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    We Tried To Copy Kim Kardashian's New Instagram Aesthetic And It Was Hard AF

    Turns out the Kardashians really DO have talent.

    When Kim Kardashian returned to social media after a hiatus following her Paris robbery, her posts on Instagram looked noticeably different.

    Gone were the opulent shots flaunting her wealth and jet-set lifestyle, replaced by images of her family (with husband Kanye West and children North and Saint), shots of everyday life (eating, lounging around the house), and simpler vibes (think outfit of the day, but staged at home instead of paparazzi shots).

    Kim has gradually eased back into posting shots that resemble her feed prior to the robbery (vacation shots, shots of her at work) but the sense of intimacy is still there. Additionally, the photos have a vintage quality to them (either because of the way Kim filters her photos, or because she's using actual film like a Polaroid).

    You can check out a Jezebel piece on the meaning of her new Instagram aesthetic here.

    We wanted to see what it would be like to replicate Kim's new and frankly ICONIC Instagram presence on our own feeds. Would it be difficult? Would we learn anything from the experience? Would Kris Jenner adopt us?


    Here's how we did it:

    — First of all, we weren't looking to copy Kim's poses or pictures. Rather, we wanted to replicate both the aesthetic and vibe of her post-Paris pictures on our own feed for 6–9 pictures.

    — That meant staging similar shots (think intimate, vintage-esque behind-the-scenes photos where we also considered the "message" or "story" we were telling).

    — We also used the apps VSCO (to adjust everything from the exposure to the contrast) and Snapseed (this added the vintage glow) to filter our photos so they would look like the ones that are on Kim's feed.

    — Finally, we used the app UNUM to line our pictures up with Kim's before posting to ensure they looked like they matched the aesthetic of her feed.

    Here's how we did:

    View this video on YouTube

    Boldly / Via

    Kuwilileni's thoughts prior to the experience:

    Kane's thoughts prior to the experience:

    Rachel's thoughts prior to the experience:

    Ella's thoughts prior to the experience:

    Sam's thoughts prior to the experience:

    Kuwilileni's posting experience:

    Instagram: @kuwilileni

    Honestly, it was really weird. I felt like it made me take the pulse of our culture for a second and really analyze why Kim Kardashian is the figure she is and how she's molded a reality show franchise into the creation of an icon. It was difficult in the sense that it reminded me of learning how to draw or paint for the first time. It's all about replicating stylistic traits and characteristics, instead of just doing whatever you want. I found that giving up my freedom as an artist was irksome, but at times enlightening. It made me think more about things that I could be adding or taking away from a photo to give it a certain feeling or sense. People really liked the pictures, and thought they had a mysterious quality.

    Kane's posting experience:

    Instagram: @kanediep

    My strategy was to master the iPhone photo editing apps VSCO Cam, Snapseed, and UNUM to get the right look. For content, I aimed to capture the mystery and intimacy portrayed through Kim's photos. In her photos, the viewer feels dropped into a weekend afternoon with her family. It's weird, but I get a feeling of wanting to hug the subjects in her photos. The biggest challenge for me was running out of "everyday poses" that still looked photographable. This challenge was fun because I've never posted photos like these before. I feel like I did pretty well. It did go against my instincts to blur and add grain to the photos since my generation has been conditioned to take the highest-definition photos possible. To my surprise, commenters not only noticed this new aesthetic but also really wanted to know what filters I used! I also received positive comments from people who've never commented on my photos before.

    Rachel's posting experience:

    Instagram: @citygorl

    Kim's Instagram look is often described as "vintage" and "personal," so I thought I'd convey those themes in my own style. The first photo I posted was at a café: I do most of my writing there and find that to be a personal activity. But then I was told Kim wouldn't post that! Because the photos we were shown of her feed all had people looking away from the camera, I then posted a photo where I was looking off to the side. I was told I'd done it right this time, so that's what I stuck with. The most difficult part was asking my friends to take pictures of me that are posed but are supposed to look candid. A big group walked by during one of them.

