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New formula is revealed to help take the most beautiful photos on Instagram
•    New survey of British Instagram users reveals that holidays top the league for images which achieve the most engagement
•    A third of Brits think they should get more social likes than they do!
•    61% of us admits editing an image to make it ‘better’

With over 1 billion people using Instagram each month, it’s not surprising that we care about how our pictures look, and more importantly, how many likes we get from our followers.

A new survey of 2,000 Instagram users2 conducted by MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise company, found that holiday photos achieve the most engagement with our friends and followers. However, the survey revealed that we put in so much effort into the way our images look online to impress our followers, that two thirds of us admit to altering the way we take an image for social media (61%) with filters (64%), lighting (56%) and angles (37%). But one third (33%) of us still think we should be getting more likes than we do. When it comes to perfecting your post, location is key. Two thirds of those that post images online (58%) admit to getting more engagement by visiting somewhere new, because it makes our images more varied (56%) and often means we’re posting about different activities (31%).

In response to the survey - and to mark the 2019 launch of its newest ship, MSC Bellissima, which means most beautiful– MSC Cruises commissioned Dr Cliff Arnall, the renowned psychologist and author of the famous Blue Monday movement, to develop a formula to help the guests to create the most beautiful image ready for sharing on social media to rack up those likes.

Dubbed the ‘Social Quotient’, the formula uses psychological theory and brain processing pathways which we subconsciously tap into when looking at images we see as beautiful, and is explained as follows:

(Emotional resonance x People) + Familiarity + Surprises + Relatable + Design = Social Quotient

E x P (Emotional resonance x People) – Images with our friends and family often display emotion, and this expression of how they feel adds to the overall perception.
F (Familiarity): Elements we immediately recognise allow us to relax and take interest in the rest of the picture. This can come with elements such as the sea, a sunset or a restaurant to give us a reference point.  
S (Surprise): Whilst familiarity is important to the viewer, so is having a small element of surprise within each image to show creativity and fun.
R (Relatability): Images which are relatable to the target audience ensure a connection between the picture and the viewer.
D (Design): This is the part relating to our creativity. Layout, symmetry, lighting and balance are all important.

For those wishing to really get to grips with the formula a calculation can be made to understand if the image is perfect. Each element should be given a number based on how well is performs. For E, P, F and R, the number should be from 0 to 10. For S it should be out of 0 to 5. For D it should be out of 15. The maximum value (i.e. the perfect social image) is 140.

To see how the ‘Social Quotient’ works in real life MSC Cruises influencer ambassadors Brock & Betty Jeffrey put the formula to the test on board MSC Seaview, you can see the video of how they got on here: The research conducted by Dr Arnall found, travel is the best way to achieve the most beautiful social post, with cruises coming top to meet the criteria. This is thanks to being surrounded by friends and family, having new experiences and exposure to lots of exciting adventures and activities. And nothing quite beats a sunset at sea!

Commenting on the Social Quotient Formula, Dr Cliff Arnall said, “When it comes to what we consider most beautiful, there’s lots we can learn from psychology to help us make the most beautiful posts. Whilst the key elements within the Social Quotient will help us create images that resonate as ‘beautiful’ to those that know us, it’s important to remember to be ourselves, and use this time to enjoy some wonderful adventures that we share online with our friends”.

Antonio Paradiso, Managing Director at MSC Cruises UK added: “It’s great to see that holidays provide the best place to take pictures, not only for our own special memories, but to show our friends and family back home. When travelling with MSC Cruises, you can be in a new port nearly every day – giving you plenty of opportunities to fill up your feed with beautiful images, whilst most importantly enjoying the amazing surroundings with your loved ones. Our ships are also renowned for their iconic selfie spots such as the Swarovski staircases or the Bridge of Sighs on MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview.”

With a series of beautiful destinations and a luxurious ship full of activities to keep you entertained, traveling aboard the brand-new ship, MSC Bellissima– is the ideal way to get your most beautiful social post. MSC Bellissima is spending the summer season in the Western Mediterranean visiting ports including Naples, Valletta and Barcelona and in Winter 2019/2020 she can found sailing 7 night itineraries from Dubai. For more information or to book, visit, call 020 3426 3010 or visit your local travel agent.