All in the caption

There's a lot of pressure in the "instagram world". Everyone wears sunglasses on cloudy days, let's their food go cold so they can capture it and manages to snatch that walking across the street ootd, while somehow not getting a single car in shot. But you've already heard variations of that paragraph in many a blog post before, it's nothing new to list instagram's unrealistic trademarks. My point is, i bloody love it.

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Give me that classic hand tilt on the corner of a notting hill road, outfit photos without a jacket in mid January, and staring down the lens over your sunglasses that would've been hideous 3 weeks ago .. but are now seriously in. I love it, just like 16 year old me would've flicked through the pages of Vogue, i now open Instagram and read it like the morning papers. (although i've never once read the morning papers, unless a squished up metro counts, but that's a far less romantic image). It's gotten to the point where skies are pink and everything in the imagery is perfectly rose tinted, part of me has that angry voice inside of my head saying i want to see realistic images .. but if i'm honest, i don't.

However i've noticed recently an almost "best of both worlds" culture has emerged: The images are pretty close to perfect; you'll scroll down their feed wondering how one individual has managed to streamline their life to fit into the same Lightroom preset, or how quickly they stuffed their cake in their mouth after their Peggy Porschen 'shoot, but then you read the caption and a magic balance forms.

Best of both worlds, it's all in the caption:

Instagram used to be a place of emoji captions or a brand tag, but there's been a shift lately; although the images are more perfect than they've ever been, caption culture has emerged. You'll see an "instagram gold" image, but it'll be met with a caption about how it took 30 minutes to get that one photo, because the wind kept making your hair stick to your lipstick. Or you'll have a caption that bares no relation to the image, but it'll address a really valid issue or take a more "lifestyley" approach. I love this split approach to instagram, there was a point where everything was so edited only the best moments would make it onto the gram, but with this emerging caption culture it's almost as if we've come out the other side. We've come past people using the word goals seriously, it's almost as if the image is the tip of the iceberg and the caption is everything you see beneath.

Instagram is obviously visual, more care goes into these images than ever before and that's what we (as in our eyes) respond to. But it's so refreshing to be able to see the aesthetically pleasing images and have real life alongside them now; everyone needs to know they're not alone when they do something stupid or that no one's life is as perfect as the visual grid suggests. 

Don't get me wrong i'm not swimming in a world of make believe. There are still accounts that literally tag a brand in their caption and be done with it, which is fine if that floats ya boat.. But if you are looking for some accounts with beautiful imagery and funny, relatable and downright real captions check out  Beth, Chloe and Sophie who are my three FAVES if you ever wondered.

Using your caption for more than your outfit details has become a thing, even if it's just asking people how their day has been, and i love it. 

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27 Comments

  1. January 27, 2018 / 4:20 pm

    I’m loving this new-found concentration on engagement through Instagram as well! I feel like people are quickly moving to it as their main form of social media, so it seems only natural to up the content game with more engaging captions.

    Also, I am LIVING for those boots! You’re totally rocking this outfit.

    Amber || mylifeinlimbo.com

    • Maria
      Author
      February 2, 2018 / 2:08 pm

      Yess engagement is such a huge factor now, i’d love to see it really be focused on by brands too! ahahah thank you, i’m so glad i got these boots, they seem to be the only thing i wear now! x

  2. January 27, 2018 / 4:36 pm

    You always have such a refreshing and interesting view!! I love this, and I really am loving the honest caption trend at the minute – long may it continue! This was a fab read, as always xx

  3. January 27, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    I often feel conflicted between the whole orchestrated vs reality thing of Instagram, but I actually think it’s pretty cool that ‘everyday’ people like us are getting creative to produce content akin to something you’d see in a glossy magazine. And you’re so right – the fact that people are reveal the stories behind the photos in the captions is truly magical, it’s that candid-ness that sets social media apart from traditional media.

    Especially with fashion media (you mentioned Vogue), you’d see far more orchestration in the pages of a magazine that they’d never disclose. I think that;s what gives bloggers so much appeal; our generation is done with pretending the airbrushed perfection seen magazines is reality and are much more interested in peeling back the layers.

    On another note you look stunning, that red really works on you!

    Sinéad xo Fabuleuse Du Jour

    • Maria
      Author
      February 2, 2018 / 2:09 pm

      I always go with the first thing in my head or something to do with a story behind the picture, i always find funny things happen when I’m taking them so it’s funny to share it! Definitely check them out x

  4. January 28, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    Loving this post, I’m glad there’s an increase in caption culture, I’ve always enjoyed reading refreshing pieces. My aesthetic tends to rotate between short poetic pieces, motivational lines and conversational captions. Although wordless captions can be great for emphasising photography.

