Tech

The 35 things you definitely need to Instagram before summer ends

A tick list to ensure all your friends know how much more fun in the sun you’re having than them.

  • The 35 things you definitely need to Instagram before summer ends

    A charismatic dog

    Nothing makes a dog owner happier than when someone stops them in the park and asks to take a picture of their pet. But if you are going to do it, do it right.

    Animal snapper Gerrard Gethings says: “Don’t just tower over the dog, lie down so you’re on the same eye level and treat it like a classic portrait with plenty of the backdrop in there. Keep their attention with something the dog likes. I find that cheese is ideal – they’ll do anything for it. Once their eyes are locked, move it around so you can get the best angle while you take the picture with your other hand.”

    (Image: Gez Gethings)

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    Actual proof you visited the seaside

    (Image: EMMA WHITE TURLE)

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    Indiscernible but delicious food

    (Image: DAVID CORNISH)

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    Idyllic park boozin’

    (Image: JOE MACKERTICH)

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    Poolside decadence

    (Image: JAMIE KLINGLER)

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    Some kind of rustic market

    (Image: JAMIE KLINGLER)

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    The arty fruit shot

    (Image: JOANNA MORAN)

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    A hideously garish cocktail

    (Image: Sugar Dumplin Caribbean Carriage)

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    The greatest cookout you've ever thrown

    Yeah, we call them “cookouts” now. Jon Finch, co-author of Grillstock: The BBQ Book, on how to make your food instagram-worthy:

    Chicken wings
    “Hit the wings with a punchy rub and smoke low and slow at 110 degrees. Add wood chips to the coals every 20 minutes. After two hours, ramp up the heat and crisp the wings over the coals. Mix hot sauce with melted butter and toss the wings to coat.”

    Grilled prawn skewers
    “Mix raw prawns with a splash of oil, and lots of finely chopped parsley, garlic and breadcrumbs to coat them. Allow them to sit for a few hours in the fridge, then thread on to skewers. Grill hot and fast.”

    Mexican corn
    “Elevate boring barbecue corn by calling it ‘Mexican corn’ and offering your guests a bunch of toppings to make their own dish. Grill the corn for eight to 10 minutes before giving it a rub down with mayo. Serve with bowls of lime wedges, feta cheese and finely chopped chilli.”

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    …and the magnificent machine you cooked it on

    There is no greater grill than a Big Green Egg. Just look at this thing. It’s
    a serious bit of cooking kit and it sort of resembles military hardware. 

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    A selfie with a celebrity

    Comedian Seann Walsh isn’t in love with the idea of you approaching him for a photo. But if you are going to do it, do it like this…

    “I’m a comedian, always in the market for a bit of validation, so I love it when people ask for a picture with me. Having said that, it can be pretty galling when people ask for one, then ask who I am. Or even worse, they think I’m Josh Widdicombe. You wouldn’t believe how many people tell me how much they love The Last Leg. That would be my first piece of advice: know who you’re talking to.

    “Also, learn how to use your phone. There’s something about the situation that makes people forget how to operate a simple device. They take a video by accident, or it turns out it’s blurry. It’s embarrassing for you, it’s embarrassing for me, and holding a grin for too long can be painful – and it’s a bit creepy to be chased down the street for another one after I think we’re done.

    “Context is everything. I’ve had people stand next to me at urinals, wait for me to finish and then ask for a picture. Also, tell me I’m being photographed.

    I often get a notification from Twitter, and I see someone’s taken a picture of me asleep on the Tube. The Tube is my favourite place to sleep, and it’s taken from me one of my few pleasures in life.”

    (Image: Twitter/Harry Shooman)

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    Some exceptionally highbrow graffiti

    (Image: JOE ELLISON)

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    Hard-to-decipher contemporary art

    (Image: KEVIN FAY)

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    A classic film on an iconic building

    (Image: DANIELLE RICHARDSON)

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    Fomo-inducing outdoor rave-up

    (Image: LOUISE DONOVAN)

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    Your half-cut attempt at lawn sports

    (Image: JAMIE KLINGLER)

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    An appallingly middle-class festival

    (Image: LOUISE DONOVAN)

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    The world’s best-looking art gallery

    (Image: KITTY MCGEE)

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    A pleasing floor/shoe combination

    (Image: SAM DISS)

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    Some lovely brutalist architecture

    When it comes to taking Insta-winning shots of stark concrete buildings, photographer Nick Rochowski (@objectsofjourney) is one of the best. Here,
    he tells you how to take your own:

    “Always shoot early morning, up until 10am, and then from 6pm onwards. Your pictures will look a lot better because the sun is lower – there’ll be more contrast in the light and shadow. It sounds obvious, but take time to walk around and observe your surroundings. Spend a while looking at the building, rather than just taking loads of pictures.

    “I do this funny thing where I cup my hand to create a circle around my eye, and then look at things. It creates a narrow field of view, which is helpful. Try zooming in on your phone, because the shot on the camera is very wide. It gives a better composition and means you can focus on interesting visual combinations: the contrast between the line of a building and a surface, for example, or looking through something.

    “A lot of people don’t bother, but getting the exposure right also helps. If you need the picture to be brighter, put the exposure up – if you want a bit more contrast, drop it down. It’s also interesting to try different crops of the image before you post on Instagram. Just because you’ve taken a picture doesn’t mean it’s the final thing: you can always halve or quarter it.

    “The best filter? Well, if you’ve chosen the right time of day then you won’t need one. Shoot in the evening, as the sun just goes down, and you’ll get really nice colour – it creates your own filter.”

