Nicholas Pakradooni On The Photo Trend Making Instagram Enjoyable Again

Art director behind some of fashion’s biggest influencers talks the art of Instagram content with little to no revisions.


Words, Igee Okafor

Photography, Cholpak


This seemingly new instagram movement has sent me into a state of uncontrolled excitement.

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Pictured: Nicholas Pakradooni, 26, seemingly sat cozily - quietly, and casually reading a full length book in an outfit that I would probably wear myself including the glasses that are perfectly laid in what I’ll refer to as a golden ray of sunlight.

I’m all about it. Not just the way the image is styled to be specific, it’s the entire combination. A fashionable photograph that manages to also possess an element of informality that is just as attractive without the injection of a filter or editing enhancement.

I’ve seen a couple of content creators I follow align with this content strand too and I will say, for instagram, a platform chock-full of filtered and augmented content (myself, guilty as charged), it’s a refresher.

There’s a certain element of authenticity the concept exudes and what I really enjoy about this particular strand of photographed content is that it seemingly reads as uncontrived. That in itself is a niche not everyone is comfortable enough to fuel with consistency.

With Nicholas Pakradooni for example, he appears gleeful, self-assured, and comfortable in his own skin showcasing unfiltered facets of his day to day life ranging from OOTD’s to plates of bagels he has bitten into.

As a look altogether, as brought up in various conversations amongst other content creators, it’s a debatable concept — some love it, and others deem it lackadaisical. I prefer to use the word, “distinctive”.

With the continuous development of my interest in this visual perspective from the creator’s point of view, I bombarded Pakradooni, art director to some of today’s top social influencers with a few questions on the movement and his content creation journey.

He answered:


On growing up:

I grew up on a farm in Reading, Pennsylvania, but I spent my life traveling a lot. Moved away for college and spent a year in France, and all of those things definitely shaped the person I am today.

On his introduction to the fashion industry:

My experience in the fashion industry came about pretty unexpectedly. I was exposed to it while I was living in Paris in 2013. I studied international business, but got to witness fashion week first hand. I became aware of the blogging world and realized it was something I was interested in. I started posting more photos of my outfits online and focused on creating an aesthetically pleasing “feed” on my instagram. A few years later, I got job with Song of Style where I got to really dive deeper.

On transitioning into full time photography and videography:

I didn’t always know I wanted to do that. My mom is a painter and photographer, so I always loved to play around with her things growing up. Instead of video games, I’d be playing on Photoshop. I also started video in Paris. I decided I wanted to be a YouTuber, so I made a video every week of my travels throughout Europe. It was just a hobby, but turns out if you make a video a week for a year, you get pretty good at it. My channel didn’t really go anywhere and those videos are long gone [laughs], but I did find out that I really enjoyed making videos and that I could do it for other people.


On his visual perspective:

When I’m creating content for other people, I try to respect their styles. I have my own style of course, and there is definitely a touch of personal flare, but I don’t believe in maintaining a specific style across all projects because I just don’t enjoy creating the same things over and over.

On collaborating with industry leaders like Aimee Song and Adam Gallagher:

Aimee reached out to me to join her team very shortly after I moved to LA about four years ago. Of course, I said yes. It was just the two of us for a while but eventually, we built a bigger team and got to create more and more. Working for Song of Style was a great experience. I got to attend 15-20 fashion weeks and hundreds of shows across the world. I did find out that the fashion industry isn’t quite for me though, so I stopped being full-time after about 2.5 years. Aimee and I are still good friends and we frequently work on projects together. Adam is a great friend of mine. We met through instagram and both enjoy creating content together.

On taking a step back from filters and overly manipulated imagery:

I love people’s art. I love when people take the time to create a beautiful image and tell a story, but I realized that your everyday life doesn’t need to look like a perfectly edited moment, because it’s not. I started to realize that my favorite accounts to follow were the ones that felt like they were just sharing a photo for their friends to see— more like “Here I am. Take it or leave it." It felt cool, new, and refreshing in a sea of overly curated, highly edited photos. I think that the more we edit our photos and make them perfect, the more we’re going to chase that idea of perfection and not appreciate how beautiful the world right in front of us is.

I started doing it because it felt cool. I keep on doing it because it actually makes instagram enjoyable again for me. It’s less stressful not agonizing over the details of the feed, etc


On colleague conversations and reactions:

Everyone I talk to seems to love the idea and some have adapted the same style. Maybe less casual than my photos have been, but they’ve stopped using filters. I do think the appeal is here to stay. I think people are appreciating a more relatable, real vibe more and more.

Two friends of mine, Devon Carlson & Matilda Djerf, do it so well. Their photos are real moments and it makes me feel like I’m hanging out with them. Some others are @josefinehj and @mvb. More guys need to hop on the trend! Igee, you’re so chic, you’d kill it.

On the rest of the instagram community moving forward with no revisions:

I honestly think everyone can! It just takes an eye adjustment when looking at your own photos without a filter. I keep seeing creators post photos in their stories with a “tap to edit” strand and I always think the before looks so good without the filter. And that doesn’t mean EVERY photo needs to be unedited. Certain audiences may still want the produced and polished stories, but it could be fun to mix in the unedited real moments. I’ve gotten so many comments and messages about how people love the new style.

Just try it! You’ll love how stress free and enjoyable the app becomes again.