynotsorry. Like you, I really enjoy photography and creating images. So, I feel those ever so slightly staged at times photos are a true reflection of that. But, you know what, sometimes in the moment, I just capture a perfect pic. And it looks more staged than than the planned ones! I’ve got thousands of photos on my camera roll and I love each and every one. Even the ones where I look crazed or deathly. They’re all part of the story! 😘
    Kat | Kitty & B recently posted…Navy Is the new black | Mdina, MaltaMy Profile

  5. April 13, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    Oh I still put up the messy imperfect photos on Instagram haha…but this was a nice post… and I actually like your style of photography. #ablogginggoodtime
    Paula from Her Life Is Love recently posted…Beating Blogger’s BlockMy Profile

  6. April 13, 2017 / 5:16 pm

    This is such a lovely post and it really does make you think. I have spent a lot of time recently looking at my instagram and thinking that the majority of my feed were pictures from inside. It looked, from the outside, as if we never left the house. But the real reason for this is when you’re playing and running about having fun, pictures ARE blurred, poses (if any) are very rushed and it’s impossible to get an “instagram perfect” picture on my poor little iPhone with my three year old wanting to play. I’m going to try and mix up the ‘set ups’ and the candid photos a bit more. 🙂 #SharingtheBlogLove

  7. April 14, 2017 / 12:20 pm

    I know, why are their homes always so white?! Add some color y’all! Anyway, great point! I do also find myself taking more of a certain type of photo, and it’s important to remember just to take tons of photos, whatever the outcome: Instagram perfect or blurry mess. I do find that Instagram helps me better think about my space and how to make it more enjoyable, so it’s always a plus for motivation. All of your photos are great! #ablogginggoodtime
    Stephanie recently posted…Worrying About Flying With A Baby And What Actually HappenedMy Profile

  8. April 14, 2017 / 9:50 pm

    Great post & so true. Like you say, if I didn’t have the blog I would be just snapping away capturing memories. Not thinking how I could use that pic. But I will say, I didn’t realise how much I love taking a good picture. It really has brought my creative side out. #sharingthebloglove

  9. April 15, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    I think about this a lot as I’m conscious that my own instagram feed perhaps leans towards the more ‘perfect’ side of things. My own photography has definitely changed since I started blogging, but, like you, that’s come from my developing love of photography and learning more about what takes a good photo. I like to think that I still capture all of those everyday moments that make parenting so special, and record how son’s developing personality. I don’t think my instagram style is so defined that I can’t share all of the photos I love – and if it did become that way I think I’d definitely have to have a rethink. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
    Katy – Hot Pink Wellingtons recently posted…#SharingtheBlogLove #40My Profile

  10. April 16, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    My photos are a lot better now than they were before. I do have a better camera (mine died when N was 2 months old so i have very few photos from the early days when phone camera were a bit pants), but I’ve done courses on photography so I’m just as happy with my phone photos as my fully manual ones on my camera. But, I don’t use filters and apart from resizing and occasionally lightening/brightenings, I don’t edit much on my photos. I like them to be real but good. So that’s what my feed is. I get bored of themed/neutral pictures and that’s not what children and family life is like. It’s full of colour so that’s what I like to see. #sharingthebloglove

  11. April 17, 2017 / 6:08 pm

    I think it’s a natural path that we all take as bloggers and I’m ok with that. We want people to look at our feed and think that our photos are good, that we are people that they want to follow, to share their life with. That doesn’t mean we can’t share the ordinary moments, we probably just take a photo with an angle that hides the big pile of toys!!!! I too share different photos over on FB. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
    Laura – Dear Bear and Beany recently posted…Living Arrows 16/52 {2017}My Profile

  12. April 18, 2017 / 6:14 am

    I’m totally there with you on this one. Recently I started thinking about how I have begun to ‘discard’ pictures in my mind. Scrolling through a bunch of recently taken pics “nope, nope, nope, maybe, nope” How sad is that? I plan to start cherishing every last imperfect one! #DreamTeam
    Aleena Brown recently posted…New Mum: You’re Not FailingMy Profile

  13. April 18, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    I much prefer the natural, every day photos to the fancy, artistic shots….They normal photos mean the most to me.
    Fab post.
    #TwinklyTuesday
    Kim Carberry recently posted…Our Easter Egg hunt.My Profile

  14. April 18, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    These are really nice pictures, your babby is adorable. I think it’s true that we only put our best or funny pics up, but that’s just the nature of these things because when we get a picture that’s nice, we want to show people. If it’s not nice, why would we bother. #SharingtheBlogLove

