Are You an Instagram Cliche?

instagram, cliches, photos, snapshots, pictures, pets, dogs

I don’t even have a pet, but I couldn’t resist posting this pic of me with my friend’s little buddy, Dexter. Great dog.

Ever scroll through Instagram and notice that a lot of the photos seem familiar?

Your old roommate’s beautifully topped latte?

Your sister’s airplane-wing-through-the-window?

Well, the good people at Mashable did. And they’ve decided to help us all be more original, I suppose, by sharing their list of the 12 most clichéd Instagram pics. For me, Instagram is just a source of fun and another way to stay in touch with friends and see what interesting strangers and brands are doing.  I love the creative shots along with those that have a certain familiarity.

But as a writer and editor, I hate clichés. So I scrolled through my Instagram feed to see how many transgressions I’d committed there against Instagram’s dirty dozen.

1. Toes in the Sand. GUILTY

Instagram, cliche, photos, photography, snapshots, vacation, toes in the sand

On vacation in Barcelona. Lazy pic? Sure… lazy day.

2. Clouds. GUILTY

instagram, cliche, pictures, photos, images, how to take better pictures, miami, south beach, airplane, palm trees

Blue skies smiling at me in South Beach.

3. Food Porn. GUILTY

instagram, yeah burger, atlanta, cliche, food porn

Food porn? You bet! Can’t get enough of Yeah! Burger in Atlanta.

4. Nail Art (fingernails did up). INNOCENT! 

5. Inspiration Quotes. GUILTY

instagram, inspirational quote, putt-putt, cliche

Putt-putt wisdom, but wisdom nonetheless.

6. Tall Buildings Shot from the Ground. INNOCENT! (Surprisingly)

7. Latte Art. INNOCENT! (Surprisingly again…)

8. SMS Conversations. INNOCENT!

9. Airplane Wings. INNOCENT!

10. Bathroom Mirror Selfies. INNOCENT!

11. Circle of Feet. GUILTY

My sisters, nieces and I got our toenails painted. Nice family outing. (I'm the one with the hairy toes on the left.) Wait -- does this count as Nail Art, too?

My sisters, nieces and I got our toenails painted. Nice family outing. (I’m the one with the hairy toes on the left.) Wait — does this count as Nail Art, too?

12. Sunsets. GUILTY

Instagram, pics, photos, cliche, photographs, snapshots, Atlanta, sunset

Not your typical sunset pic, but a sunset pic all the same. Down North Avenue in Atlanta.

Six out of 12, maybe seven if you count the toenails thing twice. Is that good? Bad? I don’t know… But I’m not sure any of this is such a terrible thing, as suspicious as I remain of clichés in text. And I think Mashable missed a few. From my feed, I would add:

1. Blooming flowers.


2. Geometric shapes of hallways, portals, etc.

photo 1

3. Completely pointless selfies.

photoAre they overused and lazy — or part of the point,  the sharing of sights that catch your eye, little moments of your life? It depends on why you use Instagram, I suppose. Are you simply sharing, or are you trying to attract people and motivate an audience toward some action?

It also depends on how much effort you’re willing to make to get a more distinctive image. My friend and professional photographer Ben Gray offers some easy tips here.

What do you think? Have any Instagram cliches of your own? Let me hear from you, and follow my Instagram account here.


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