Lets Chat About Social Media, Reality and Photoshop

(Image via Pinterest)

The other night I was out at a bar with some friends and a buddy of mine asked me, as a blogger, what I thought about Essena O’Neill’s video on quitting social media. For those of you who have not heard her story I strongly urge you to go check it out. To summarize, Essena, an eighteen year old Instagram star, quit social media entirely after realizing the immense pressure it was putting on her as well as other millennials. O’Neill originally kept many of her Instagram images up, (she has since closed her account) but changed the captions to be honest about what went into taking her photos, with captions such as “took over 50 shots until I got one I thought you might like, then I edited this one selfie for ages over several different apps”.

I think what Essena did is incredibly brave and is such a breath of fresh air when you start to think about what the effects of seeing these so called “perfect” girls with “perfect” lives can do to our self esteem.

Recently a friend of mine from back home told me that when he looks at my Instagram he is jealous of my “perfect life” and I found that kind of eye opening. In reality, when I photo an outfit and it looks “perfect” it is because I edited it in Photoshop and deleted the other 46 photos I did not like. Personally, I often edit my photos because I think that certain things can distract from my outfit, such as chest acne or wrinkles in my clothing. In my opinion, there isn’t anything wrong with that because I am not ashamed of who I am and I understand the difference between social media and reality. I am a normal twenty three year old who, yes, still gets acne (The below are two examples of before and afters of photos that I edited because of my acne). 
Even more so, when I post a picture of a new plant I got or my morning coffee and it looks “perfect”, it is because I moved furniture around in my house for thirty minutes to get the right backdrop and the best lighting and looked up reference images on Instagram to be sure the angle I got is the best. I even included the below image to show you guys what things really look like in my living room when I take photos for the blog.

To me, posting on social media and my blog is meant to be inspiration for my followers. It is meant to show you pretty images of delicious things and cute outfits, but it is not my reality. I get acne, my house gets messy, I have bed head (come on who really “woke up like this!?”) and that is what I want everyone to know. Going forward, I will be making a conscious effort adding a footnote to the end of my posts that explains what went into the photos I am posting.
Tell me, what are your opinions on social media v.s. reality and the use of photoshop and other editing apps?


  1. November 13, 2015 / 3:00 pm

    Great post! My cat is always trying to get into my photos, too. I use snapchat to show the behind scenes/real images. My friends that follow me on snapchat often comment laughingly on how my food set up, which seemed to be on a table, was actually on my deck on the ground. ♡♡

    xoxoBella | http://xoxobella.com

  2. November 13, 2015 / 3:06 pm

    Great post seems to be a popular topic I think most people understand that social media only shows the best parts of people's life that doesn't mean we're all perfect. this isn't new news is it? People need to learn to love themselves first just my option

    Xo have a great day


  3. November 13, 2015 / 3:13 pm

    Thanks so much Kenny! Love your blog by the way! Those inspiration photos are awesome!

  4. November 13, 2015 / 3:14 pm

    Bella that is such a great idea! I love that haha and yes seriously everyone seems to be surprised when I show them how I really photograph my Instagram or food pictures! 🙂

  5. November 13, 2015 / 3:16 pm

    Good point Amanda! I felt similarly, but I was so surprised by how many people in my life didn't distinguish the difference as much as one might think. I think as bloggers and social media frequenters, we might see the differentiation clearer than most. Food for thought 🙂

  6. November 14, 2015 / 4:06 pm

    this is SO GREAT!!! Annie I couldn't agree more! A little while ago, some of my old school friends who I hadn't seen in a while commented on the fact that my life looked so interesting and beautiful through the photos they've seen on my instagram. At the time I just laughed it off and didn't think any more of it- but the whole Essena thing really got me reflecting on what sort of 'perfect' image I might be portraying through carefully-planned out instagram shots and a good filter. It's odd, because as a blogger I obviously know that social media is not real life, but I guess I always assumed everyone knew that until Essena spoke out against it. Definite food for thought- it really makes you think twice about what image of yourself you're putting forward! x

  7. November 14, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    very interesting post ! I am quite proud to say that if I see a very beautiful Instagram account of someone, I do know that it 's all put together like in a 'theatre' but not reality! so i never get jealous or envy their 'perfect lives' as I know its mostly fake. I do also don't really follow account on instagram that look 'too perfect' as I get bored of it I much prefer following peoples with REAL life and pictures .


  8. November 14, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Thanks so much Zoe! It is really an interesting topic isn't it? Especially as bloggers I feel like we have a very unique perspective! Great points! 🙂

  9. November 14, 2015 / 8:14 pm

    That is a really good quality to have Marie! I hate to admit it but I do catch myself feeling envious of people's "lives" on Instagram even though I know they are not real! Always something good to be conscious of! Thanks again for the thoughtful comment!

  10. November 15, 2015 / 11:39 am

    I loved reading this – Essen O'Neil's video is really powerful to watch. Sometimes I'll nail a picture for Instagram or my blog but most of the time I won't – there are shadows, my face looks weird, various other things. BUT I'll post them anyway – when I was talking to a friend she said she appreciated because it's NOT perfect. #notperfectandnotpretendingtobe

    LOVE you blog.

  11. November 16, 2015 / 8:51 am

    Thanks for this honest insight! I don't think there is anything wrong with using photo shop to correct or enhance colours, for example.

    Have a great day,

  12. November 16, 2015 / 12:17 pm

    That is a great way of looking at it! It is so true that I also get bored with Instagram accounts that are too curated. It is humanizing to have the little imperfections! Thanks for the thoughtful comments 🙂

  13. November 16, 2015 / 12:18 pm

    I totally agree Kati! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  14. November 16, 2015 / 12:49 pm

    Thank you Rena! I am now following you on Bloglovin 🙂 Love your blog too!

  15. February 7, 2016 / 1:13 pm

    I often use other editing apps on the mobile phone rather than using photoshop. Actually I don't know how to use. But I'm thinking about learning it as well. Those pics which have been photoshoped look very gorgeous and catchy, I love them. hmmm

    Best Shoes 2016 | Best shoes 2016

  16. February 9, 2016 / 12:29 am

    Thanks so much Khanh! I love instagram editing tools as well! And photoshop is totally worth learning! Its super useful!

  17. February 23, 2016 / 3:03 pm

    I learned a lot of new things too. I think its not necessary to use photoshop for your instagram photos…people usually can say the fake. I have written a bunch of photoshop tutorials, here is http://hdreditingsoftware.com/how-to/ one of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *