16 In Instagram/ Travel


Let’s admit it, scrolling through Instagram is fun. Nonetheless, I often have to remind myself of the reality behind everyone’s photos. The life that we show others on Instagram is not 100% accurate. For this reason, I’d like to use this post to demonstrate the reality behind my most popular  posts in 2016. I’m hoping that this will help my readers understand that what you see is not always real. Plus, you’ll get to see some of the photos I chose not to post. With that said, here are my top posts of 2016: 

9 & 8. Polka dot wall (Chattanooga, TN)

Polka dot wall in Chattanooga, TennesseeIt’s no secret that I have a bit of an obsession with brightly-colored murals. In fact, after seeing so many pictures of this particular polka dot wall in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I knew I had to see it for myself. So, my mom and I took a quick day trip up to Chattanooga (only a little over a 2-hour drive). After arriving, it actually took me a while to locate the wall. For those looking to find this mural, it’s directly across from the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel

Polka dot wall in Chattanooga, TennesseeNow, here’s some outtakes to prove that I look like a dork in 90% of my unedited photos.

Polka dot wall in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Top by Pitusa.co

7. The side of the Pink House (Savannah, GA)

The olde pink house in Savannah, GeorgiaThis photo was born as my family waited for our food to come at the Pink House for dinner. First of all, big shoutout to my boyfriend, Cristóbal, who is typically the photographer when I appear in my photos. He was kind enough to get up from dinner before the sunset and take pictures for me. We did quite a few shots of me in the same place and Cristóbal stood across the street from the side of the restaurant to take them. Here’s what the photo looked like before I edited it for Instagram along with an outtake:

The olde pink house in Savannah, Georgia6. Sunset in White Sands (Alamogordo, NM)

This is probably my favorite photo of 2016 because of how much I enjoyed White Sands. Nonetheless, what the photo doesn’t show is how crazy the wind was and how covered in sand my friend Katharine and I were after exploring the dunes. In fact, we were traveling in Katharine’s tiny Honda Fit that kept getting pushed back and forth from the wind. Tips for saving yourself some trouble at White sands: wear sunglasses to keep the sand out of your eyes. While the photo that I posted on Instagram looked great and super colorful, here is the original photo along with a silly outtake:

All of this goes to show just how much a little bit of editing via Snapseed makes a difference!

5. Windy White Sands (Alamogordo, NM)

Like I mentioned in #6, it’s REALLY windy at White Sands National Monument, making pictures a bit of a struggle. My hat actually kept blowing off my head and I had chased it a few times, so I decided to hold it in my hand for the picture. You’ll notice that even in the pictures where my hat is on my head, my hand is holding it in place! Even in #5, I have my hand holding back part of my hair just so it would stop blowing over my eyes and into my mouth. So, this pose that I’m doing is not as glamorous as the picture might make it seem! Here’s an outtake: 

4. Arabia Mountain Barn (Lilburn, GA)

Wearing: Ember & Earth

I was kind of surprised that this photo did as well as it did on Instagram because it was taken only a few minutes away from my hometown! I had gone to hike around Arabia Mountain with a good friend (Ali) and I brought my camera as I had been told it was a great destination in Georgia for photography! Funnily enough, the photo I really liked was me in front of this barn, not even actually anywhere on Arabia Mountain. To capture this photo, I told Ali to take a bunch of photos of me walking towards the barn to see if we could get any of me in action. Here is the best funny shot: 

3. The Olde Pink House (Savannah, GA)

The olde pink house in Savannah, GeorgiaSadly, I don’t have any great bloopers for this shot! Cristóbal (my boyfriend) took this of me sitting in front of the Olde Pink House restaurant in Savannah. If you’re heading to Savannah, this spot is great for photos! I will say, you’ll probably want to go at a time of day where the restaurant isn’t super busy in order to get a shot like this.

2. Wormsloe Historic Site (Savannah, GA)

This shot was taken at the most beautiful place I visited in 2016: Wormsloe Plantation in Savannah, Georgia. I had been worried the whole trip that I wouldn’t get a good photo at Wormsloe because it had been raining for most of our time in the city. Nonetheless, it stopped raining long enough for us to visit and take some great photos (hence the puddles along the sides of the picture). There were plenty of outtakes before I got exactly the shot I wanted. Moreover, I need to apologize to Cristóbal for getting frustrated when he didn’t take the shot how I had pictured it (oh, the struggles of an Instagram husband). So, shoutout to all the other Instagram husbands out there who make our photo dreams come to life. 

