There are some words that just have a nice ring to them. ‘Chocolate’, ‘foxy’, ‘lascivious’—all great terms that make my heart go pitter patter. However, while there are a veritable ton of words that send my body into excitable nerd mode, my favorite of all time has to be the word hyperbole.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, it’s defined as “an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally” (and made famous by that princess of my heart, the wonderfully talented Allie Brosh of the blog Hyperbole and a Half).
Why are we talking about hyperbolic things, you may wonder? Because hyperbole is the name of the game, of course. It’s the thing that makes Instagram feeds look so strangely surreal. We all know the most famous Instagram shots are oh-so-carefully cultivated, and while there have been people that have tried to “expose” the real nature behind Instagram photos, even the exposes themselves are yet just another ploy (ahem, Essena O’Neill. No one’s buying it).
So today, inspired by all things hyperbolic and the pursuit of the truth, I decided to try and recreate the most Instagrammed photo of 2015, aka that one photo of Kendall Jenner:
I began by enlisting my co-worker Whitney’s help to style my hair, who is: 1) generally all around an awesome person and 2) crafty as hell.
As for the setting, I was hunkered down in the BeFunky office, which isn’t exactly a well-lit photoshoot. Craving light like a moth drawn to a flame, I decided the best thing to do was lie down on our conference table instead. Fiat lux, baby!
As I lay there on the table I began to think more about the nature of the photo and why exactly it was so popular. The ridiculousness of it wasn’t lost on me. Here was a “celebrity” of sorts, lying down on the floor while a team of stylists worked on her hair, just waiting to be photographed like Ophelia floating down the river.
I like to think Hamlet would have disapproved.
After a certain point I began to lose all the remaining dregs of my shame, which I think definitely worked in my favor.
After many, many giggles I was finally ready for my glamour shot. The thing that pained me—the thing I could just not understand—was how Kendall had managed to make her neck look so damn long. Trying to point mine down was, alas, tragically disrupted by the shadow of the overhead light:
Damn long necked celebrities.
Now that I finally had my shot ready it was time to do some photo editing. I began by uploading the shot into the Photo Editor and used rotate to turn it sideways:
Since Kendall’s photo only shows her from the chest up, I decided to crop my photo using the Golden Ratio preset:
I then made a few minor adjustments to the lighting using the Levels tool, turning the highlights and shadows up slightly.
That weird bright bit under my chin and the shadows on the table were definitely going to be a problem. I decided to try and edit them away with the Clone tool—a feat which I must admit took me ages.
The next step was to try and get that my-face-doesn’t-even-look-real-it’s-so-flawless effect all Instagram stars seem to wear so proudly. I decided the best way to accomplish this would be to give my face a miniature makeover courtesy of our Touch Up tools.
First off: some nice lipstick. I used the Color picker to match my natural shade and painted over my lips to make them look fuller:
I also decided to fill in my eyebrows with the Eyebrow Pencil tool…
And added in some extra full lashes with the Mascara Tool to boot.
Finally, to kick the photo into overdrive I upped the saturation only on the red parts of my hair by heading over to Color under the Edit panel, increasing the saturation amount, then hitting the reverse button in the Paint tab to paint over the areas of my hair:
Last but not least, no great photo is complete without a filter, so I threw one from the “Vintage Colors” set in for giggles.
Let’s just do a quick recap of all that went into this, shall we?
- A stylist (Whitney here) for my hair
- A photographer willing to take a top down shot of me on my conference room table (thank you, Bjorn)
- Excessive amounts of hairspray
- Total lack of shame
- An amazing Photo Editor
- About 10,000 edits
Being an Instagram celebrity is exhausting. Time to go home and eat some cake.
You, too, can turn your photo into something larger than life. Go on, I dare you. Insta it up, baby. Create something worth showing off today.