Not so long ago, I took the plunge and deleted my Facebook accounts, both personal and business profiles. As a professional photographer, this may seem like career suicide. However, it may have saved my career and sanity.
First off, I am a commercial photographer who works in two main fields, portraiture and food photography. I shoot the odd wedding here and there, but only via word of mouth. So, the impact this has on your photography may differ somewhat depending on your niche.
Why Did I Delete Facebook?
I started photography in 2010 when Facebook was king. I used it to let people know what I was doing, how much I was charging, and to showcase my work. When I was starting out and doing little £50 and £200 jobs here and there, it was great. There are plenty of people looking for affordable photography via Facebook. However, as the years went on and my prices increased, I left my day job and my work became more specialized. I still got the £100-200 bookings via Facebook, but they were starting to become a hassle. I was also getting asked for a lot of favors, mates rates, charity donations, which lens to buy, which camera to buy, what camera settings I used, and the like. When I deleted Facebook, I was receiving between 50-100 messages a day.
The only reason to stay at this point was for the work I was getting. Yet, the type of work I was getting through Facebook was similar to that from a local business breakfast club: lots of hassle, poor quality clients, and low payments. It’s always hard to say no to money, but there comes a point where focusing on finding the next big client is far more important than doing the 10-20 small jobs that equate to the same amount of money. There is nothing worse than being a busy fool, and I had certainly become one.
The volume of requests for free information that a quick Google search would answer and the cheap work started to bother me. I quickly realized that I wasn’t achieving anything through having Facebook for my photography and I don’t really use social media to “socialize." So, I deactivated my account.
Life After Facebook
Here is the interesting part: life continued as it did before, although I now have about one hour more time per day. I don’t feel drained from the pressure of responding to so many requests and trying to explain to people why they can’t have a £10,000 shoot for £150. This week, the additional seven hours I have gained were used to do a test shoot for my portfolio. It was certainly of far more value than Facebook was bringing. Next week, I am taking a day off.
I had been contemplating the use of Facebook for the last three years and I feel like a bit of a mug having left it for so long. Instagram is still firmly on my phone and I am a daily user of the platform. I find it positive, useful from a business sense, and enjoyable. The difference going forward will be that the second it starts to become like Facebook, I will switch it off straight away rather than waiting three years.
How Did This Make My Photography Better?
Procrastination is my biggest downfall. Even without the barrage of messages, I am guilty of aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. I have also been known to get distracted by what other photographers are doing, rather than focusing on my own goals. It is still early in my newfound Facebook-free world, but I am more motivated, have more time, and certainly feel less pressured by messages. The only downside is missing out on friends' drunken photos.