Now, it’s time for some of my not-so-glamorous outtakes:

1. Machu Picchu, Peru

This photo was taken during my trip to Machu Picchu in May 2016 with Santiago Exchange Network. While it’s a great shot of this classic bucket list destination, there’s a lot you can’t tell just by looking at the Instagram. For example, some of my first photos of the day included me with huge sweat stains from doing the hike to get to the top…

And the best outtake of all…

Click here to see your own 2016 best nine.

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  • Reply
    January 26, 2017 at 3:40 am

    I love this post. Your photos are awesome!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2017 at 3:55 am

    You have picked up the best spots to take photos in. I ca’t get over those polka dot walls! I would love to see that historic site in Savannah! So beautiful yet so creepy too!

  • Reply
    Raymond Carroll
    January 28, 2017 at 5:18 am

    Lovely destintions. That picture of ‘sunset in White Sands’ looks amazing, Cristóbal is quite the photographer. Machu Picchu is on my bucket list – lucky you! Your pictures are great, and some good tips in there. Great post. Thanks for sharing, Leah!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    January 28, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I really enjoyed reading this – very cute! I think your photos are edited just right to showcase a place in its best light. I don’t like it when photos are edited so much they look like paintings or even sometimes a little cartoon-ish with overly bright colors. You do great on poses, too! This is something I avoid as I’m not very photogenic…lol!

  • Reply
    Caroline @ The Travelling Sloth
    January 28, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Oh gosh, this reminds me of … me. I tend to take one too many photos for the ‘gram hoping to get that perfect one (my camera roll is FULL of outtakes). It is quite frustrating when you have a photo you envision but the person taking it doesn’t have the same idea – main reason why I’m not in a lot of my photos! I travel alone so I feel a bit awkward asking strangers to take my photo.
    Really funny post, though! Always interesting hearing the story behind the photo.

  • Reply
    Ling Ge
    January 28, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    I can totally related to Cristobal being a (soon-to-be) Instagram hubby…Still, you eventually got the shots you wanted and they turned out great! It’s a great article that highlights the realities of Instagram photos. Sometimes we get enamored how perfect some of these shots are, but they take a lot of time and effort in some instances! Nice to see a post to show the realities of those posts.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    This is brilliant! I totally can relate to this post. There are so many photo outtakes before you find the ‘Instagram’ worthy shots. I must say – I LOVE your top 9. The one on the polka dot background is the best! And it totally matches your top with the pom poms. Cheers to Cristobal for some great photography!

  • Reply
    kathy (from walkaboutwanderer.com)
    January 28, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    I love this post. It makes me realise that the expectations I put on my photos are so high. I am always thinking why can everyone else take wonderful photos and I can’t seem to get it right. Perhaps rather than deleting them, I need to keep them so I can create a witty post like this.
    Your photos are so much more amazing then mine. You can really tell you have the eye for this.
    Thank you for sharing your not so great photos with the world.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 9:05 am

    I love these pics! Your polka dot pics look awesome and I love the outtake shots! Whenever I attempt to do a stylish ‘look in the distance’ shot or ‘casual walk’ shot – I just never quite pull it off!

  • Reply
    Ticking the Bucketlist
    January 29, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Wow! U went to Machu Pichu… it’s on my bucketlist! It’s my fav pic on this post… also loved the Savannah pic… nature at her best. What are your plans for 2017?

  • Reply
    Sara Essop
    January 29, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for the honest post and for showing us the actual reality. I love the locations, especially Wormsloe Plantation, the white sands and Macchu Picchu. Macchu Piccu is high on my bucket list.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Its always interesting to hear the story behind a photo, that’s what is a bit missing in Instagram in my opinion.
    I personally like your dot photos the most – so positive and full of colours 🙂
    But most interesting actually Savannah, since I visit this place soon as part of a roadtrip and it i looks more or less exactly how I imagine this place! Great best 9 you have! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    I’m so glad you included some of the out takes. You are so right … Social media is not always as it seems. My favourite pic is the sunset at White Sands. You captured it perfectly!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    I love bestnine as it shows an average slice of someones feed! Although you reveal the truth behind them, it still comes across to me as bubble and colourful. even without the editing and everything! Very fun!

  • Reply
    Ticker Eats The World
    January 30, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Lovely collection of photos and definitely worth being in your top 9 on IG. I personally loved the Barn photo as I always find the rustic and vintage fascinating and quite contrasting. Thanks for sharing the details about the photos too as descriptions certainly add to the charm. And the “bloopers” – so to speak – is a nice little touch to showcase that a lot of hard work goes into all the posts and photography.

  • Reply
    Cassidy's Adventures
    February 2, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    You have such great photos! And you’re a natural in front of the camera. Thanks for sharing! I think I’ll follow you on instagram now 😉

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