ORLANDO, Fla. – Face it, we live in a society obsessed with posting photos for the likes.
Businesses and landscapes even have dedicated Instagram backdrops begging for people to pose, post and tag. You can’t resist snapping a picture in front of a great mural or a cool statue. It’s for the memories -- and, most times, for the "gram."
Central Florida is filled with photo-worthy gems. Here’s a guide of where and how to snap your next Instagram post.
1. Orlando Postcard Mural
Everyone will know where you went after posting this pic. The postcard mural at Uncle Tony’s Donuts in downtown Orlando will tell people exactly where you were. Each letter is painted with what makes up the City Beautiful -- with a bit of Disney and Orlando’s hometown teams. One picture, and you can keep this postcard forever.
Small subject, big wall. That’s how you’ll want to handle this piece. Have your subject pose on one side of the mural, not the middle. If you’re going to slap a filter on this one, make sure it makes the mural colors more vibrant, a plus if you’re taking the photo on a not-so-sunny day.
2. Silver Springs
Silver Springs is just one of the many parks you can explore to soak in Central Florida’s natural beauty. Mind you, it’s not easy looking photogenic on a kayak or canoe but if you’re determined to snap a scenic photo it is possible. The blue, clear waters or Florida’s unique plants make a great photo on their own. You might be able to capture Florida’s wildlife, like deer, turtles or river otters.
Wildlife photos make for a beautiful setting, but not for selfies. You’re going to want to hand over the phone for this one to really get a stunning nature shot-- and Central Florida has plenty of sites to get a picture like this. Make sure you leave space for the nature -- so that means the overhanging trees and glistening water needs to shine, you’re just part of the photo.
3. Lake Eola
This is a place to roam around for photo ops. You have the bandshell, statue, lake, eateries and the Oriental garden to pick from, not to mention all the natural greenery. It’s a place vibrant with colors and different backdrops; don’t just settle for one.
If you’re serious about your Instagram game, invest in a tri-pod for your phone or have a handy makeshift one. Don’t be afraid to set your phone down a few feet away or to play around with your timer mode to get a hands-free pic. These multiple backdrops are great when you’re on an Instagram dry spell.
4. Rainbow walkway, Townhouse Restaurant in Oviedo
Sitting right outside “An Oviedo Tradition,” those making their way to The Townhouse Restaurant can snap a picture outside on their mini rainbow road before grabbing some breakfast. This roadway is a little hidden gem in the suburbs and is free to see. The colorful walkway gets a bit of foot traffic on a busy Townhouse day, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Just be wary of the timing -- or get a bite to eat as you wait for the crowds to clear.
Get the stretch of road. Safety first when trying to take a photo in this parking lot. If traffic allows, see if you can pop-a-squat a few feet away, as someone else snaps a pic real low across the walkway. This will give you a lot of color in your pic and help eliminate some of those pesky parking spot lines. You can also heir on the safe side and play with your shadows. You’ll want to make a shape with your hands and stand in front of the sun, as you snap a shadow-selfie with your phone.
5. Cocoa Beach
Central Florida boasts some of the best beaches in the country. You could always get a great sand or water picture, but the even landscape gives you some creative freedom. If you're looking to update your social media iconic Florida views, the beach would be the perfect spot to bask in the sunshine and freshen up your feed.
Lighting is tricky, but if you go during sunrise or sunset, you’re sure to capture a cool photo. Make sure to have someone take the picture, and that they’re level with you to get this effect. The key is to hold a pose and keep your fingers together, so it doesn’t look like the sun is shining through your fingers -- don’t break the illusion! You may have the brighten the photo a bit afterward.
6. Krungthep Tea Time
If it’s tea time, it’s Krungthep time. You can eat Thai-inspired sandwiches and enjoy some of their beverages. Imagine getting Thai tea or coffee at Starbucks prices. It’s a snug, hip place tucked away in Winter Park -- and it has that perfect Instagram aesthetic. Whether you’re trying to photograph your food or take a picture with your tea you have marquee letters to work with or a comfy corner on the couch to let everyone know where you got a beer mug full of iced Thai tea.
This is an example of a business having an “Instagram-able wall.” The even background and natural lighting help your camera focus. Make sure to position yourself comfortably. This will be a picture of you sitting down. Just pose and snap. IPhone’s portrait mode serves you well here.
