Creator Economy

The Genius of Instagram Photo Dumps 

By Editorial Staff

When it comes to the world of Instagram, influencers seem to have the formula down. In perfectly poised photos, they show off the highlights of their lives. However, audiences are less interested by their favorite influencers living picture-perfect lives 24/7. With the rise of photo dumps, what can influencers learn about sharing the more authentic aspects of their lives?

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What is an Instagram Photo Dump?

Instagram users are widely known for posting perfectly polished photos of themselves. Whether they’re out on the town or on a tropical vacation, there is not an unintentional flaw in sight. 

With every trend comes a counter-trend. These days, we see the rise of Instagram photo dumps. In order to “make Instagram casual again,” users take advantage of Instagram’s carousel feature, posting a mix of casual photos, funny images, and the occasional posed photo.

Often, these photo dumps are curated in order to tell a story. A snapshot of a beach sunset, a photo of a messy suitcase, and a video of the ocean will tell the story of a relaxing vacation. 


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A post shared by emma chamberlain (@emmachamberlain)

A giant stuffed bear next to a garbage can, a couple shots of city streets, and a zoomed in photo of her crying, Emma Chamberlain shares her weekend in Bath, England. 

These photo dumps allow influencers to connect with their audience on a casual level, sharing bits of their lives that wouldn’t otherwise have been broadcast. Emma Chamberlain leans into her relatability factor, showing that not all trips go as planned, and not all travel moments are picture-perfect. 

Even the President of the United States has joined in on the trend! In a much more formal manner, President Joe Biden showed himself taking a call from the Oval Office, meeting kids outside a school, holding press conferences, and more. 


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A post shared by President Joe Biden (@potus)

The backlash against Instagram became a recent movement. Read more about Make Instagram Instagram Again here.

The Genius of Celebrity Photo Dumps 

When the world was on lockdown in April of 2020, Netflix actress Madelyn Cline entertained her newfound audience with one of her now-iconic Instagram photo dumps. This slideshow featured behind the scenes footage of herself and her co-stars on their recently-released show, Outer Banks. Madelyn affectionately captioned the photo dump, “tomfoolery.” 


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A post shared by Maddie (@madelyncline)

Fans fell in love with the silly behind-the-scenes moments shared by their now-favorite Netflix actress. Soon after, the rest of the cast continued the trend, posting their own “tomfoolery.” Madelyn’s co-star Madison Bailey added more adorable behind-the-scenes content to her feed. 


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A post shared by Maddie Baby (@madisonbaileybabe)

Co-star Jonathan Daviss also hopped on the trend, sharing more content with his fanbase and hyping them up for season 3. 


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A post shared by JD (@jonathandavissofficial)

Other Netflix stars have since joined in, such as Stranger Things’s Noah Schnapp. To hype up season 4 of the show, Noah shared photos of himself on set sporting an iconic 80s bowl cut and hanging out with co-stars Millie Bobby Brown and Finn Wolfhard. In a later photo dump, he even shared a video of him getting soaked by water pistols as a prank from his co-stars. 


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A post shared by Noah Schnapp (@noahschnapp)

Photo dumps bring a new level of relatability and authenticity to an influencer’s audience. These actors may be racking up thousands for their hit television shows, but when the audience sees them goofing off with their castmates, these stars seem like normal young adults. Not only do fans latch onto binge-worthy shows like Outer Banks and Stranger Things, but with social media they also latch onto the stars of the show.

Photo dumping is a way to show off the real parts of life, such as the friendships and memories that come with making content. Fans can see the bonds created between the actors and crew members – the real people and personalities behind the production of these hit shows. 

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Often, being an influencer and a celebrity goes hand in hand. When an up-and-coming actor scores a leading role, such as in the case of Netflix’s Madelyn Cline, their audience numbers soar, leading them to have a platform. 

These days, however, you don’t need to be an actor or other celebrity to have a following.  Influencers come from all different backgrounds, specializing in different areas of content creation, which is something the photo dump trend encourages the influencer to share.

What Can Influencers Learn from Celebrities? 

The most important thing to note is that Madelyn and her cast mates share their authentic moments – they go beyond the normal photo dump trend of snapping a pic of a half-eaten sandwich, or posting a screenshot of their favorite Spotify playlist.

Casual Instagram users have long shared photo dumps of sorts with just their friends or mutuals. Fans latch onto the silly, unscripted side of creating content, and Madelyn realized this. She and her cast mates knew what their fans wanted to see, so they continued the tradition of their “tomfoolery” dumps. 

To take a leaf from these celebrities’ books, influencers should lean into their niche; whether it be working on television, traveling the world, or teaching crypto and personal finance. What makes that area of work interesting for the influencer themselves? What might fans not normally get to see? What might be an unexpected or unpredictable side of content creation? 

For example, lifestyle and fashion influencer, Ava Jules gives her audience a behind-the-scenes peak at the creation of her fashion brand. Whether it’s posing with the other models / best friends or showing what it looks like to edit for Instagram, Ava has her authentic photo dump game down! 


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A post shared by Ava Jules (@avajules_)

By looking into the photo dumping habits of popular Netflix stars and other influencers, both audiences and influencers alike can see the value of authenticity, silliness, and a willingness to share one’s own experience.


This article was written by Ava Fischer

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