“Well that didn’t go quite as planned!” After a reality check, we realize that our expectations were way too perfect, romantic, or ambitious to come true. In these moments, you can create media to rally your community and profess your loss. Put two images, videos, or GIFs side by side in a comparison collage and add text labels for context, like “expectation” vs “reality.” 

Expectation vs reality memes from Instagram

Expectation vs reality collages are a popular meme format on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Some common use cases:

  • Pinterest fails: Why doesn’t the gourmet dish, delicate craft, or stunning decoration look as beautiful when I make it DIY?
  • Movie moments: Why isn’t my life as spontaneous, perfect, or romantic as that scene from a popular movie? 
  • Transformation: It’s incredible how much my feelings have changed since then! Complete 180
  • Letdowns: High hopes, unmet 🙁 
  • Athletics: How come the model or coach looks so beautiful when doing this exercise but I just fall on my face when I try the same move?
Image result for expectations vs reality

This “expectation vs reality” collages are similar to “before and after” images, transformation collages, or any comparison between two similar or different things. In this article, I’ll describe how to make an expectation vs reality collage using a free online tool called Kapwing.

In our (baised) opinion, Kapwing is the best online collage maker app. It’s free, and you don’t need to install an app to use it. Unlike other collage makers, Kapwing supports videos, GIFs, and images and enables you to make custom collage and meme templates. Kapwing has one of the web’s most popular meme generators, so it’s a perfect tool for adding “expectation” and “reality” labels. This tutorial has four steps to make an expectation vs reality collage:

  1. Upload Media
  2. Postion Me Side-by-Side
  3. Add Labels on Each Side
  4. Download and Share

Step 1: Upload Media

Open Kapwing’s free Collage Maker and click the purple “Get started” button to work on a custom collage. Alternatively, you can choose one of the collage templates as a starting place for the collage layout. 

Once you’re in Kapwing’s editor, click the “Upload” button in the toolbar to add your “Expectation” video/photo/GIF and your “Reality” video/photo/GIF. You can upload as many pieces of media as you like, if you want to arrange the images and video clips in the collage. The only restriction is that your file must be smaller than 300 MB. 

Step 2: Position Media Side-by-Side

Click and drag the layers to position them next to each other. Use the “Resize” button to change the size of the canvas for different social media formats or add padding to the edges to make room for your image. You can add colored borders around the edges or take up the whole canvas. 

Step 3: Add Labels on Each Side

Click “Add text” to embed your Reality vs Expectations labels. So that you can be creative with the text’s appearance, Kapwing has an extensive font library and you can enter a custom hex value for the font color. Once added, position your text where you want it to appear in the collage, add text outline, or click “Timeline” to animate layers in the scene. You can also add a rectangle shape behind the text to make it pop.

[Optional] You can also add a title to your collage, like the “Stanford Graduation” title in the example image. Just add padding above or below your final collage and insert more text as a Title caption for the photo.

Step 4: Download and Share

Once it has processed, you can download the MP4 or PNG file to your phone or computer and share it directly with friends. You can also share the Kapwing URL or the post on social media. 

Kapwing is free to use, although there is a small watermark in the lower corner. You can pay a small fee to remove it or subscribe to the monthly Kapwing Pro plan. 

Extra: Video montages

Occasionally, my Instagram explore feed will show “expectation vs reality” content that is not a collage (playing at the same time, next to each other). Instead, it’s a montage: play Clip A first then Clip B. You can accomplish this by using Kapwing’s free Movie Maker to merge and combine videos.

That’s all I have for how to make a “before” and “after” collage! As always, feel free to reach out to me with comments and questions. Trying not to get my expectations too high for all of the videos Kapwing-ers are about to make 🙂