7. Joysticks Arcade Lounge
Joysticks Arcade Lounge and Retro Bar is a place filled with Instagram gold. The retro lighting gives new dimension to your photos, and there are plenty of spots to snap a selfie or a new profile picture. There’s a Haunted Mansion corner that paints a spooky background or a Barbie-inspired seat. "Star Wars" fans can pose in the Light Saber Lounge, and "Game of Thrones" fans can also pose with the throne and create their own iconic photo. You can go for a good time, too, and snap a few pics for the ‘gram.
If you’re trying to capture that neon glow, you’re going to want to ditch the flash and manually reduce your camera’s exposure. This will make your picture look smoother and less grainy. To reduce exposure on most smartphones, tap your screen to focus, then drag your finger down. Do this to adjust your shot to the low light, and it’ll make the highlights pop. This will help you master a great photo for your Instagram in Joystick’s dim lighting.
8. The Wheel at ICON Park
It's Orlando's iconic Ferris wheel, found right in the tourist district. Tucked away by International Drive is The Wheel. Few people post pictures from the inside, but they definitely try to get the larger-than-life wheel as their Central Florida backdrop. At night, the multicolor lights give it a cool Orlando theme park look.
This Ferris wheel is huge, and to really capture its height you’re going to want to hit them angles. The easiest thing to do is try snapping the photo from the floor -- or close to the floor. Obviously adjust to your height and liking. The lower you go, the taller both you and The Wheel will seem. If you’re really trying to snap this photo like a pro, and your smartphone has a panoramic option -- take a photo in a portrait orientation and start your panoramic photo from about knee-height and slowly move up. Your subject will look taller, and you’ll have a cool angle of Orlando’s iconic ferris wheel.
9. Hunger Street Tacos
A small taco shop has three beautiful murals just calling to be photographed. “La Calla del Hambre” mural translates to Hunger Street, and it greets customers in the lobby and reinforces this restaurant’s theme. The outside is decorated with murals and the bathrooms have photogenic wallpaper. The location is filled with vibrant colors and decor that work well as backdrops and props. It’s a great place for foodies to enjoy authentic tacos and try new ingredients with the Mexican delicacy. The walls, the decor, the food and even the bathrooms are good enough for the ‘gram.
Colors are the focus. To get a more vibrant look, edit your photos by increasing the contrast. Get the whole mural and try to stand a bit in front of it to make sure you’re the subject. By leaning on it you make yourself seem smaller, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
10. The Uncorked Librarian
Anyone can have wings. Just visit the Uncorked Librarian. In DeLand, it's the place where books, booze and travel come together to make a cool meet-up spot for book nerds or wine enthusiasts.
Its iconic wall with white angel wings is a permanent photo op waiting to go on your Instagram. You can step outside and rock some wings, or go inside for a winery aesthetic. Point is, there are options.
One size fits all for these wings -- if you position your camera correctly. Whether you’re trying to photograph you -- or your dog -- try to make sure the subject is centered between the wings. Don’t lean against the wall; take a step or two in front of it to make the wings look more authentic. By standing in front of the artwork, you’ll be able to position yourself better. This technique works especially well with smaller people who may not fit the wings.
11. Universal's globe
It's a Universal Studios must-take photo. Before entering the park, the rotating globe welcomes guests. The City Walk backdrop gives the landscape some nightlife texture. The globe itself has its own personal lighting, so it's always photo-ready. You're going to want to take the picture before going into the park, though -- that post park feeling will likely translate into your photo.
Patience and timing is everything. You’re going to want to get the globe at the right moment, which means waiting about two minutes for it to turn. The key is to snap the pic as the V is approaching to get the full “Universal Studios.” Instead of standing in the middle, take the photo with the landscape orientation and have your subject stand to the left in the photo. For extra fun, strike a bold pose or try a jump shot.
12. Disney Purple Wall
At the entrance of Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland, there’s a wall perfect for selfies. The frequently pictured #DisneyWall provides a geometric backdrop with different shades of purple. Apparently, it reflects the famed color Ultra Violet. Its purple pigment goes well with almost any outfit and is subtle enough to help your Mickey ears pop. Make sure to use the #purplewall hashtag when you post your cute pic.
A photo prop would work well with this one. Think Mickey ears, Mickey-shaped ice cream or your best friend. For the cute candid look, try taking “Live” photos on your iPhone or taking a burst of photos smiling and looking in different directions. Don’t go for big movements. SSlow and subtle could help you get a natural “Day at Disney” Instagram post.