Instagram has always been a platform for influencers to post highly edited, professional-looking photos. Thanks to apps filters, they can capture themselves in amazing but unrealistic detail.
However, there have been indications over the past year that more candid photos are doing much better compared to edited ones. Users are more interested in seeing the real and messier side of influencers and how they deal with social media pressure behind the scenes.
Last year, the head of an influencer marketing agency said in a post for Forbes that influencers were sharing edited pictures alongside candid ones. These stories have inspired Instagram personalities to post behind-the-scenes images, allowing a glimpse into their real lives. In April, Tony Lorenz wrote in the Atlantic that the ‘Instagram aesthetic’ was over.
A fashion influencer told Quartz that she wanted to move away from the perfect images and share simple, daily-life snaps because she planned on having kids and her life was changing. “It’s going to be pretty tough to go through a flower field and take photos.” However, the influencer also said she had heard rumors about Instagram’s algorithm change to prioritize more realistic images.
Writer and actress Tavi Gevinson wrote an essay for The Cut confirming this story. Gevinson was contacted by Eva Chen, head of Instagram’s fashion partnerships, who invited her to see how the algorithm worked.
Instagram employees told Gevinson that the algorithm does not favor face images, studying the user’s likes instead and showing images closer to those.
“The Instagram employees also told me that celebrities, models, and influencers had recently been coming to them wanting to know why their casual selfies outperform their posed red-carpet photos and editorial shots. Chen explained that aspirational photos did better a few years ago, but now users crave posts that seem to be behind-the-scenes, candid: ‘People want to see you letting your hair down,’” she wrote.