Instagram celebrated its three-year birthday earlier this month, surpassing 150 million users. They introduced video in June and there’s even an unofficial “Instagram hotel” in Australia that offers free nights to users with more than 10,000 followers. (Australia itself is the most-followed destination in the world, with more than 200,000 users.) Destination marketers have embraced Instagram as another way to tell their destination’s story, and with a large selection of filters to apply to photos, it’s hard not to make a place look good. Snapshots of street scenes, art, statues, sunsets, nature, nightlife and food is all fodder for new content to be shared across official and social media channels. If you haven’t jumped on the Instagram bandwagon, you need to. Now.
Travelers like myself have also fully embraced Instagram as a way to (finally!) take great photos of their trip. Even if I accidentally take a fuzzy picture or capture my thumb in the photo – which happens more often than I’d care to admit – with Instagram the end result looks artsy instead of idiotic.
With Instagram, the end result looks artsy instead of idiotic.
I've been traveling a lot these past few months and have made copious use of the Instagram app and its many filter options (my favorites are X-Pro II, Lo-Fi and Hefe). I think the contrasts, shadows and overlays that Instagram applies to photos are a lot like my travel memories themselves – both subtly hazy and sharper at the same time, and all the more beautiful to look back on. Here are a few of my favorite Instagram-aided snapshots from recent travels:
Red Rocks in Denver, CO
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Madrid (this is what happens when you don't speak Spanish and try to be adventurous at lunchtime)
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
New York (captured in the back of a cab speeding over the bridge to La Guardia)