You might have noticed a barely-new trend on Instagram as of late when scrolling through your feed. You'll come across a photo of a man basking in the sunlight, overlooking a balcony in a posed-but-casual way, sipping on a coffee with a journal beside him. Or you'll see a birds-eye shot of a woman in a bubble bath filled to the brim with foamy bubbles, laughing hysterically -- like an infant filled with unbridled joy -- as if God just told the funniest joke and then quickly snapped a photo of its reception. All of these photos have one thing in common: They're called "plandids" aka planned-candid shots, and they are the most wonderfully inauthentic attempts at authenticity that the internet is making right now.
Plandids are like a visual humblebrag. First, the photo (something like a woman with windswept hair, in a bikini, tiptoeing through a pile of money), followed by a self-deprecating caption like "a dollar for every one of my neurosis!" so she won't appear too shallow.
Here's one of my latest plandids, for reference:
So let's get a few things straight.
Plandid photos are not real.
I get it, the internet likes authenticity. People get rewarded for exposing themselves and their faults, and for being open about what their fears are. But in the carefully constructed world of social media, the authenticity we create shouldn't be mistaken for what's actually real.
I mean, just because you're not looking at the camera doesn't mean this is how you naturally sit on a couch:
Internet authenticity is as inauthentic as a prescription pill commercial. It shows you what the person wants you to see, but it doesn't show you everything, and don't get me wrong; that's a good thing.
Too much authenticity on Instagram can be a shock to the system. For instance, I don't want to see a candid photo of your placenta after you've given birth with the caption, "Yummy!"
...and if my "placenta shaming" offends you, well, trust me, there will be no shortage of placenta photos for you to Google based on my one singular opinion on the topic of afterbirth photos. Believe me, there are plenty out there. Some people love them.
Plandid photos perform incredibly well.
Regardless of their "planned candidness," I will say that based on my own experiments, plandid photos perform like crazy.
I recently took a trip to Mexico with my boyfriend after not seeing him for three weeks, and being that we were there alone, we took pics for the 'Gram with a series of well-executed timer shots. I have literally never received so many likes or comments on a photo in my life. If I could survive on an inflated ego alone, I could've lived off those things for a month.
Sadly, I do not make money off of my Instagram presence, but to be honest, this taught me a valuable lesson. It taught me that if I'm gonna build a personal brand, I could benefit from posting more plandids of my sideboob instead of pics of me performing standup comedy (my actual passion) because apparently, nobody gives a sh*t.
Major celebs are on the bandwagon too, with Beyoncé being my personal "plandid" queen. Here she is casually sipping wine in a casual bar in fully casual hair-and-makeup.
Nothing more casual than this, am I right? Except of course a casual afternoon in the garden in perfect afternoon light with your child in a flower crown. I'm sure everybody just woke up like this.
Now before anybody sets the Beyhive off on me, I am not being critical of Beyoncé. The woman is a genius and I love her just as much as you do. She's not the only one pulling off these plandid shots, either.
Even Reese Witherspoon took a supes-cash #YachtShot recently, toasting with her stylist in all her plandid glory.
I'm just saying that the internet has reached another level of hilarious hypocrisy, and as always, the internet always wins. I see your "candids" and I know what you're doing!
Oh, and obviously, now I'm gonna start doing it too. Because #PlandidsFTW. Here's a photo that I had no idea was being taken, even though a professional photographer was in front of me with his camera.