Extremely Online

Photo Dump Accounts Are The New Finstas

It’s giving 2015.

Are photo dump accounts on Instagram the new Finstas?

A quick scroll through Instagram will show perfectly edited pics from celebs, influencers, brands, and even your closest friends. The app is a sea of curated poses, face-tuned mugs, and color schemes meant to make a user’s page look as cohesive and aesthetically pleasing as possible. But thanks to a growing trend, you might finally come across a perfectly messy photo dump instead — and it’s honestly so much more fun.

If you have a keen eye — or if you were on social media 15+ years ago — you might recognize a few familiar things about photo dump accounts. First is that they bear a striking resemblance to Finstas, circa 2015. A “Finsta” or fake Instagram was a secret account where you were free to share photos with and of close friends and family without having to worry about the approval of your followers.

This was where you might’ve shared the random pictures from your camera roll, including personal moments from birthdays and holidays or the vacation pics you didn’t want a million people (or future employers) to see. Of course, a side benefit was that you could also use your Finsta to scroll Instagram anonymously, but that’s a different topic for a different day.

The photo dump account trend is also a strong callback to the earliest days of Facebook. In 2006, it was the norm to bring a digital camera to get-togethers so you could snap a hundred blurry pictures and then upload every single one of them to a giant photo album with a name like ~*~SuMmEr NiGhTs~*~.

These photo dumps were chaotic in the best way. They had candid moments, bad angles, and multiple shots of the same thing — and none of them were edited. Pictures from this era are instantly recognizable, especially since most were blurry with too much flash.

Photo dump accounts as they exist today have been slowly remerging for a few years. In April 2023, TikTok creator @spicylilc compared the photo dump trend on Instagram to scrapbooking, saying she loves posting photos without worrying about aesthetics. In her comments, one person wrote, “Same, I feel so free” while another said, “And it ends up being more aesthetic because it’s natural.”

Creator @liletmichael is a fan of dump accounts, too. She started one with her friends so they could look back at them in the future, kind of a like a real-life album. In her comments, one person said, “This is what everyone’s Instagram should look like!!!”

Instagram creator Kenny Watkins is also on board. She jumped on the trend two years ago, along with some of her best friends. “The main reason we started it is because it was kind of like a glamorized Finsta,” she tells Bustle.

Watkins shares anything and everything on her dump account. Mostly, she says, it’s photos that aren’t quite right for her more stylized main account, like casual shots of pizzas and pickles, high-flash group photos, dimly-lit bar pics, sunsets, grocery hauls, and other everyday moments that have more humor — including her in pajamas getting DoorDash at 2 a.m.

“I would say [dump accounts are] more authentic than planned out,” she says. “On my main page, I take a little bit more time curating the best photos from my trips and putting them in an aesthetic order, whereas with my photo dump account, if I like a picture then I’ll just post it. It’s fun because there really doesn’t have to be any thought behind it.”

In some ways, these photo collections also give strong OG Instagram vibes — and celebs are into it, too. See the pixelated selfies on Addison Rae’s page or the low-res 4:4 photos from Bella Hadid.

“Trends are coming back, so especially now in 2024, Y2K is popular, film photos are popular, so I think we don’t really post 100 pictures like we used to back in the day on Facebook, but we do post a lot more than we would have maybe five years ago,” says Watkins.

Another similarity with Finstas? It’s common to only follow your closest friends on your dump account. “It’s kind of fun because then when I’m scrolling through my feed, it’s all my friends' funny and cool posts,” she adds. No businesses, influencers, or celebs in sight.

The main goal, it seems, is to make Instagram — and social media in general — fun and casual again. You can have your main account with all your followers — and this is also where influencers still post brand deals and edited shots — and then you can have your fun, laidback photo dump account.

As Watkins says, “Photo dump accounts are a way to share more of your life with people who care about it in a less serious way, and that allows you to show more of your personality, too, which is always fun.”