For the past 2 years I refused to join Instagram. I just didn't think it was for me, I didn't believe I need it for my business and I just didn't like the idea of destroying my photos by cropping them and adding weird filters. So many people tried to convince me to join Instagram in the past year or two, and I always said "No chance!" But finally, after continuing insistence by friends, last month I decided to finally give it a try and just one week later, I got my first corporate client from it. Kind of crazy.
Instagram? Not For Me
I'm always one of the first people to try out new services, especially when it comes to photography. I signed up for Flickr when it was still a tiny website with only a few users. I signed up for Facebook way before it became popular. I can say the same for 500px and so many other services. For some reason (quite few of them as it turns out) I always refused to try Instagram. I always saw it as a platform for amateurs to share their not-so-great work. I thought I deserved better than this. For the past few years I built a big community of people who follow my work on my Facebook Page, and believed I don't really need to also join a service that crops my photos into a square, and adds filters to them, and basically presents my photos not in their best light.
After a lot of pressure from my friends, and after being annoyed by having clients/celebrities tagging me on there without even being on Instagram, I decided to just join. To just give it a chance.
Giving Instagram a Chance
All I have posted so far are a lot of random photos - some taken with my iPhone, and some taken with my Nikon D800. Some show behind the scenes of my photo shoots, some show my family and friends, and some show my actual work. Oh yeah, and of course some photos of the food I eat, after all this is what Instagram is really for, right?
I have to say, Instagram is not as bad as I expected it to be. Actually I find myself seeing it's the opposite: it's kind of cool. I feel like I can share more random stuff without being too annoying, unlike Facebook where I try to post only 1 or 2 times a day in order to not be that annoying spammy guy. I also have different crowds and different people seeing my work. People who never see (or care about) what I post on Facebook or Flickr, now see and like my images on Instagram. Without working hard, my work is being seen by more new potential clients, or at least by their friends or family members (which is as important).
First Client After One Week Of Instagramming
After posting only about 40 photos, I got an email from a corporate client. A new client. They told me they started following my work on Instagram and wanted to hire me to shoot for them. My reaction? "Wait. What?!" One week of posting very random stuff brings me paying clients? That's insane. I currently have only 200 followers - who knows what can happen when (/if) I have 3K, 7K or 10K of them. Just think about it.
Yes, I know it might have been just pure luck, who knows. Only time will tell if it was a one-time thing or not. I hope not.
The fact I got a paying client after such a short time on the service proves me I was totally wrong about it. Maybe it's not showing my work at its best, but it exposes it to so many new people and markets. I admit. I was wrong.
"O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Instagram."
(Props to those of you who recognize the quote above.)