New Instagram trend ruining holidays
WHEN it comes to taking holidays in the modern age, every traveller has their essential list of must-pack items.
For some of us it's relatively short (passport, books, sunscreen), while for others it's a little longer (migraine medication, five sets of sneakers, every charger and adaptor imaginable, more books). Perhaps the most unexpected new addition to the list, though, is professional photographers.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Thanks to the rise and rise of social media, it seems how you look on holiday now matters more than ever. So much so that everyday travellers from across the world are hiring professional photographers to follow them around and stage #impromptu photo shoots.
With sites like Airbnb, TripAdvisor and Instagram, travellers can connect with professional photographers wherever they go for relatively little money.
These local photographers scout the best locations, know the best times of day for lighting and tourist control, can help with pose direction to get that #humble look, and even offer up Photoshop touch-ups to ensure you get the perfect content.
"A lot of the people I see are influencers wanting to show off their outfits and clothes in a different city," says Melbourne-based photographer Caitlin Adams, who has been offering photoshoot services via Airbnb since May 2018.
"Some are travellers just wanting to share where they are, but a lot are definitely looking for that perfect shot to share to social media."
In explaining the phenomenon, Adams adds, "Instagram has become a curated place for people to construct the lives that they want people to think they have, and so they need these photos to put that out into the world."
In other words, if you went to the Eiffel Tower and no one photographed you looking as though you were living your best life - something later confirmed and validated through likes and comments - did you ever really go?
Travellers - like most things in life - can firmly be divided into two distinct groups.
There are those who somehow look like off-duty models at all times, appearing effortlessly chic and cool while visiting ancient ruins in the middle of a stifling European summer and never even noticing a camera snapping away during their #candid experience.
The second camp is made up of those who, shall we say, aren't quite as lucky. As a fair-skinned descendant of Brits who struggles to put together a pair of socks, let alone a cohesive outfit each day, I fall into the latter camp and as such, most of my holiday happy snaps are less carefree hair flicks at sunset and more trying to avoid looking like a vertical ham hock caught off guard while ingesting gelato.
Mostly it never bothered me all that much. They are, after all, just photos of places that you've been and going there is the real memory, or something. But every now and then a scroll through Instagram would leave me wondering why it was that just once, I too couldn't look like one of the ethereal beings living their best life. Now I clearly have the answer.
Surely that means it's time to book another holiday, right?