Student Life

Curating the perfect photo dump

For painting, it was the self-portrait. For sculpture, the bust. For movies, the film noir. Every art form has an influential format that forever changes the medium, yet none can compare with the format that has taken the art of social media posting by storm—the photo dump. 

A collection of up to 10 seemingly unrelated photos combined in a single Instagram post, the photo dump appears deceptively simple to the untrained eye. Yet any true social media connoisseur knows that making Instagram casual again requires countless hours and painstaking attention to detail. Perfecting the art of the dump may sound intimidating, but fear not, dear reader! As a beloved content creator myself, I have taken time away from my intense academic pursuits (passing out slack-jawed on my desk after struggling through the first ten pages of a poetics paper) to guide you in the art of curating an exquisite photo dump. All it takes is three easy steps. 

Step 1: Cultivate your aesthetic 

Overplayed aesthetics abound on the internet—tomato girl, cottagecore, coastal grandmother—so if you hope to separate yourself from lesser influencers, your best bet is to develop your own niche subculture. Personally, I’ve committed my last three and half years at this institution of higher learning to refining McGill-core: Equal parts dark academia, rat girl summer, and good old-fashioned asbestos poisoning

Step 2: Select your photos 

Everyone knows that a good photo dump should represent your most authentic self, so meticulous photo op planning is key. How else can you expect to get your effortless spirit across?

First, snap a pic of your morning latte. There’s nothing like subtly signalling a caffeine dependency to endear you to your peers. But beware! This relatability can bring you dangerously close to giving off “ordinary student” vibes. To maintain your aura of mystique, nourishing your individuality complex is key. Swap your Couche-Tard filter coffee for a to-go cup from any number of cool Plateau coffee shops; not only will you seem sophisticated and worldly for stepping outside of the McGill bubble, you’ll prove that your palette is far superior to the Desautels plebeians scampering to and from the Bronfman building.

Next, throw in a tasteful selfie—you deserve a little vanity as a treat. For maximum effect, take the shot from an unexpected angle or mix up the aspect ratio. If you catch a passerby or a Redpath rat in the background, don’t sweat it! As a master photo dumper, I can assure you that a little photo editing goes a long way. Armed with just a jpeg of a pink ribbon and a dream, I turned my furry little photobombers into coquette companions—how chic! 

Finally, make sure that you’ve got a candid shot of yourself and your besties out on the town. How else will your loyal followers know that your thriving social life is cooler than theirs? While a sophisticated spot like Datcha or Darling would make the ideal backdrop for posing with cocktails, Gerts and some pitchers of sangria will do in a pinch. Just grab your digital camera, add a blur filter, and no one will know the difference.

Step 3: Write your caption 

A picture is worth a thousand words, and you just put ten photos in—don’t you think you have enough words? Exactly. So swap the long-winded caption for an artful selection of themed emojis. A string of pink bows? It’s giving coquette! A strawberry, sparkle, and sunshine? You’ve become the ultimate farmer’s daughter! Want to show others you’re going for that #cleangirl aesthetic? Hit ‘em with the soap emoji. Feel free to throw in an esoteric emoji or two to keep your loyal followers intrigued—protecting your not-like-other-girls status is a genderless pursuit. My personal recommendation? The ball of yarn, onion, and mousetrap icons—the girlies who get it, get it. 

Ta-da! In just three simple steps, you have curated a one-of-a-kind photo dump to rival any influencer. Happy posting!

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