  15. April 19, 2017 / 3:42 pm

    Great post! I only take side on/back of head shots of my daughter for Instagram and I went through my phone the other day and i had hardly any nice ones of her looking at the camera for me! Made me mad! I blame blogging, I wasn’t like this before! I don’t want it to stop me having those lovely pics either though. xx #TwinklyTuesday

  16. April 19, 2017 / 4:28 pm

    I think there are times when we’re all a little guilty of this, but that’s human nature (that’s why we dash round stashing all the rubbish in a cupboard when people come over & casually act like our home is always tidy!!). But you’re right, capturing the moment is as important as capturing a beautiful image. You clearly have a talent for photography, there’s nothing wrong with developing that so don’t feel guilty for aspiring to take beautiful pictures all the time. You’ve found a skill and passion that you can indulge with you family – that’s a gift! xx #DreamTeam

  17. April 19, 2017 / 8:28 pm

    I was worried about this too. So chose specific ones for IG and then everything else everywhere else ha ha
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

  18. April 20, 2017 / 9:10 am

    I think it is inevitable that this happens and I have definitely developed a more photography based instagram as it is what I absolutely love to see and I adore photography but sometimes I also get fed up and throw a real instant shot in there and I love that too, I am definitely feeling like I need to just post what I want to and not feel the pressure of it looking perfect x #sharingthebloglove
    Laura | Little Ladies Big World recently posted…Living Arrows #6 {2017}My Profile

  19. April 20, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    I have definitely been taking a lot more care and time with instagram and big photos lately and keep the every day ones for my personal Facebook page. Although i do occasion through the odd one in there.

  20. April 20, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    For me the amount of photos I’ve taken has stayed the same but the subject has changed. Less cats, more baby. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

  21. April 21, 2017 / 10:36 am

    I think both styles of photos are great! I love having the “picture perfect” but I also love the everyday shots too. Personally, I tend to take more of the latter, I’m not a great photographer, and my kids never sit still long enough for me to position them haha! But I agree, it’s important to have the everyday snaps, to remind you of what was really happening behind the camera, and not just because it would make a nice photo. I think all your photos are fab though, and the unfiltered can sometimes be better than the edited! Becky x #SharingTheBlogLove

  22. April 21, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    Great post – guilty over here too! A little scrolling through my feed and it’s so obvious! Think we are all relaxing a little now and it’s unsustainable. Thanks for writing exactly how I feel! #SharingTheBlogLove

  23. April 21, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    My feed is full of the normal every day photos! I’d love to have the time to make them look incredible but I don’t! Your feed is gorgeous. Balance is good:) Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
    Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…Zachary, you are going to schoolMy Profile

  24. April 22, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    Yes, we self edit so much we loose the beauty in imperfection. #SharingTheBlogLove
    Mama Grace recently posted…Achieve your AMy Profile

  25. April 23, 2017 / 9:47 pm

    I can really relate to this, I find myself looking at candid photos and filtering which ones are instagram-able and which aren’t. Although my feed is far from perfect! #sharingthebloglove

  26. April 24, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    I’m very much aware of this comparison at the moment. I find myself in the opposite boat and tend to not want to put a filter on, in case people see me as not being ‘real’ – sometimes the filter makes the photo more eye catching, it doesn’t make it any less real!
    A good mix sounds like the best plan! #KCACOLS

  27. April 25, 2017 / 11:15 am

    I love this post and completely agree! I have recently become a bit obsessed with Instagram and have noticed my pictures are far more stylised than they were 6 months ago. I both love it and hate it, if that makes sense…good on you for making an effort to take a wide variety of photos from now on. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam xx

  28. April 26, 2017 / 9:51 pm

    I don’t particulary style my pictures, but I do take care with what I post now it is linked to me blog. I am (very) far from being an accomplished photographer, but I get some nice shots.
    #KCACOLS
    Ali Duke recently posted…Happy Things #8: The End Of The Easter HolidaysMy Profile

  29. April 27, 2017 / 3:52 pm

    Haha I never stage photos, all of mine are grainy action shots lol #kcacols

  30. April 27, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    I make sure to take both kinds of photos. There are many times when I hit that button and know I captured a private family photo that I will treasure. Other times I work hard to get that perfect shot for the blog. The only downside to this is the fact that in 17 months of Peachy’s life I have well over 10,000 photos saved on my computer and many more on my phone. Peachy’s daddy keeps telling me to take it easy or all the media that I save them on will push us out of our home by the time Peachy is 18. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

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