Team BURO Answers: Reacting to our first Instagram photos (oh boy!)
Open the archives
Ah, Instagram–the social media app that is the very joy and bane of our existence. We love to share our thrilling holiday getaways or the scrumptious feast we’re about to devour but then comes the hard part: How do I get the best shot? Should I smile into the camera or look away? Flatlays or a wide angle?
What was supposed to be just one or two photos has turned into a full-blown photoshoot (your food probably has gone cold and your friends are giving you the side-eye) as you try to get the most aesthetically pleasing shot for your ‘gram. It’s time-consuming and honestly? A bit anxiety-inducing if you feel like your photo isn’t ‘Insta-worthy’ enough.
But remember the good ol’ days when Instagram wasn’t about pristine-looking images that looked like they could fit into a photographer’s portfolio? Back then, we just snapped whatever we felt like and immediately clicked ‘Share’ to capture the moment (with plenty of hashtags to replace proper sentences). It wasn’t so much about aesthetics as much as it was to inform our friends where we were an hour ago in the classic #throwback.
In the spirit of poking a little fun at ourselves, Team BURO opens our archives (cue war flashbacks) and reacts to our first Instagram photos—get your sepia-tinted glasses ready for this blast from the past.
Rachel Au, editor
14 January 2011
"I actually remembered what my first Instagram photo was—I admit, I've gone back that far to look at it before. This picture was taken on the day I went crabbing with my friends in Adelaide. Clearly, the concept of Instagram then was to take a photo and post it instantly. In my haste, I left that classic thumb-in-the-shot effect for 'natural' aesthetic purposes. A crabby effort, clearly.”
Loh Wei Yeen, deputy editor
25 February 2012
"I'm not a whiz when it comes to choosing the best filters for my feed but I gotta say that I would take the same shot—and use the same filter—all over again if I had to. From the blue-tinted filter to the high contrast (you can't even read what's on the screen), this is pretty much what visuals on Instagram looked like back in 2012—two years after its launch. I'm not quite sure if the subject matter and background count as Insta-worthy, but at least it got me two comments (yay for #engagement)."
Joan Kong, fashion editor
29 September 2012
“From the bad resolution to the sepia filter, this picture is the epitome of an Instagram post from the early 2010s. While my food photography skills have improved tremendously since then, one thing that remains the same is my love for pavlova (specifically with strawberries, tqvm).”
Ronn Tan, lifestyle writer
29 May 2015
“Wow, this was forever ago! When I was asked to show my first Instagram photo, I was sure that I’m going to embarrass myself. Looking at this, it doesn’t look too bad! I mean— Pikachu and Charmander are in the background. The only difference is how young I used to look but the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ pose never left. Well, it’ll never leave. Aesthetically, this is one weird combination—wide white borders on the side and that filter is definitely one of the earlier in-app presets. While I probably won’t use that on my IG feed now, it’s a great reminder of my youth (because 2015 is a long time ago). Ps. The phone case is from a brand I really like and I didn’t just get a random case with the word “Pervert” on it. Help me.”
Redzhanna Jazmin, editorial assistant
25 February 2012
“Honestly? It’s not the worst. The filter is a little goofy but lil’ Tommy is really out here working his angles. 7/10 would ‘gram again.”
Marissa Chin, editorial assistant
22 September 2012
“I actually remember my first-ever post because it was also the night of my first sleepover (ever!) at 16 years old (don’t judge me). To commemorate our girls’ night, I snapped a shot of some vanilla ice cream in a bowl (instead of one with my friends because I already knew back then that food shots were the ultimate crowd-pleaser). Complete with the classic vignette filter, an in-app film border I ended up using way too often, and image resolution so bad it didn’t do the ice cream any justice at all: I present you the aesthetic of Instagram during its infancy.”
Calleigh Yap, senior web designer
24 December 2014
“Looking back on my first Instagram post, the first thing that comes to mind is "Wow, that was seven years ago!". There's no doubt that the quality of the picture is not as HD as what we’re used to now but I like that effect—it gives off a nostalgic feel. As for aesthetics, I went for a white border style for all my pictures to have a minimalistic look on my grid. I was really putting in a lot of effort for the ‘gram! The old me would be ashamed of myself right now for not updating my feed since 2019. I guess this is a good exercise for me to look back and realise that it's time to put in some work on my Instagram profile!”
Sarah Tai, senior web designer
17 February 2013
“Back then, I was probably thrilled that I had my hair dyed blue and wanted to show it off (sadly, the colour only lasted for a week). Now that I'm looking at it again, I can't believe I wore that tacky outfit (I must have been obsessed with leopard prints at some point) and picked such a horrible-looking filter—it's so yellow and gross! Also, my actual caption was: #bluehair #glasses #bunhead #selca #blue. It only had three likes. Ugh.”
Zakwan Taufiq, videographer
23 September 2013
“It was taken with my first iPhone and when I was working as a barista—I didn’t know I looked like an angel from Starbucks but I kind of dig it.”
In all seriousness though, it may look like we're airing our dirty laundry out to the public but it's interesting to see our reactions to these photos knowing what we know now about Instagram.
Here's some food for thought: do we actually think these pictures are as bad as we say they are or is it because many of us are programmed to think any shots without VSCO presets, and perfectly balanced saturation and contrast, should not see the light of day? Remember, at one point in time, we were confident in—or at least liked—the pictures enough to post it online; so, what's changed?
There are many of us now who still hasn’t gotten the hang of posting the "right" pictures on Instagram but you shouldn't sweat the details—it's totally fine to upload any photo as long as you like it. Don’t stress yourself out too much! It’s only an app.