Epic Instagram Photo Fail

At the risk of major public humiliation, I will share a tale with you about my epic Instagram photo fail. Oh the things we do to get good photos. Amirite?  I’m sure you have seen the dreamy perfect travel photos on Instagram. You know the ones; beautiful women with glossy blown out hair twirling in a long flowy gown at the top of a mountain or maybe in a crowded Italian piazza where there are miraculously no other tourists. We are presumably to believe that she hiked up there and looked so fantastic. The average person does have sweat glands and cannot pull this glamorous fashion shoot off after hiking up a mountain.

The Reality Behind the Fantasy

The reality is less of a fantasy and more of a pain in the ass struggle.  Fashionable travel instagrammers and bloggers will hike and then change for a photo. Did I just blow your mind? Ok, not so mind blowing and many have probably caught on to this little secret. When I first found out I was annoyed I hadn’t thought of it myself! (I could have looked so much cuter after hiking the Inca Trail! Dammit!) Regardless, I still can’t figure out how to pull off the good hair. Sweat really messes my hair up.  I guess some people have sweat proof hair or maybe hike with hair products. I’m not sure. If you know the secret please help a sister out and share!

The other reality is that these shots are never effortless. Nobody is just casually laughing while swinging her hair and looking slightly off camera while holding a part of her skirt that is slightly blowing in the wind. Are we supposed to believe that her photographer friend just happened to catch her in this perfect candid moment? Is there a Beyonce style fan available in travel size to provide perfect wind blown photos? Most candid shots, as fun as they are, don’t capture us with a perfect expression or a perfect hair toss. Just, No! These types of shots are staged to the max!

But I Want Fantasy Type Pictures Too (said in very whiny voice)

I have been guilty of trying to take perfect shots and I recently went to great lengths to get what I thought would be an awesome photo. It turned out to be a major photo fail and a major wake up call for me to just chill and be myself. Hopefully you can have a laugh at my stupidness and feel less like crying into your smoothie bowl when you compare your pics to others and they don’t seem to measure up.

My Epic Instagram Photo Fail

I was recently in Cinque Terre, Italy. I researched where to get the best views of some of the most photogenic villages. One village, Vernazza,  looks the best when shot from the ocean, looking back at the harbor. Unless you are a mermaid, this involves venturing out onto some dangerous rocks that jut out into the sea.

Read More: Best Photo Spots in Cinque Terre

I decided to do this and simultaneously enjoy some beach time. Sounds reasonable right? Armed with a bathing suit, cute dress over bathing suit, sarong towel type thing to lay on, and my GoPro, GoPro stick and tripod, I headed towards the rocks. At one point, the rocks were not easy to walk on. Wet rocks are slippery. What  a newsflash, right? A photo right there, on those first not-so- dangerous rocks would have probably been fine, but no.  I wanted to go way out to the other rocks, the ones that you probably need mountaineering experience to get to.

I was pleased with my progress for awhile, until I fell on my bum, making my pretty dress dirty and wet. Grrr. After mentally recovering from my fall, I awkwardly climbed onto the rock I was heading towards, with some French couple staring disapprovingly.  A few people were sunbathing here so I left my bag, grabbed the GoPro stick and decided to keep going further. I scaled a wall, clinging for my life, getting cuts everywhere, and came to this spot.

Instagram Photo Fail

Timing is Everything

Then I realized…queue horror movie music…Vernazza was back lit. It was too early in the day to take this particular shot.  I took a cleansing breath.  No problem. In an hour it will be better. I will relax on the rock, get some sun, read my book, and then take the pic. Happy with my perfect plan, I headed back to my sunbathing rock. Somehow, scaling the same rocky wall was more difficult in reverse and I nearly killed myself.  It’s really too bad nobody has pics of me doing this. I’m sure it was hilarious to watch. I came to the conclusion that the only way back was by swimming. So much for my hair looking good.

Can I Just Take My Stupid Pic Already?

Back at the rock, I sat for awhile, I cooled off in the water, I read, and eventually laying on a rock became really uncomfortable. The damn sun would not move to where I wanted it to be. An hour later, the village was still backlit. Eventually around 1:00 pm. it seemed acceptable (plus I was hot AF and getting sunburned). Looking back at this picture, I can’t help but think the sun was making my brain malfunction. This view was fantastic and the lighting was fine. Why didn’t I just take a pic here and get on with my life? Why wasn’t this good enough?

Instagram Photo Fail

Nope. I was determined for the view to be EVEN better. I swam over to the rock of choice, way out in the harbour, set up my tripod and starting posing. French couple in the distance laughing of course. I had a few choice words for them. You have to have no shame when getting that perfect photo!

