Without social media, how many people would actually see your images?
The digital revolution has had one of the most profound effects on photography. Social media has redefined the process of photographing and videographing. The easy posting, swiping, commenting creates the impression of “easy”. With the advancements in shooting equipment, it is easier than ever to shoot, edit and print images. Now, social media has allowed sharing, commenting and screen capturing.
Social media is a great way to share your photography.
Popular social media platforms
The best thing about social media in relation to photography is that it makes it easy for everyone to share and consume images, ideas, tips and techniques. Each social media platform serves a slightly different purpose, and here’s the 4 that made it on the charts.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Aesthetics on Social Media
Many photographers these days indulge their passion for photography through social networks rather than books, magazines and art galleries as they would in the past. This means new aesthetics are emerging in most genres of photography.
The ability for an image to go ‘viral’, or simply be shared by a hub with a large following, means a new or even existing image concept or editing style can be seen by huge numbers of people. These image styles are often both creative and interesting, but there’s a certain insular aspect to them that’s highlighted the more you see them on a given network. There’s a lot of instant gratification – and who doesn’t love that, but does this represent success, or provide a solid foundation from which to develop?
Instagram at its core, is a network based on sharing images. Hence, naturally it became a home for photographers with every genre of photography.
The option to choose
Users can follow individuals and hubs to have their feed customised to their interests. Sounds easy? Sadly, in recent years algorithms on Instagram have been used to decide which content is best suited to you. Instagram decides for you rather than chronological feed of posts from everyone you’re following.
Unfair? This is a result of the company monetizing the platforms through advertising and sponsored posts.
Twitter is similar to some extent, although the chronological feed still remains.
YouTube, on the other hand, recommends videos similar to ones you’ve searched for, but with advertising embedded in videos you get to see what you want in terms of content, while YouTube and the content creator can generate an income.
A smaller world
The idea that photographers go to well-known locations and almost literally ‘insert tripod legs here’ to take the classic shot of a location has been around for decades. But thanks to social media, the global reach of these platforms means people are traveling from far and wide to get their exact copy of that classic image.
Learn how to be different and stand out
Another problem is that when individuals are using social media for all their references (locations, compositions and editing), their view of the world becomes extremely narrow. So why is this a problem? If you’re a serious photographer, or a professional hoping to sell images, you’re going to struggle to make your work stand out from the thousands of images that have already been taken of a classic location. What you need is something different, something that will really stand out.
So, has social media ruined photography?
The short answer is yes… and no. Like everything in life, there are both positive and negative aspects to its existence. The internet, and to a large extent social media, have ultimately democratized photography.
The democratization of photography doesn’t owe everything to social media, though. Before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, blogs were the way that people shared ideas online, and the blogging platform remains as strong as ever.
For every positive social media brings to photography there’s a negative, but which way the balance is seen to top will ultimately depend on personal opinion. Social media era- there’s never been a better time to learn photography, or to develop your skills and knowledge.
It’s important to remember that there are many more places to find inspiration besides social networks and the internet. Who knows where social media will be 10 years from now? But while the current wave is moving it doesn’t hurt to jump on for the ride and use it to your advantage?