One influencer is on a mission to show just how much work goes into each and every shot that people mindlessly double tap – and the reality behind the polished photos is often not very glamorous at all.
Paige Arminta Watts, a content creator with 127,000 followers, is known for her striking imagery that looks like it could have been plucked from the pages of a glossy fashion magazine.
However, the Salt Lake City-native, 29, wants to make sure people get a glimpse at the laborious and often awkward behind-the-scenes creative process (which can seem totally incongruous to the polished resulting images) as she is regularly seen contorting herself in a bid to get the shot.
Gotta get the shot! Influencer Paige Arminta Watts records behind-the-scenes content for every image she shares to show followers exactly what goes into capturing her content
Ladder: Paige twists herself in between the rungs of a ladder in order to get a shot for her feed
Never work with children or animals: Paige shared how she and her photographer got a cat to stay still for this pensive shot
Prop: An assistant keeps the cat occupied while Paige poses for the photo
For each resulting photo, Paige shares a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what went into creating it – often giving inadvertently hilarious insight into the life of an influencer who’ll do whatever it takes to get the shot.
Case in point: when she twists herself into a bicycle frame or through rungs on a ladder, or sits in the middle of a ramp while surrounded by skateboarders.
Other videos capture what passersby see when Paige is having her photograph taken while running through lanes of oncoming traffic, throwing objects or using props like a parked New York Police Department vehicle to pose against.
Paige told DailyMail.com that her decision to start sharing the unseen process behind the glossy images was as a result of the ‘toxic comparison hole’ that social media has become.
‘I had a moment where I said to myself, ‘What am I doing with my life? If I pursue this content creation thing full time, how am I going to be someone who posts more than just images? How am I going to help this community that has dug itself into this toxic comparison hole?”
Careful! Paige weaves in and out of traffic in Times Square in New York City attempting to capture the shot
Traffic: The blonde influencer takes her chance to pose on a New York City street when there’s a pause in between cars rushing past
When in New York: Paige climbs up on a NYPD vehicle to achieve the glamorous shot
Passersby: Her videos often show people walking past – sometimes stopping to stare – which Paige admitted does make her feel a little awkward
Paige believes that highlighting the often-wacky behind-the-scenes content is an important element that she wants to share with her audience.
‘It showcases more than just the work and awkwardness that goes into a photo. It is material that maybe even pushes people to believe that they are more than capable of creating these things too,’ she said.
While she gets ‘some’ negativity on her feed about the elaborate process, she’s glad she still gets to portray her personality.
‘For the most part, people have shown a crazy amount of support and love for the behind-the-scenes, because it’s not only very educational, but it shows me as a human! It shows that I feel awkward sometimes, that I get insecure and that I have fun and laugh throughout the process.’
Movement: Paige’s signature poses involve balancing in hard-to-hold positions
Balance: Videos show her trying to stay still in difficult poses in order to nail the shot
Impressive: Paige’s holds a veritable back bend to showcase her flowing dress
Patience: As evidenced by the videos, she has to repeat the pose several times
Most of Paige’s photos are captured in public, but she doesn’t seem to mind that people often stop and stare.
‘It’s totally understandable. I am doing really weird things in very unexpected places at times,’ she said.
‘I can only imagine what people are thinking. I do have to say though, it hasn’t gotten easier for me to feel confident and secure when people do stop and stare. I get various reactions. Some people think it’s cool! Others are very confused.
‘I get lots of laughs and eye rolls. I am still personally learning to embrace every single reaction that comes my way.
Humor: Paige poses in a said she likes how the behind-the-scenes footage helps people get to know the real her
Laughing: As Paige poses in a backyard hot tub with flippers, she is seen laughing at the ridiculousness of it
Editorial: A shot that looks magazine-worthy was actually taken by balancing over a backyard pool
Background: As Paige poses, there’s sometimes something rather unglamorous going on in the background – like this man cleaning the pool
Paige, who previously worked as a Talent Strategist at Disney, collaborates mostly with professional fashion photographer Rachel Green.
The creative duo team up for impressive images – which are often taking in the middle of moving traffic or in the middle of action-packed scenarios.
While most of their shoots involve an inventive concept, it was surprisingly one filmed indoors with a regular kitchen appliance that actually proved the most time consuming to capture.
‘This sounds so crazy, but we did this toaster shot and it surprisingly it took us around 45 min,’ Paige recalled.
Time consuming: Paige revealed that the ‘toaster shot’ was surprisingly the most difficult one to capture
Takes: It took the influencer and her photographer 45 minutes to get the shot right
Props: Photographing items mid-air, left, can often take the longest to artfully capture
Pro: Paige nails the image in just a few takes as she’s a veritable pro by now
While Paige’s feed is full of high quality shots, her videos show that her followers can also achieve similar photos by using their imagination
Timing: Paige tosses newspapers to the floor as her photographer is ready to snap the scene
‘It was the most frustrating experience. I was trying to get the bread to fly out of the toaster all while flipping my hair. Doesn’t sound like the most complicated concept, but that photo took us the longest amount of time to capture to date.’
Paige agreed that she’s always thinking ahead about her upcoming shoots.
‘I am literally always planning, even when I am not meaning to. Since [I started] really focusing in on my content, I feel like my views of everything have changed!
‘While I drive, I catch myself looking at buildings and streets for location ideas. When I am in the mall, different pieces of clothing shout different ideas. When I am cleaning my house, simple every day things spark ideas. You get the idea…
‘My brain is always in ‘content mode’. As far as execution, it totally depends. If I have something really specific, that concept is well thought out: a makeup artist gets hired, I know exactly what I am wearing, and we know exactly where we want to shoot it.
That’s gotta hurt: Paige contorts herself into a bike to achieve the above photo, and the behind-the-scenes footage makes it hilarious
Don’t mind me: Someone casually strolls through the background as Paige poses for the picture
Strike a pose: The social media star admitted she’s always thinking of ideas for content for her page
Makeup: The Utah-born influencer showed the intriguing makeup look for this shot
Jump: Paige is often seen jumping and leaping for the camera, giving her Instagram feed lots of movement
Fashion: Her stunning imagery might look high fashion-inspired, but most of Paige’s affordable outfits come from the likes of ASOS and Forever 21
‘The rest of our shoots are very different. I get Rachel one day a week for two-three hours. On the day of the shoot, we talk about various locations. I pack my car full of looks. I pick Rachel up and we cruise.
‘If we see something cool while we are driving, we stop. I put on an outfit and we go to work! Sometimes we work best by just flying by the seat of our pants!’
Paige’s signature pose is having Rachel capture her mid-movement; balancing on her tip-toes or bending over Matrix-style.
These poses have become so popular that they have even inspired a hashtag – ‘Toss it like Paige’ – which sees fans and followers trying to mimic similar shots.
Impressively, several thousand fans have tried their hand at the pose already.
While her photos may look like images plucked from billboards or magazine spreads, Paige’s fashion sense is pretty low key.
Her most highlighted brands include affordable retailers like Forever 21, Zara, ASOS, Topshop, Urban Outfitters and Target.
Payment: During a recent trip to New York, Paige took the opportunity to pose against every interesting backdrop, revealing that she ‘paid’ a man to use his shoe station with a cake
Nailed it: As Paige and her photographer have been working together so long, they know exactly how to capture her best angles