Instagram is a social media platform that is known for its highly filtered photos. But what if you wanted to post a cat photo on Instagram without using any filters at all? Would it still look good? Do you have to rely on filters to make an impact? I don’t think so, and here’s why. [Revised 2023]
In a challenge I saw recently in the book 52 Assignments, you were asked to photograph buildings in natural light with no filters, but as I have not been anywhere near interesting buildings recently so I have had to compromise and photograph what I could, at the right time of day. Check out how I did with my cats and unfiltered Instagram!
The challenge was interesting as you were asked not to use any filters at all. Try it.at in a pretend smrtphone frame looking out.
- You must select ‘Normal’ and avoid the staged or artificial look filters can give your photographs. Your only aid should be the golden hour of light around sunset/sunrise.
You can see the effective use of golden hour in the image of Sienna above.
#NoFilter as a Statement
The hashtag #nofilter on Instagram is a statement of intent rebelling against the extravagant use of filters by some Instagrammers. Their search for a unique look means they overuse filters in a bid to look unique. This has provoked a backlash from frustrated users who use their own hashtag vocabulary with such statements as #nofilterneeded and #nofilter to show they have not felt they need a filter to make an impact.
No Filters? Why Not?
For the challenge I mention at the start of this post, your photograph has to be interesting enough to stand on its own with no editing so it needs to make a statement with light alone. The photograph above is a story photo. What is going on? Are the two cats, Toulouse (tabby) and Thomas playing? Is something more serious happening? The low light casts dramatic long shadows and adds texture across the grass throwing their figures into shadow.
Toulouse was captured early in the evening in this image. I am just about holding on to the light and it is still an effective shot
Does it work for non pet photos as well?
Yes! I have included one non-cat #nofilter shot as I know my readers love seeing about anything fun and unusual from New Zealand. After reporting on the Pohutakawa tree and its drifts of red snow that happen each summer, I thought you might like to see a close-up of the flower. The drifts of red I mention in my post come from the slim orange or red flowers.
Not adding a filter means you, the cat photographer, have to rely on light and your own judgement to take a picture. It’s all about using your imagination and learning to see pictures in special light. Now are you ready to try?
Marjorie is a motorbike riding blogger and award winning cat photographer who believes that everyone can create impressive cat photographs and fun movies with the camera they carry.
She is a Professional Member of the Cat Writers Association, Kuykendall Image Award winner and published photographer at the Guardian newspaper.