Swimming back to where I started involved being pushed into rocks by the wavers, embarrassing to anyone watching, plus I ended up with a deep cut on my hand. Now bleeding, humiliated, sunburned (definitely a few steps closer to skin cancer), all I had left was the smug knowledge that I was going to have the best photo ever.

Instagram Photo Fail

This is only one of my many wounds from this day.

The Dramatic Conclusion

Later when I finally pulled the pics from my GoPro, I was aghast to see that every pic has that damn water blur spot that the GoPro often gets when it’s wet. It needs some windshield wipers. Are you listening GoPro?????  Plus, I have my normal “I hate my body in a swimsuit” feelings that many women sadly have. I don’t know why I imagined I would suddenly look like Shakira from the back and love my bikini body in pictures.

Epic Instagram Fail

Ok.  I don’t hate myself sitting down. But every freaking picture has that blurry spot!
Epic Instagram Photo Fail

With some creative editing I was able to produce this one. I tried to crop out some blur (and my non-Shakira bum).

Instagram Photo Fail

Far from the best photo I’ve ever taken. That very same day, I look on Instagram and see some Swedish model posing on a rock in the same area in a beautiful dress and it literally looked like photographic perfection. I wanted to vomit. And then cry. And then vomit more.

Trying to Learn From My Mistakes

So what did I learn? That Instagram photos are not that damn important! That I can’t compete with the lack of reality out there. That I’m not a Swedish model. That I don’t have a professional photographer following me around. That I need to just have fun and be myself with my regular old photos and that’s good enough! Risking my life and putting myself through this drama is just plain idiotic.

What is your worst Instagram photo fail? Tell me in the comments!!

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Instagram Photo Fail

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  1. marnie | 5th Aug 17

    Love everything about this story, these photos and you’re so stunning, puhhhlease!!!! Wishing I was there with you!

    • csaradar | 11th Aug 17

      Haha thanks girl!

  2. Surekha | 5th Aug 17

    You look great. Loved the shots. Worth it.

    • csaradar | 11th Aug 17

      haha thanks Surekha!

  3. Branimir Toza | 2nd Aug 17

    The coolest story ever

  4. Björn | 2nd Aug 17

    The bright side of this is you wouldn’t have had a story if you didn’t go through all this struggle! Loved he blur!

    • csaradar | 2nd Aug 17

      LOL Bjorn exactly. I live for good stories:)

  5. Marilyn | 31st Jul 17

    I so enjoyed this story, Cherene…so hilarious, but not for you at the time for sure! I agree with all the comments above about what is real connects! We all appreciate all your heroic efforts to get those great shots, but we don’t want anymore injuries. 🙂 You’re doing a fantastic job with you blog, and it’s so great to experience these wonderful places through your stories and photos.

    • csaradar | 2nd Aug 17

      Luckily I lived to laugh about it!

  6. Laura M Tenekjian | 24th Jul 17

    Such a funny post Cherene, I can hear you telling the story!!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Thanks babe. I’m glad my true nature comes through:)

  7. orangewayfarer | 24th Jul 17

    Loved it for it sounded like an original post. I broke my camera for I was trying to vlog while standing on top of a rock in the Andaman sea 🙁 cried the whole day.

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Omg that’s awful. I would be crying too! The things we do huh?

  8. Daphne Lee | 24th Jul 17

    This post is so genuine and funny! Some fashion bloggers even buy clothes for their photoshoots and leave the tag on, so they can return them later… I’m just not always lucky to have someone willing to take all kinds of photos of me. 🙂 You’re already doing so well, definitely not a fail!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      That’s crazy! I don’t have the balls for that. I ask trying to find new creative ways to get pictures of myself but it’s always so much drama. Lol

  9. JaMeka | 23rd Jul 17

    Oh my goodness what a day you had!!! You’re right, people do a lot to take that perfect Instagram photo! Now I know how they manage to snap a shot in a dress on top of a mountain. Wow lol 🙂

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      With my luck the dress would be a wrinkled mess by the time I got up the mountain!

  10. La | 23rd Jul 17

    Hahahaha, gold! I know… we all want a perfect photo even if it is not for our blogs. You travel alone, so that is even harder. My boyfriend always takes 3 pictures of me and then I can see them and I get next three shots and that’s it. If my blog ever starts to exist… it can present only a few perfect shots made by luck hahaha 😀 But me personally… I prefer failed photos. Why? Because that’s reality and you get closer to people… we are not all perfect in fancy dress and high heels eating perfect breakfast on a perfect Santorini spot (btw yesterday I saw that pictures are perfect but on instagram stories video we can see that the wind on this spot is crazy, that means terrible photos because of my hair). And your first picture before all this climbing is good enough haha 😀 You can see colorful houses and more surroundings… and on this blurry one… even the houses are not that attractive (I think that’s your “Shakira but” fault, it takes all the attention from other objects) 😉 Good luck and be yourself <3

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Thanks girl! I need to get myself a bf with camera skills! Lol. I hear ya…I like a pretty pic but I like reality too. Nobody eats breakfast in heels on an island dammit!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Thanks girl! I need to get myself a bf with camera skills! Lol. I hear ya…I like a pretty pic but I like reality too. Nobody eats breakfast in heels on an island dammit!

