Instagram Photos | 6 Ways I Will Lie To You

instagram photos

I am going to lie to you. I’ve done it before, and I’m going to do it again. You can’t blame me, really. In fact, you’ve secretly always known and you let me get away with it. Like some kind of magician and his audience, we have an unspoken truth between you and my Instagram photos.

Instagram Photos

Photography is a beautifully fluid medium. There are many things that can be classified as photography. As well as the traditional types of landscape, portrait, adventure and outdoor lifestyle I believe that Instagram photos are their own class of photography.

Content being shot on anything from large format film, to Smartphone Photography.

It ranges from the snapshot to the fine art BUT it has a very specific aim in mind. To create interest.

Instagram photos are not “real life”, they’re more of a theatrical production.

To this end, occasionally, I’m going to have to lie to you. And this is how I will do it.

Adjusting colours

Instagram Photos

Not forgetting to set the colourspace to Avoid Colour shift When Posting To Instagram, I’ll probably drop the saturation a little, too.

I don’t like really vibrant photographs. I prefer a mood that is a little more mellow.

To bring out some complimentary colours, I’ll probably warm up the tones in the grass and ground and cool them down in the sky and clouds. This gives me a nice pleasing contrast between orange and blue.

Overall, depending upon the mood I’m going for, I’ll cool the whole scene down or warm it up, too.

I’m just not to be trusted!

Adjusting exposure

instagram photos

Whether I do this with ND filters or in post, I’ll more than likely drop the exposure in the sky and add some drama to the clouds. Usually, I will “dodge and burn” some shadows and highlights into the clouds, too.

But, I won’t stop there.

I may even increase the exposure in my shadow areas as I tend to shoot for my highlights. I want to protect them, so my exposure setting when shooting tends to be low. But with the Fuji GFX 50s, I know my shadow information will still be there.

I’m not a fan of HDR that looks like HDR, but I like to show a large dynamic range.

{If you want to edit your photos but don’t want to buy Photoshop or Lightroom, here are my top picks for Online Photo Editors you can use within your browser!}

Create a focal point

instagram photos

I crop. Some people are against cropping. They say that you should crop with your feet. But, it is not always possible. I don’t see a problem with cropping as it is another tool we can use in our creative process. Those who are against cropping, are you also against adjusting local exposure? Because you know you could use ND-grad filters instead, right?

I crop to show off that focal point. Placing it in the most pleasing position within my frame. Which is usually pretty close to where I shot it.

I’ll also pick out the focal point with a slight vignette. Either using an exposure vignette or a saturation vignette to draw your eye to the place I want it to be.

But I’m not done yet!

I love leading lines. I shoot quite a lot with leading lines. So, I’ll “dodge and burn” along these lines. Creating “arrows” for your eye to follow towards my subject.

Even if there aren’t any leading lines, sometimes I will subtly “dodge and burn” some in 

Instagram photos


There are times when I can’t capture the final result I’m looking for. Like that time I wanted to have a flock of birds flying between buildings in the city.

Or when that perfect frame was begging for a main subject:

Instagram photos

There’s also that cliched “back of the phone” shot! I’ll composite two photographs to make a final image that looks better than the real thing.

There are also times when, rather than adding, I need to remove something from the frame.


Is there a difference between removing small specks of dust and painting out people within your frame? Both are a “lie”. It’s not the photograph you took.

They are both done in search of a final effect.

I will remove those “imperfections” for you and only show you the photograph that I had in mind when I took the shot. How can that solitary moment in the wilderness be shown with those tourists in the distance? They’ve gotta go!

Subject Choice

Instagram Photos
That Day I Shot At The Porsche Dealer

There are those who will take the theatrical production of Instagram photos to another level – not me, though. Heading down to the luxury car dealership, getting a test drive and a selfie. Captioning it with “my new ride”. This seems futile and pointless to me, but you could argue that they, too, are trying to portray a mood and a theme.

How far is too far?

The Inner Struggle

Being a content creator, either for personal or professional reasons, is an emotional ride from start to finish – here are the stages you can probably relate to.

We’ve all got to draw our own line. The line that we won’t cross, ethically and morally. For some, that means no retouching at all. For others, anything is fair game as long as you don’t get caught.

Instagram Photos

Personally, I don’t like heavy compositing and retouching UNLESS I make it clear that’s what I’ve done. As I said above, I added a flock of birds in flight to a “look up” shot, and I’ve also added a tree into a scene to give it a main subject. But, I always confessed to this in my captions, no matter how tempting it might be to pretend I’m a super-awesome photographer.

If you want to know more about getting creative, check out my 6 Tips To Get Out Of A Creative Rutt!

Intention To Deceive

I’m going to lie to you. I’ve done it before. Secretly, you knew it so you can’t really blame me. You watch a magician for the experience, and part of that experience is being lied to.

Thanks for reading this far. I hope I’ve not spoiled how the “trick” was done. If you enjoy the experience, take a look at my Instagram photos and drop me a few comments to help keep me honest. I’d also recommend having a look over on YouTube for an even bigger look “behind the curtain” of what I do.

Where do you draw your ethical line? How much is too much for you? Let me know in the comments below or send me a comment on Instagram.

Thanks again, have a great day, watch less, create more,

Ta Raa!


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