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    A bunch of highbrow books that you'll actually read

    Yeah, no one’s impressed by your unopened Ulysses. Here are four stone-cold clever books that are genuinely fun to flick through:

    Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges 
    No word of a lie; this collection of short stories will change your life. It’s not even a book, really. It’s a weird page-based mystical object that will tap into the darkest recesses of your imagination and instruct you on the true nature of the universe. Seriously powerful hoodoo.

    The Story Of Art by EH Gombrich 
    You always wished you could hold court at the dinner table when conversation turned to the latest Tate installation. Well, now you can put that right. Fill the gaps in your knowledge with the zippiest history of fine art ever written.

    The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius 
    If you’ve cottoned on to the Hardcore History podcasts, but want to take your interest in Rome up a notch, you’d do well to pick up this collection. It charts the life of Julius Caesar and the 11 emperors that followed him. And if that sounds like a lot, just skip to the bit about Nero. The absolute lunatic bastard.

    Junky by William S Burroughs 
    William S Burroughs was a genuine one-off: a talented American writer who chose to spend his time drifting from state to state, hanging out with criminals and lowlifes. Junky is his account of the years he spent feeding a heroin addiction as a penniless novelist.

    (Image: Kevin Fay)

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    A misspelt name on a coffee cup

    It’s still happening on a daily basis. And we still can’t get enough.

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    The whitest trainers you ever owned

    When it comes to white trainers, there’s a very thin line between really cool and “I work in a hospital”. But Adidas, with its white/white/white Stan Smiths has got it absolutely boxed. Sure, you’ll have to spray so much Crep Protect on them that you’ll be a walking fire hazard and, yeah, your commute is going to take on Hitchcockian levels of toe-tread tension, but it’ll be worth it. A shoe you can wear with literally anything. A shoe that radiates summer Good Time Vibes. By God, man – it’ll be worth it.

    Adidas White Stan Smiths £70 available at schuh.co.uk

    (Image: Kevin Fay)

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    Something you’ve grown yourself

    The RHS’s chief horticultural adviser, Guy Barter, on the veg you should plant right now:

    “Nothing’s more satisfying than growing your own veg. Bell peppers are one of
    the easiest things to grow – and one of the nicest to look at, too. When buying the plant, look out for one that’s big and not wilted. Check there are no curled leaves with nasty insects underneath, and make sure there are plenty of flowers coming through.

    “When you’re home, transfer it to a slightly bigger pot. That’ll give the roots enough space and the sunlight will heat the pot, warming them up. There’ll be enough fertiliser in the pot to keep the plant going for several weeks. After that, feed it with tomato fertiliser.

    “Water the plant every five days. In the heat of August, a flower will turn into an edible fruit in around three to four weeks. If you’re going away, give it a good soak with water beforehand and move the pot into a shady place – it can survive without water for a long time. Don’t move it indoors, though.

    “One small tip: peppers start green and then turn into their final colour. But that slows the development of new ones coming through. So if you want lots of peppers, pick them green. If you want them sweet, wait until they’re red or orange. Also, look out for insects and any holes in the leaves. Then, you should have a good supply through to November. Delicious.”

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    Your un-downloadable summer playlist

    Nothing says “I care more about music than you” than investing large sums of money in an audio format that really should be dead by now. Vinyl, we love you really:

    Kaytranada: 99.9% 
    This year’s Jamie xx – but just a few shades cooler. A blend of hip-hop, jazz and dance beats, sprinkled with a dash of 2016 stardust (featuring Vic Mensa, Anderson Paak and, yes, him again, Craig David).

    New Orleans Funk: The Original Sound Of Funk 1960-75 
    Infused with the soul of The Big Easy, this compilation whisks you away to the French Quarter’s street corners via some of the greatest musicians to have ever graced them.

    Metronomy: Summer 08 
    An LP that zigzags between LCD Soundsystem-style dance-punk, pop and funk, for some toe-tapping summer fun. Best enjoyed with a few IPAs and a barbecue on the go.

    Coxsone’s Music 2 –  The Sound Of Young  Jamaica: More Early  Cuts From The Vaults  Of Studio One 1959-63 
    Put away your dad’s Bob Marley record – this is the true sound of the Caribbean. Before reggae and before ska, there was Jamaican rhythm and blues, and the best cuts have been locked in this time capsule that belongs on your shelf. There’s one Wailers track to keep your old man happy, too. 

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    The one that didn’t get away

    (Image: Chris Sayer)

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    Vapour trails on a sunny day

    (Image: EMMA WHITE TURLE)

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    That shot taken out of a plane window

    (Image: KEVIN FAY)

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    A wonderfully bleak British beach

    (Image: KEVIN FAY)

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    Somewhere that looks like actual heaven

    (Image: ALEXANDER JORDAN)

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    London Fields, obviously

    (Image: Joe Mackertich)

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    A toadstool with a Mario caption

    (Image: Joanna Moran)

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    Obligatory infinity pool moment

    (Image: JAMIE KLINGLER)

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    These stunning mountains

    Actual adventurer Andy Torbet on the breathtaking Scottish vista that you need to see with your own eyes:

    “I’ve climbed the Rocky Mountains and the Alps, but I still think Glencoe
    is one of the most impressive sites in the world. The feeling you get as you drive up is odd. It’s like there are two massive rock waves about to break on either side of you. You feel tiny. But you can only really appreciate the scale of the landscape when the weather is clear.

    “You drive straight through Glencoe. Simply head north to Glasgow, hang a left and go north on the A82 – it’s rated as the best scenic drive in the country. The most impressive sight is as you drive up and enter this huge corridor. It’s like something you’d see in Canada. Driving through the whole valley takes about half an hour and you’re held within this huge mountain range on either side of you the entire time. There’s also waterfalls along the route and dozens of viewpoints on the road. It’s the perfect view to Instagram.”