This article was published on December 10, 2011

The mystery behind the #instababs tag on Instagram [Solved!]

The mystery behind the #instababs tag on Instagram [Solved!]
Courtney Boyd Myers
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Courtney Boyd Myers

Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups gr Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups grow internationally. Previously, she was the Features Editor and East Coast Editor of TNW covering New York City startups and digital innovation. She loves magnets + reading on a Kindle. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter @CBM and .

While perusing Instagram this morning, a photo by Know Your Cell Managing Editor Marc Flores caught my eye. It was a really cool framed photo of his younger brother but his brother’s body was outside of the frame. I asked him what app he used and he said, “…Long story. I’ll send you a msg…”

Flores told me that he’d been seeing similar types of photos for some time now, all with subjects that extend beyond the frame. Every photo invariably has the comment, “What app did you use for this?” But not one photographer would spill their secrets.

While digging around Web, Flores discovered the hashtag #instababs. He found lots of amazing photos but still, no app. Turns out it takes not one but several different apps to stitch together a photo worthy of the #instababs tag.

For the photo of his brother (pictured below), Flores used five different apps: Camera+, Snapseed, Frame Magic, Squaready and Juxtaposer. He explains how he did it here:

Shoot/edit photos in Camera+, tweak/frame in Snapseed or use Frame Magic to create a blank frame by photographing something totally black (or just cover the camera), use Squareready to square the image and make it Instagram friendly, then use Juxtaposer to combine the frame and image and layer/mask the juxtaposition. That pic of my brother took me like 25 minutes to do…

So there you have it, talented tech journalist Marc Flores has uncovered the secrets of #instababs. It’s not an app, it’s an editing style (one that is quite labor intensive). Keep an eye out for this new Instagram editing trend and enjoy a few of our cherry picked #instababs favorites below:

If you have any idea of #instababs origin, please share in the comments!

The artist who created the #instababs tag is DJ BABU or “djbabuforeal” on Instagram. The father/son/brother/friend/DJ/Producer is also a professional amateur photographer. He posted our story on #instalabs to Instagram after we published it. The photo already has 143 Likes and over 50 comments from some of his 4,226 followers. Internet mystery solved!

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