  11. Rajlakshmi | 23rd Jul 17

    I love how honest you are. Not everyone shares their fail story. Yes the lesson is to enjoy these travel moments, and not worry so much about instagram. My fail moments are mostly when I am trying to do a handstand without the support and then like humty dumpty, I end up having a great fall. I got videos after videos of me crashing into the ground… Painful I tell you 🙂
    BTW you look stunning in that bikini. You got nothing to worry about 🙂

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Thanks so much:) OMG if I attempted a handstand I would definitely be in the hospital!

  12. Brianna | 22nd Jul 17

    Thanks for sharing the truths of Instagram! I think its crazy that people will hike with other outfits and stuff just for a pretty picture!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      It’s apparently super common!

  13. headalongwithheart | 22nd Jul 17

    This is the story of my life, and OMG, I would have never thought to bring a separate outfit on a hike for photo-taking purposes! I am never graceful and always awkward in front of the camera, and it’s so nice to hear that I’m not the only one with these kind of struggles! Thank you for a laugh–and your photos didn’t turn out badly!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Thank you. I have many photo fails I could write about. I am going to try this separate outfit thing one of these days!

  14. sandykul | 22nd Jul 17

    Hahaha I love this article! Thanks for sharing <3 I'm sure a lot of people need to know about the effort that goes into every perfect/not-so-perfect Instagram photo 😛

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      I think it’s good to give everyone a dose of reality every now and then. IG has turned travel into this fantasy world and it’s not really attainable!

  15. Miranda | 22nd Jul 17

    I’m the same way with all pictures! So much awkwardness and blunders.. but I’ve decided to just post them anyways because they’re good for a laugh haha. But you’re right, Instagram beauty isn’t that important, as long as we still have fun on our trips!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Exactly…we need to be ourselves, have fun and if that means being awkward, then so be it. I actually like people’s awkward pics!

  16. Anna | 22nd Jul 17

    I love this dose of instagram reality! I often compare my photos to others but then I remember how much time I spent enjoying myself on my travels rather than wasting time trying to get the perfect shot 🙂 Good on you – those photos are awesome anyway!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      YES! That’s an awesome thing to remember. Somedays I refuse to take any photos at all. Those are good days:) And we just can’t compare to others. Our photos are OURS and are special.

  17. Stephthepinkbackpack | 22nd Jul 17

    Urg its SO frustrating when this happens. But happy you can have a laugh at yourself and move on 🙂 I recently went on a shipwreck dive super pumped to get some epic photos with my hero5 and forgot the housing. Its waterproof but only to a certain depth and the dang thing shut off and I was so worried I had ruined it. Its fine thankfully but no photos. also an epic fail haha.

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Oh that sucks. I’m so glad it didn’t ruin your hero 5! I have had SO many gopro water related fails. I should write that post. Once my case leaked a bit and ruined the camera during a dive. So sad to replace such expensive stuff. Sometimes i wonder if my underwater shots are even good enough to warrant diving with it!

  18. memoirsmusings | 22nd Jul 17

    Loved this post! I completely agree that photos aren’t that important, it’s all about the experience you have!

    Char xo || http://www.memoirsmusings.com

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      I definitely got a bit crazy about photos when I started blogging and no trying to focus on important things, like you said…the experience. Some days I won’t take any photos and that’s kind of fun.

  19. Nina | 22nd Jul 17

    Oh I have been there! You have one idea in your head but then it turns out another way. And the way the sun lays on something affects everything. But hey, at least you got a good pic of the buildings!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Yes I should have just stuck with the buildings!!

  20. lucywilliamsglobal | 22nd Jul 17

    Great read, so funny! I have never gone this far for an Instagram photo! As most I’m not in, for the many reasons you said! But all these posed for photos drive me crazy! I’m sure they take a van with a beauty salon in! Lol

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      I want this beauty salon van dammit! I hope you never go this far. This was seriously dangerous and I could have been injured being stupid. How embarrassing to explain to an ER doctor why you had a major injury! LOL

  21. Penny | 22nd Jul 17

    You look beautiful. I love your gorgeous red hair! These goof ups happen. I’ve spent hours trying to get a perfect shot only to be disappointed later. Now I just go with the flow. Click check…. Hmmm Will do I guess. Time to have some fun!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      thanks Penny! Your method is perfect. There is no need to spend over an hour on one photo. Click check…I like it!

