Instagram Photography: Whats Next in the Age of Social Media?
When was the last time you went to an art museum or a photographer’s gallery show? What about the last time you looked at images on social media, such as through Instagram?
Notice any discrepancy between the two?
In today’s world, images are everywhere. They can transform the way people think, communicate, or even see the world. Pictures and photographs go viral every day but is this “art”?
Let’s explore the debate for what constitutes art in our digital age and the steps you should take in the age of Instagram.
The Stats on Instagram Photography
Digital photography has, no doubt, changed the world. According to data detailed in The Guardian, there are 350 million photographs uploaded to Facebook daily, 95 million shared on Instagram, within that same time frame, and 188 million shared daily on Snapchat. Within that total amount of images there is a percentage of amateur and professional creators of media, photography, and art.
Why Photographers Use Instagram
Photographers showcase images and digital prints on Instagram to build interest, appeal to their fanbase (and therefore gain more of a following), and advertise their artwork available for purchase. If photography is a medium to expand consciousness and share perspective, the pro-Instagram photographer argues that Instagram is a natural extension and medium through which to reveal their art.
While not everyone will attend an in-person photography show or take the time to read a photography book, many people can follow photographers on Instagram. Still, a debate has emerged as to whether social media platforms do the artwork justice.
Photographers who used to have a presence in their city’s art world find themselves competing for “likes” and “follows” against image generators who have an attractive headshot, powerfully written posts, or more. It is now the norm for print artists/photographers to scan or photograph their creations and upload those images to Instagram.
Artists take part in online challenges with other creators in events like Inktober. Photographers worry about hashtags and also engage in photography challenges.
(As a Photographer) What You Need to Do Today
Don’t Be Online Only or Offline
Likes and follows are essential if you use Instagram. Whether you love social media as a tool to share your work or prefer galleries and in-person contacts, don’t be exclusive with either. Whatever your preferences, try and incorporate both.
You can focus on selling your work online, building a fan base, and also aim to be a showrunner in your community. You don’t have to enjoy both aspects equally, but do keep your social media regularly updated. If you haven’t taken your photography off-line, yet, or built connections, make that a goal for 2019. Consider photography fairs such as Offprint.
Website or Blog
Even if you successfully use Instagram, or aspire to, having an additional formal page away from social media, (which you can link to, and that shares your bio, credentials, work available) is essential. Think of social media as an eye-catching way to funnel people to your work for purchase or your shows.
Instagram isn’t only for sharing your work; people also find interest in seeing the person behind the work. Intersperse your posts with photos about your journey and perspective, crowd stopping photography aside. The biggest names on Instagram usually excel at this.
Verify Your Photographs Aren’t Stolen
A critical tool in the age of social media-infused photography is to take advantage of a system of checks and balances. A ‘right click’ or ‘drag and drop’ is all it takes for someone to steal & save your image, then use it as their own.
If your work isn’t part of the Creative Commons (or even if it is and you want to make sure it’s properly attributed), then run a reverse image search to see if anyone is using your art for their monetary gain. Sites like Berify allow you to do so with an algorithm-fueled search.
Follow users, photographers, and artists who have the sort of Instagram feed you aspire to emulate, in your unique way.
Navigating social media wisely is a learning process, but Instagram seems here to stay. Experiment until you find the right balance for your online life.