Today we live in a world that seems to be driven by the internet and social media. In one of my last articles, I shared a video going over a few ways to grow on Instagram. However, in the bigger scheme of things, I think that there is a lot more going on when it comes to “growing” and that a majority of people are just driven to create content that their followers will enjoy.
When I first made my Instagram account back in 2012, I wasn’t big into photography, it was just a hobby for me and I never saw myself going anywhere with it. I would post pictures with buddies of mine, random goofy things, and the occasional photography masterpiece I thought I had created. Over time I started to develop a theme for my Instagram and tried to stay consistent with that. Soon enough my account was directed towards my photography that I would do for fun.
At this point in time, I was no user of hashtags and didn’t really care to use them or see any potential in using them. I would just throw my content up there for people to see with no worries about growing my account, pleasing my followers or getting any sort of benefit from sharing my work. Fast forward five years and sometimes I am dreaming it could still be that way. Today, I am an avid user of hashtags, I am trying to build some sort of a following and put out content that people actually appreciate. Recently, I have been thinking, is it really worth it to dive this deep? Is anything going to come from this? To be honest, I really don’t know the answer, but I do see the good and bad that comes from the second reality social media creates.
To be completely honest, Instagram has actually changed the way I shoot, I will admit it. There was a point I said to myself that would never happen, but the day has come where we can share our work vertically and fill up more of the screen. I think sharing work like this captures the viewer's eye more and because of that, creating compelling content in a vertical frame has become very popular. I don’t think I am the only one that caught this social media disease because I have spoken to many others who say the same thing, but I do think it is amazing that something like this, an app to share photos, changed the way I and many others do photography.
One of the biggest things about Instagram now is this whole algorithm thing and how your work gets discovered. Create “content that followers will enjoy.” This is where it hits me. So many people who are avid photographers and Instagram users stick to this theme or think they are tied into shooting a certain genre. In a way, I agree with it. My page is mainly aerials and a majority of my followers appreciate aerial photography. When I post something outside of it, what do you know? It doesn’t get that much attention compared to the other stuff. This can be discouraging when you feel like you want to get out of that bubble and share some other work you want people to see. However, as a serious photographer trying to use a platform like this to benefit your work, sticking to some sort of a theme is definitely key as long as you can make it work.
All that being said, I don’t think that anybody should tie themselves down to one thing. If you enjoy shooting portraits here and there and want to share them, why not? Just because your page is heavily aerial based shouldn’t mean go out and take a bunch of aerial photos to post to your account because you need content. Regardless of what you are sharing online, your work should represent you. So if you are like me and you snag some pretty cool iPhone photos here and there or you shoot portraits occasionally that you want to share so you can start getting more portrait work… Put it out there, let people see it. Don’t worry about throwing off your page just because your followers think you are specifically an aerial photographer. Remember, if it doesn’t work out, you can always take the photos down, I mean hell, my portrait work isn't the most magnificent stuff ever, I am fairly new to it but find it is another way to be creative and constantly work with new people.
With the way social media is heading, the fear of sharing different work becomes more and more of an issue for people every day. I hate to see people get discouraged because of an app but I cannot emphasis how important it is to not let this stuff get to you. Just share what you feel is right and stop worrying about what anyone else thinks you should be posting.
Do you guys think social media shaping the content you shoot? Has it changed your photography at all? I would love to hear from some people in the comments below.