Three Reasons to Stay Off Instagram

Three Reasons to Stay Off Instagram

Since's Instagram's inception, there have been countless arguments by creatives for and against the social media platform. Here are three reasons why you should get off and stay off Instagram.

1. It Wasn't Made for Photographers

The social media platform was not made for photographer use, like Flickr or 500px. Yes, it was originally crated as a photo-sharing site. But that doesn't necessarily make it the best for photographers and artists. Its crop proportions are not optimized for photographers to best share their work, either. And the most-liked image on Instagram right now is of an egg; Need I say more?

2. It's Not Curated by a Photography-Focused World

Instagram is great because of its democratic nature, but this seemingly has led to one massive popularity contest. Rather than editorial or even commercial spaces and publications being curated by highly-trained and artistic eyes, the most successful Instagram posts and accounts usually follow some sort of unoriginal trend or theme. What's popular on Instagram photographically is not necessarily the most original or artistically the best. 

3. Its Terms of Use Is Sub-Par

It should be noted (and definitely has been in the past) that when you post images to Instagram, you're immediately giving up rights to the image. You still have ownership, but Instagram can do what it pleases with your content. From Instagram's Terms of Use:

We do not claim ownership of your content, but you grant us a license to use it. Nothing is changing about your rights in your content. We do not claim ownership of your content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our Service, you hereby grant to us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings). You can end this license anytime by deleting your content or account. However, content will continue to appear if you shared it with others and they have not deleted it.

What's the point of spending countless hours on a series of photographs just to have the license of those images completely stripped from you?


As photographers and creatives, maybe it's time to boycott this social media platform. Its culture has given way to influencers and professional Instagrammers who, most of the time, merely exploit an algorithm and follow popular rules to gain fame and attention. It's not compatible to professional photographers or aspiring professionals creating a living. And honestly, I'm guilty because I'm still on the site. But as time goes on I've begun to share less and less photos, and certainly not my best (as I'm not ready for the rights to be released on those...). I'm thinking that within the next few days the time will come to delete my Instagram account altogether. What are your thoughts? Should we part with Instagram as photographers or stay on the boat?

Lead photo by NeONBRAND via Unsplash.

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Previous comments

Instagram is MUCH better than Flickr, and 500pix (haven't tried any others). I'm a film shooter, and I follow both others shooting film, and film-related hashtags, on Instagram. It's fantastic, the amount of quality work, from small to large format, that people post. And by people from around the world. Who knew people in rural China were shooting film? Nothing else even comes close to it, and it really makes me work to up my game.