  22. Samantha | 22nd Jul 17

    This was such a relatable read! I’ve also had my share of failed photos! It’s funny how they always seem so good in the moment but when I look at the photos later it’s never the way I thought? Thanks for the reminder that Instagram isn’t important! 🙂

  23. juliemtms | 22nd Jul 17

    I love this post…I can totally relate! But I gave up…just posting the best I can:) yours are amazing btw!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      I’m so glad others can relate. Sometimes I think I’m just losing my mind! We all can just be ourselves and do the best we can. Thanks so much for saying that:)

  24. Maria | 22nd Jul 17

    Kudos to you for telling this story, it’s hilariously embarrassing but I guess that’s the crazy things social media makes you do by showing you all these perfect shots 😀 we’ve probably all to some extent made an ass of ourselves trying to get that one picture, so I had a good laugh reading this and I think you can be glad that you learned the lesson of enjoying yourself and take your regular picture instead of trying to compete with these fake images on Insta. Hope you will have even more fun on your future trips now 🙂

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      It was a good lesson for me and I’m definitely feeling better and having more fun now. My pictures aren’t going to win any contests but they are mind and I like them:) I hope the reality of my life comes through and not some fantasy. Thanks for your nice comments!

  25. Kavey Favelle | 22nd Jul 17

    I have giggled a little but it’s mixed up with wincing in sympathy for your pain!!! I must admit I often look at the new generation of travel grams where perfectly coiffed and dressed pretty young things pose insouciantly infront of grand vistas… and part of me wonders whether they even notice the beauty behind them or whether it’s all about looking at them them them. So, honestly, I don’t think you should feel bad for not succeeding at playing that game, I think your photography is lovely as it is, no need to kill yourself on the slippery rocks!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Thank you Kavey. You are right on so many levels. I hate that I even tried to play this game at all. I used to take only landscapes but once I started blogging, i wanted to be in some pics to make them more unique and personalize and things spiraled out of control. Now I take a pic, get that out of the way, then take time to reflect on where I am and how awesome it is.

  26. Nicola | 22nd Jul 17

    Oh yes, I definitely enjoyed reading your post. And you’re so right – just be yourself and have fun. I never do pics of myself, because I don’t really like them and I absolutely do not want to carry a second set of clothes, makeup and a hair straightener with me on a hiking tour ;-))

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Haha! The hair straightener would be heavy in a backpack:) Somedays I don’t want to be in any pics. The pressure to look perfect is so high. I definitely feel good that I had this epiphany and I’m having more fun now.

  27. Kareemah | 22nd Jul 17

    This was hilarious, I totally understand the pain to take the best shot! I don’t think I’ve had an instagram fail as to the one you went through but I hate when I ask other tourist to take my pics and they take a not so good shot and I’m like “did you even look at the screen before snapping it?” but yeah.

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      OMG that is the worse. Some people have no clue with a camera. Or they cut your leg off or part of your head. I had one guy zoom it so much you couldn’t see gorgeous waterfall behind me. ugh!

  28. Sabrina | 22nd Jul 17

    This is absolutely hilarious! And shows why my instagram will never be “famous”. I’m much too lazy for all that work! LOL. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      For real! So much work. I can’t imagine what kind of suitcases some people are carrying to look so damn great all the time!

  29. anekha | 22nd Jul 17

    Aw I enjoyed reading this! The photos still show off how gorgeous the surroundings are and I think you look great!

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Aw thanks Anekha. That’s sweet of you to say:)

  30. youngandundecided | 22nd Jul 17

    Haa oh god! We’ve all been there! I don’t know much about GoPros but is it right you can’t see the pictures once you take them, you need to wait to transfer them? That’s what has always put me off of them! Still a lovely picture, and you look beautiful 🙂

    • csaradar | 24th Jul 17

      Some GoPros are like that. Mine you can see them, but it’s a small screen and I didn’t notice the blur!! And thanks so much for saying that:)

  31. Roma small | 22nd Jul 17

    I laughed really hard reading this because it’s exactly something I’d do. And the water spot, omg been there. It’s SO irritating. Lesson to all of us right? Life your life 🙂

    • csaradar | 25th Jul 17

      Very good lesson indeed!

  32. amandasettle | 22nd Jul 17

    Love it and the reality is what really connects with readers anyway, something they can actually do rather than a photoshopped impossibility 🙂

    • csaradar | 25th Jul 17

      I like to think so! That’s what I connect with:)

  33. Ana | 22nd Jul 17

    Such a funny story, made me chuckle :)) nice storytelling. I can see you climbing those rocks… I suck at being in pictures, but I’ve done my fair share of uncomfortable positions and somewhat dangerous climbs to get THE picture…. so I can relate. Sans the “watermark” (literally) would have made a good shot 🙂

    • csaradar | 25th Jul 17

      Thanks Ana. Why do we do this crap? LOL

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