It can be daunting seeing other people on social media, Instagram in particular. Their lives look so amazing. They’re doing so much, every day. They really seem like they’re winning at life.
And here you are, struggling to get out of bed in the morning, scrambling to find some sort of motivation to get showered and dressed and desperately, secretly, wishing that you could win the lottery (when you subsecretly know that’s never going to happen) so that you could live the lives of social media influencers instead of having to work, worry about bills and your next upcoming family obligation: your mother’s cousin’s sister’s child’s christening. Oh, look, it’s raining outside. It’s always raining outside.
What are these people doing, that you’re not? Is it their age? Is it their contacts? Are they rich heiresses with a professional entourage; with hair and makeup professionals that follow them around; wardrobe and costume designers that source out the cutest outfits for them to wear and pro photographers that capture perfect snaps of their perfect lives as they shadow them everywhere, to all the perfect sun-drenched locations around the world?
That must be it, right? That would explain a lot.
Life just seems so easy and fun for them, doesn’t it? I bet they don’t have to worry about eczema, dandruff, the heat bill, car insurance, waxing their legs, sagging skin, cellulite, grey hairs, phone bills, … I bet they don’t even have to worry about carbs because they have high metabolisms and can eat anything they want and still look good.
Yep, that’s it… they won the life lottery and travel the world looking good and making money doing just that, when they don’t even need it because of you know, “family money”. I bet they have loving, wonderful relationships and great sex with their perfect soulmates too. It’s not fair is it? It’s enough to make anyone give up on life, in general.
But… that’s not life. Life’s not like that. Life will never be like that.
But what if it could be…
The thing you need to know is this. Adulting is hard. Yes, but it’s hard for everyone. These people that you stalk on Instagram, aren’t living perfect lives. You’re just seeing their highlight reel. You’re seeing a snapshot of what probably took hours or days to perfect.
Getting to the location, wearing the right clothing, getting the timing and lighting just right, then there’s the after photo work. Filters, saturation, cropping, white balance. It’s all a show. It’s a production of a moment in their lives, a catalog of moments in their lives, taken to make you think that they live like heiresses.
They might travel around the world, sure, but not without lugging all that equipment on their back, hiking to get amazing backdrops, taking probably a few hundred photos just to get that one, that you see. It’s something they work at. And for some, it’s a living. They probably get paid to promote some product, some brand, some outfit or accessory. They might even sell their photos to stock photography websites or media companies.
Case in Point
You may have seen the famous Russian couple, Murad Osmann and now wife Nataly Osmann, a super creative power couple, who take photos with her leading him by the hand towards some exotic, famous, incredible landscapes and iconic backdrops around the world. All you see is the back of her in beautiful outfits and some unbelievable scenery. The final shot always looks perfection.
While it looks like they travel the world endlessly, it turns out, they are only ever in each location a few days at a time due to their full time jobs at home in Russia. At least that’s how it was at the start. While on vacation in Barcelona in 2011, then fiancee Nataly, was getting annoyed at Murad for always wanting to take photos and lag behind. She grabbed his hand and led him to different places and he just kept taking photos.
The incredible success of this #followmeto series over the last 6 years or so, has lead to a massive instagram following (493K at the time of this article), tv commercials, paid for travel expenses, collaborations with other brands and designers, a book deal, an art exhibition, a tv show and a fashion and jewellery brand.
Murad is now releasing videos through his youtube channel that actually show the behind the scenes look at how they capture their famous shots and they now do travel guides of the places they visit. Well worth a look if you’re into travel, adventure and awesomeness.
Sure, he’s a professional photographer and she’s a professional journalist, but the photos themselves take a great deal of planning, luggage carrying, location scouting, setting up, test shots and the braving of crowded tourist sites while in costume, hair and makeup. Nataly plans all her outfits and they hire local stylists and makeup artists. They are an inspiration to photographers, travellers, creatives and artists the world over.
How to Live Like You’re on Instagram
The fact is, there’s a lot of work that goes behind those photos you see on instagram and other social media platforms. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and just like models in magazine photos shoots, there is a great deal of photoshopping taking place post shot.
It’s a talent, an art, a skill, a lot of hard work, patience and vision but it works because of it’s consistency. It’s fine to do one cool shot, but that shot is going to get drowned out in a sea of instagram images and hashtags. Keep doing something consistently and to a high standard, and you’ll get noticed, if that’s what you’re after. That’s how you build an instagram following.
For those just looking to live that in-front-of-the-camera life, I suggest you find a job that allows you to travel or work for yourself. Make travelling your priority. Save money for travel. If that means sacrificing that expensive Prada handbag or Burberry winter trench coat, then so be it.
Everything adds up, so don’t think that you can still live the same lifestyle at home and make enough to travel whenever you like. Travellers make a lot of sacrifices and if you want to be one, so should you.
Invest in yourself. Take care of your appearance, how you dress, your health and happiness. Be comfortable in your own skin as much as in front of a camera. All of that will show.
If you want to take good photos, invest in learning about photography then go out there and start taking pictures, learning as you go. If you want to be able to edit photos, take a class in photoshop or lightroom and practice, practice, practice. Put in the time to better yourself and invest time in your interests. You never know what opportunities could come your way.
Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t live in fear or hesitation about trying new things or going to new places. Never say you can’t do something, without trying it first. Be bold. Be brave.
Don’t try to live like this in order to make others jealous or to garner validation. Just be happy with yourself and your life. Then capture that. Don’t attempt to live for others. You’ll never be happy trying to please everyone and if it doesn’t make you happy, then what’s the point?
Although #followmeto has been done, and been done impeccably I might add, it turns out the Osmanns are creating a movement and encourage others to join in with taking their own photos with the same MO and hashtag. So if that’s of interest to you, then go for it.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come up with something new for yourself as well. Contribute something new to the world or to Instagram, or to the art world in general.
Like I always say, be inspired, but don’t imitate. As with everything in life, be an original, don’t be a copy of someone else’s life. You never know what doors it will open up for you or where it could lead. Think about what makes you happy, what you want to be known for. What legacy do you want to leave?
If none of that interests you, you can at least be at peace with the fact that those images you see of other people on social media, aren’t real live versions of how they live. Just like in the movies or in magazines, they are there to tell a story. So don’t be fooled by what it appears to be, or be envious of other people’s lives. Admire the art for what it is, and the hard work that has gone into being able to show it to you.
Make your happiness and your lifestyle a priority always. Also, you’re never too old to contribute something to the world. Don’t let age be your excuse. Live the kind of life that you can be proud of, that makes you happy. That’s the kind of life that people want to see.