    Tx. // MusicGeekOnline

    • Maria
      Author
      February 2, 2018 / 2:10 pm

      Thank you! Yeah i think it’s all about being yourself and taking it where you want to! x

  5. January 29, 2018 / 4:49 pm

    Love this post Maria! I love that captions have become such a key part of instagram, I totally spend ages reading captions and really enjoying my feed too! I don’t get how people can just scroll past, I follow people because I want to know what they’re up to and the caption is the perfect place for that! xx

    Frances Kayleigh | Fashion & Lifestyle

    • Maria
      Author
      February 2, 2018 / 2:17 pm

      Thank you so much! Exactly, when it comes down to it that’s exactly what the app is for! Thank you for reading x

  6. January 29, 2018 / 8:32 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, I love reading the three girls you mentioned. I really enjoy reading and interacting with the caption whilst also appreciating the photography! xx
    http://www.pagesfrombeth.co.uk

    • Maria
      Author
      February 2, 2018 / 2:18 pm

      Yesss they’re my faves!! I love that they have such a good balance in both! x

  7. January 30, 2018 / 2:12 pm

    I totally agree with you! I love seeing a flawless photo with a more lifestyle caption and it’s something I’m starting to do more 🙂 Being into photography, I love to capture and create ‘perfect’ images and I don’t think it’s wrong to be like that, so adding a more personal caption is a great balance xo

    Char | http://www.charslittleblog.co.uk

    • Maria
      Author
      February 2, 2018 / 2:20 pm

      Exactly it’s all about balance! I think it’s human to want to see nice images, but also human to want to learn about the behind the scenes too! x

  8. Lea
    January 31, 2018 / 11:39 pm

    You said it all. I’m in the same boat. Just recently I stopped or tried to stop caring about my Instagram following etc. I hope my numbers will go up slowly and stadly as yours (btw your Insta is looking fab!) but I am already more liking what I upload and there’s no stress about uploading every other day etc.
    Lea, xx

    • Maria
      Author
      February 2, 2018 / 2:26 pm

      Ah i’m glad so many people are on the same page! Really once you start focusing on the content you’ll see a change in engagement especially! Thank you so much!! x

  9. February 7, 2018 / 6:43 pm

    I’ve noticed the same thing and I gotta say I’m diggin’ it too! Just followed all those girls and had a scroll and it’s so clever! Wish I could be more quirky with my captions but I’m awful hahaha!
    http://www.jessdownard.com

    • Maria
      Author
      March 20, 2018 / 3:51 pm

      Ah so glad i’m not the only one who’s noticed it, really just talk about anything that comes into your head – once you get the hang of it it becomes easy! x

  10. February 7, 2018 / 9:37 pm

    Wow, I had no idea the who caption thing was actually a huge thing. I’ve always felt lost with the caption part. It is a great way to engage with your audience. Also I have noticed the captions becoming mini blogs. I guess I need to try this approach. Great topic Maria : ) xo

    Natoya
    http://www.juanitalikes.com

    • Maria
      Author
      March 20, 2018 / 3:53 pm

      It’s definitely becoming more important, exactly i’ve seen people doing product reviews in captions and everything! Give it a go, thank you! x

  11. February 9, 2018 / 12:09 pm

    I’ve noticed this too recently and I absolutely love it! I love all three of the accounts you’ve mentioned – I also love Hannah Gale’s captions (never fail to make me giggle!) and Sophie from @sopharsogood – her captions are so relatable! It’s such a great way to get to know the blogger a little better too and often is the reason I like a photo rather than the photo itself!

    Daughter of An Air Hostess // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

    • Maria
      Author
      March 20, 2018 / 3:56 pm

      Ah yes i know those two too, same – a lot of the time i spend more time on the caption than i do on the image! x

  12. February 13, 2018 / 4:03 am

    I only reactivated Instagram recently, but the focus on captions is obvious. I really, really like it. Especially when people take time to write a ‘story’ about the photo or talk about how their day has been/a specific memory. It feels more real than just posting a ‘perfect snap’ and walking away from the app. I like getting to know the person behind the ‘gram (and blog) nowadays.

    xo, Victoria
    An Argument for the Glory of the One Night Stand

    • Maria
      Author
      March 20, 2018 / 4:01 pm

      Yes! It makes sense when you think people are ultimately more reactive to actual discussion, there’s more to the app than just a picture! x

  13. March 13, 2018 / 11:14 pm

    I loved this post, Maria. I definitely agree that it is refreshing to see captions with more ‘behind the camera’ reality. We all know that it takes ages to get the perfect Instagram shot! I love the raw honesty that people are sharing these days, not only is it refreshing, but sometimes it is actually quite hilarious!

    Roxanne xx

    • Maria
      Author
      March 20, 2018 / 4:27 pm

      Thank you! Yeah, theres only so much perfection we can take, sometimes we need a bit of real every now and then, even on instagram! x

  14. December 5, 2018 / 2:46 am

    I think that the perfect caption is like the delicious icing on the cake. It could be an absolutely gorgeous image, which it usually is but the whole meaning of the photo could be even better by what the person talks about. It just sucks you in and you want more.

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