    Ella's posting experience:


    It was much harder than I thought. I'm not a model or actor so I never think about how I'm posing my body. It felt weird and sort of narcissistic to do it. But I ended up having fun with it. It was cool to have a reason to post photos, and my strategy was basically try not to quit, keep with it, and challenge myself out of my comfort zone. I started to feel slightly annoyed that I had to edit the photos so much — I'm used to just posting right away. It felt weird to save photos and actually put thought into what they would look like as a group. By the end it started to feel like a burden. Social media isn't a part of my job, it's a fun perk. I'm glad that it's separate from my life and I can do it whenever I feel like. It must be hard for public figures to have it so intertwined, like, I have to post everyday, it's a part of my business, it's also how I express myself. Posting on a schedule made it less fun for me.

    Sam's posting experience:

    Instagram: @samstryker

    Since I don't have two kids like Kim, I tried to replicate her vibe of intimacy and confidence in my posts for the week. I think it kind of worked, because by the end of the experience, I was getting called out in the comments for filtering my photos like the Kardashians! That being said, getting it right took a LOT of work. I had to bring outfits to work, ask coworkers to take pictures of me, and then take about 20–30 pictures to get ONE picture. And that's BEFORE using three — THREE!!! — apps to get the aesthetic right. Being a Kardashian seems exhausting! By the end of the week I was glad it was over. I was tired of taking pictures every day, I was tired of using all the filters, and I was tired of trying to be like Kim.

    Final thoughts:

    Kuwilileni: I learned that the Kim K of five years ago and the Kim K of today are very different people. She’s been molded by time and circumstance into something deeper than what I perceived her as before. I think her Instagram has a high level of thoughtfulness, with each picture crafted to perfectly articulate herself. I've always been a lover of analog photography, and these series of photographs serve as a reminder of why I believe the quality of grain and light can have an effect on mood.

    Kane: Overall, I learned that it's super fun to show different sides of your life and that I should experiment more with camera angles, filters, and poses. I learned how creative I can get with Instagram rather than just taking a traditionally "good" photo. I have even more appreciation of Kim's grasp of storytelling and marketing, and her true mastery over her image. Going forward, I definitely want to explore new and creative ways I can tell my own story through Instagram, and now I have more tools to do so. I will also now start to think about feelings a photo conveys rather than only looking at them technically.

    Rachel: It's a skill how Kim controls her narrative partly through her social media. People responded best to my photo where I'm eating Hot Cheetos and browsing the internet because it's relatable. I think that's why she did the family photo series: Celebrities want to be relatable as much as they want to be aspirational. I realized that all of us organize our social media to convey specific things about ourselves.

    Ella: Overall, I think she has a really cool aesthetic. I wish that I always had someone to take, style, and help me edit my photos. It definitely takes a lot more work than it seems. I think that what I learned is that I'm pretty low maintenance when comes to social media. Adding extra steps/apps didn't seem worth it. At first I was nervous about posting photos that were a little more intimate or personal than i'm used to but in the end it was fun to open up a little in that way. What I'll take going forward is maybe being more mindful of keeping a photographic aesthetic — not necessarily Kim's, but maybe one that becomes my own.

    Sam: I have a newfound respect for the amount of effort Kim K (and other social media stars) put into presenting their lives on social media. Prior to the experience, my idea of "Instagram" was taking a cute picture, maybe slapping a filter on it, and posting it. But trying to post like Kim shed some light on how Instagram can be used to tell a story, and the amount of time and consideration that goes into doing so. Whoever says the Kardashians don't have talent is flat-out WRONG.

    Kardashian for life, baby!

    T Mobile

    And if you'd like to filter your photos like Kim, here are the instructions for doing so:

    VSCO Cam App


    Temp -2

    Tint 3

    Fade 2.5

    Highlight Tint Blue 2

    Shadow Tint Green 3

    Exposure .5

    Contrast 1

    Saturation 1

    Grain 4

    Snapseed App
    Glamour Glow Preset 2

    Glow 30

    Grain 20

    UNUM App
    Compare & preview your grid