We had a raging debate at Esquire HQ last night: Should you, a man, spend too much time perfecting your Instagram feed? Should you take a selfie? Should you even have Instagram?
“Nope! The entire endeavor feels very me-me-me. Look at me and my poke bowl! Gross,” said a curmudgeon.
“Yes, please! We need Instagram for checking up on 'friends!'” replied someone who is single.
“Maybe! It really depends on how you do it,” squeaked a pacifist.
Well, how should you do it? …Errr. We're not sure what the new rules are. And when we found no consensus after 10 minutes, we rubbed our bellies like men, did a groufie, and went home (#longweekendbye).
Okay. That never happened.
Anyway, Instagram is a fact of life today, so the only answer to this quandary is this: A man should know how to take a good photo.
Now, we look to the stars, our spirit guides in the world of Instagram imagery. After Insta-stalking many local celebrities (sorry... to our eyes!), we found three men, who met our exacting standard of what is a good image: In the age of social media, it must look cool.
THIS ACTOR CALLED JAMES REID
To the uninformed, James Reid is a young and famous actor and singer, who, unlike other young and famous actors and singers, has a well-executed and impressive feed. His approach: inception.
When you take a photo of a photo, does a tree falling in the woods make a sound? Also, posing ideas: squint in the sun, include leafy shadows, do it in a tub. Shot in CamSur.
Another example. This one makes use of the very aesthetic (do you hate that word?) pink-and-blue combo, which is actually a good choice because he is at the beach. The big question is: Is this an app or an actual snap. James, tell us! Shot in Daytona Beach, Florida.
This is cheating because it's a still from the music video of his song “Life,” but doesn't it fit perfectly in his feed? And isn't it a great idea for a street scene somewhere in Seoul, Tokyo, or Hong Kong (or Binondo)? Shot somewhere lit.
Actually, check this out if you're taking videos while traveling the world—and also have two directors with you, one of which is @nadine. Shot around the world.
THIS BASKETBALL STAR CALLED KOBE PARAS
Who knew that the sports phenom is also an Instagram genius? He 'grams in threes because, you know, it looks better on the the grid. This is more work but the payoff is good.
See what we mean? A run-of-the-mill street scene becomes the digital triptych of life. Shot on a hot lot.
Here, an architectural pattern, such as an array of light-colored columns, adds visual sizzle. Another tip: Mind the clothes. Kobe channels the iconic look of Bill Murray in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. We now want a red beanie. Shot somewhere with columns.
This is a good treatment for urbanscapes, especially if your destination is a concrete trap. Emote in the shadows and strip the photo of color. Shot somewhere with stairs.
And this is for when you're stuck in your Airbnb. Also, why are kids well-versed in the art of cool videos? Why? (We only know how to type.) Shot in the backyard.
THIS SOCIAL MEDIA BEAST CALLED DAVID GUISON
David, who, as a key online influencer, is very active on Instagram and YouTube, has mastered the art of finding the most perfect angle in strange spots. Also, his clothes.
Like this. Shot in Hong Kong.
A random outcropping is an opportunity to stare into the middle distance. Shot in Paris.
An imperfect setting is mood. Also, what is his camera? Shot in New Zealand.
Never mind that they can't see your face because this is next-level Instagram photography. Shot in Jaipur.