How to Instagram like Thirdy Ravena

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As far as local athletes go, Thirdy Ravena’s Instagram game can’t be beat. His feed is eyeballs-deep in that curated, minimalist, #feedgoals aesthetic that has created an entire job market out of social media management.

I used to work as a social media manager for several restaurants and tech brands, and I can tell you that Thirdy’s an outlier in his industry. There’s no inherent need for obsessive curating when fans like anything you post anyway, so many ballers his age treat social media as a scrapbook for no-filter selfies and motivational quote posters with cheesy fonts. It’s like Kris Aquino circa 2016, posting an collage of 10 identical photos of Bimb playing with an iPad, and getting 20,000 likes for it. Famous people can get away with crap like that, but Thirdy’s extra. And we like it.

1. Ball is (not all there is to) life.
We get it, you’re athletic. But that doesn’t mean sports are the only thing you post about. Thirdy gets that people follow athletes on social media to see what they’re like off the court.

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Alongside team photos of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, the 20-year-old shares photos of himself spinning at parties, behind-the-scenes shots of modeling gigs, and Ravena fam photos from the 90s.

By the way, a single emoji as caption? Total power move.

By the way, a single emoji as caption, no hashtags? Power move straight outta the blogger handbook.

2. Class up your filters.
It’s 2017. Are people still using X-Pro? From what we can tell, Thirdy uses VSCO to post-process his photos. Compared to Instagram’s garish in-app filters, each of VSCO’s presets are based on actual film stock. This means there’s a logic to VSCO’s color grading, which makes the style look organic even when you know it probably didn’t look that way IRL.

Thirdy also knows how to use colors to create a mood. He punches up the blue skies to add a dream-like quality to his travel photos (try HB2, P8, K3). This photo of the Ateneo Blue Eagles has their white uniforms looking extra-bright against deepened skin tones (try A6). He wisely keeps this white-on-white ootd shot a little dark, with low contrast and slightly faded shadows so you can see the minute variations between pure white and off-white:

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3. Mind the grid, but not too much.
When you handle social media for a corporate entity, you’re expected to keep the grid view as uniform as possible by applying the same post-processing to all photos. Some brands go even as far as to only shoot during a specific time of day.

But for personal branding, it’s a bit much. You can’t control when or how life’s highlights happen to you, and if you template your social media identity too much, 1) it gets boring, and 2) you sacrifice the authenticity that made people like your account in the first place.

Thirdy hits the happy medium by posting in sets of threes. This lets him keep visual harmony in grid view while also letting him explore different looks and colors for his travels. And he’s not too cool to break the feed to post watermarked photos of him being sweet with mom.

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4. Be swabe with product placement.
Look, we all know the basic athlete sponsored post: stand against a white wall and hold up your new socks/tumblr/supplements. Thirdy leaves those in the dust with shots like this:

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Even if I didn’t care about the product, it’s a good photo in itself. He probably had to ask a photographer friend to help out (no way is his phone’s shutter speed fast enough for that action), pick an outfit that contrasted with the white walls, and then jumped at least 10 times to get the best shot. Extra? Sure. Extra is what gets people like Thirdy paid.

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5. Have fun.
Thirdy’s clearly the kind of guy who enjoys photography and getting creative on social media. It’s not a chore for him, and neither should it be one for you. He’s just living his best life, and taking fun photos along the way. Go do the same.

Photos from Thirdy Ravena’s Instagram.

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