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Want to Take Your Insta Up a Level? You Need to Go to the Maldives

Easy.

When deciding on a honeymoon destination with my then-fiancé, now official ~Insta~ hubby, we wanted to go somewhere that would blow our damn minds. We were already planning a few action-packed days in Thailand for the first leg of our trip, so for the second portion we wanted a spot in the region that was a bit more relaxing. We researched the Maldives and were wowed by the images of glittering blue atolls, white sandy beaches, and lush palm trees. You know those dreamy pictures of bloggers lying on overwater bungalows with the crystal-clear blue and green water beneath them? Yep, this the place.

Located in the Indian Ocean about halfway between Indonesia and Africa, the Maldives are filled with visual eye candy everywhere you look, and they’re your one-stop shop if you’re Insta famous—or at least wanna pretend to be.

We stayed at the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort on Vommuli island (most resorts in the Maldives, including the St. Regis, are located on their own private islands—how chic). Yes, it’s pricey, but you can find plenty of budget-friendly hotels on other islands. Here, 11 tips and tricks for taking the very best photos for the ‘gram—and making your friends jealous as hell of your adventure of a lifetime.

1 Snap a pic from the seaplane

The fastest and most economical way to get to the St. Regis is by seaplane (Trans Maldivian Airways is the main seaplane airline for the Maldives; prices vary depending on the time of year you go). After landing at the main airport in Malé, we were greeted by a St. Regis butler and whisked away to a lounge with a full menu, bar, and flat-screen TVs.

When the seaplane’s ready to depart, you’ll board the flight with about 14 others, and this is your moment to start hitting that upload button—my DMs blew up from friends checking out the footage I took of my sweet ride. Snag a seat by the window, so you’re in a prime position to capture all that #content during the 40-minute flight (there’s no assigned seating, so just hustle to the front of that line!). You’ll be an Insta Queen before you even touch down.

 

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2 Lounge in your overwater villa

When you arrive at the St. Regis, you’ll be escorted to your villa. Pro tip: The overwater villas are the best rooms for capturing the ultimate content for the ‘gram. There are two options—either sunrise- or sunset-facing. We opted for the latter, which also comes with a private pool. If you want to take the best blue and green water pics, the ocean looks the most vibrant between 10am and 3pm—you can opt for snorkeling snaps off your back terrace (the hotel provides gear to use during your stay) or photos of you sunbathing on your overwater hammocks. The ‘gram options are endless, truly.

 

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3 Bike around the island

After you’ve familiarised yourself with your dreamy overwater villa, go for a spin on the bike you get to use during your stay. To get the best pic for your ‘gram, park it on the dock over the open water or near the colourful palms—you’ll look ridiculously chic without even trying.

 

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4 Spoil yourself at the spa

Now that you’ve worked up a sweat, head to the Iradium Spa for a well-deserved cool-down session. The St. Regis’ aesthetic draws inspiration from marine life, and the spa’s design resembles a lobster. Once you’re done with your treatment (my husband and I enjoyed a couples’ massage), book an hour in the hydrotherapy pool, named The Blue Hole. Stand at the edge for the best photo ops, and make sure whoever is taking your pics gets ’em from both horizontal and vertical angles—after all, a girl needs options.

 

 

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5 Casually bathe with twinkle lights and the sunset

If you want to be the ~most~ while actually doing the least, jump in your gorgeous freestanding bathtub, and watch the sunset. If you wanna be super extra (and who doesn’t?), throw twinkle lights around the tub.

 

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6 Indulge in breakfast over the water

Breakfast in bed is so last year. When I style food pics for my ‘gram, I try to position everything on the table in a symmetrical layout. Take shots from plenty of angles (these kinds of photos are always trial-and-error, so don’t worry about adjusting as you go—patience is a virtue). Focus your camera lower down, with the food as the primary focal point and the water in the background. Once you have the perfect shot, eat away—you deserve it!

 

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7 Sip bubbly as the sun goes down

You’re basically guaranteed to capture outrageous sunset content from any spot around the island. But at least one night, head to the laid-back, chill Whale Bar to have a drink and watch the sun dip below the horizon. The Whale Bar is inspired by the shape of a whale shark and happens to feature Vommuli’s best, most forward-facing view of the sunset. (Shooting at the sun can alter your camera’s focus if you’re using an iPhone, so make sure to tap your screen.)

 

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8 Have an adventure in a glass-bottom kayak

Lots of water-sport activities will look fab on the ‘gram, but glass-bottom kayaking was at the tippy-top of my list. Bring a friend (or, in my case, my new Insta hubby) so you can take turns paddling, snapping pics, and basking in the sun. If you want an action shot, make sure you’re sitting in the front. Tell the person taking your photo to hold the camera steady, because balance is key here: Make one wrong move, and you’re both going overboard—phone included.

 

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9 Munch down on tacos and pizza at the beach

Two beachfront restaurants, Crust and Craft, are open for lunch during the day. Crust makes yummy thin-crust wood-fired pizzas; Craft serves up mouthwatering tacos. When getting pics for the ‘gram, I like to shoot birds-eye view to capture the full essence of the meal. Use whatever beach accessories you have with you as props if you really wanna give your photo those ~chic~ lunch vibes.

 

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10 Become besties with a palm tree

Taking a picture of a palm tree (or next to or on it) is Beach Vacation 101 and a must when staying in the Maldives. If you decide to take a pic on one, you might want to do some squats before you head up—climbing them is harder than your hardest spin class—but your ‘gram will thank you once you’re up there. For an easier trip up the trunk, look for palms with more of a bend to them.

 

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11 Snap a pic of your fruit bowl

Yes, even the damn fruit bowls here are photogenic. Blessed be the fruit and the ‘gram.

 

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This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.

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