Fall Foliage

As you scroll through Instagram, you notice how somehow, all of your friends have turned into professional photographers, able to capture some of nature’s most breathtaking moments.

*Approaches a man leaning on a tree.* Excuse me, Sir. Would you mind taking a step to your right? Eh, now to your left. Will you pretend to read this book for a hot second? Now take a sip of your coffee and smile, but act casual. Perfect. *Snaps a pic.*

Fall is here, people, and we all know what that means! No, I’m not talking about a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte—but that, too. I’m taking about Falliage! “Falliage? What’s that?” you may ask. It’s a blend of two words, fall and foliage, and Harvard’s campus is covered with it.

Every fall, Instagram feeds fill up with crisp images of vibrant colored leaves on trees, changing as the seasons turn. Shades of red and yellow cover the ground and fill the sky, as people snap away at the beauty that disappears far too soon. As you scroll through Instagram, you notice how somehow, all of your friends have turned into professional photographers, able to capture some of nature’s most breathtaking moments.

College students, in particular, are willing to go to the extremes to get that perfect Instagram-worthy fall photo. Even I find myself sometimes crouching in the mud, standing on chairs in the Yard or asking strangers to act normal to achieve my desired aesthetic. A good Instagram is worth the muddy boots, the twisted ankle, and the weird looks from tourists because a good Instagram gets a lot of likes—which obviously means you have a lot of friends.

This year, one spot in particular has caught the eyes of many passersby: Two beautiful red trees stand tall in the center of the Ivy Yard between Hollis and Thayer Halls. These trees are campus celebrities, often stopping students on the way to class dead in their tracks. Like paparazzi, students snap pictures and post them on social media for their friends and family at home to see. The phenomenon is pervasive, spreading all the way to the top: the official Harvard Instagram account that posted images of these two trees, twice! Twice! C’mon mysterious controller of @harvard, every good Instagrammer knows not to double-Insta.

Now, we can only dream of having as strong of a fan base as the Harvard University Instagram account, which gets more than 7,200 likes on a photograph of a couple trees in the yard. So, I’ve decided to do you all a favor and lay down the steps on how to take the perfect fall Instagram photo:

Fall Foliage Step 1
Step 1: Pick your tree. Think of it like picking your life partner, but only more permanent because like your mother always told you, once you post it to the Internet, it's out there for the world to see forever. So make it a good one. It can't be too fat, or too skinny, and not so tall that it doesn't fit in your frame. Oh, and unlike picking your partner, you don't want to see it naked.

Fall Foliage Step 2
Step 2: Focus on the angle. You can’t tell your tree to strike a pose, to work the camera or, as supermodel Tyra Banks would say, to smize. You have to do all of the work yourself. Don’t be embarrassed if you have to squat below the tree to get that upward-facing angle you desire. The contrast between the leaves and the sky is worth it. It’s what your followers want to see.

Fall Foliage Step 3
Step 3: Lighting is everything. Before sprawling out across your bed for your daily afternoon nap, set your alarm for approximately 3 p.m. When the alarm goes off, don’t hit snooze. Head outside and wait for the moment when the sun peeps out from the clouds just enough to reflect off of the color of the leaves. Snap away!

Fall Foliage Step 4
Step 4: After you have completed these crucial steps, check your pic. Is everything on fleek? Now, you are ready to share your magical fall moment with friends and family. Get out there and “wow” them! And don’t ever forget the #nofilter.