From #squadgoals, of both the Swift and Kardashian varieties, to Miley's butt to Miley's epic selfie to Miley's whole family, what happens at the VMAs rarely stays at the VMAs. When we want to know what's really going on off-stage, in the dressing room, in the audience, or anywhere else on set, nothing provides us that insider look quite like the furtive eye of the celebrity Instagram account.
This year, the photo sharing platform had its biggest presence ever at the show, starting with the beautifully designed Jeremy Scott Instagram photo area. Snaps shared by stars during the broadcast offered glimpses of what was up next on the show. They also revealed tender moments that happened when the cameras weren't on, like artists' quiet thank yous to their fans.
The nominees, performers, presenters, and attendees held nothing back when it came to raising their cams. We've pulled together the best photos from the night, tracking stars from limo to red carpet to the main event. Consider this a taste of what it's like to be at the VMAs, IRL. Click ahead to see how things really went down.