Dissecting How Social Media Algorithms Diminish Our Creativity as Photographers

Dissecting How Social Media Algorithms Diminish Our Creativity as Photographers

Social media has undeniably dominated a major part of our lifestyle and played an even more irreplaceable role for us to express our opinions on the net. This social media domination has somewhat become both a blessing and a curse for photographers where most of their work is held hostage under the power of the scrolling algorithm. While some photographers may have taken the opportunity to market and broadcast their work to the world, it is still pretty challenging to maintain the utmost creativity and artistic integrity under the influence of the constantly evolving algorithm.

The Main Issue With Algorithm

As photographers, we are firsthand witnesses to the negative impact of social media algorithms. These algorithms are usually designed with the intent to curate content based on popularity, and the obvious side effect of this is obviously the hindered creative process of a photographer and discouraging creative experimentation in photography. This is because photographers have more incentive to shift their focus from creative intent to the pursuit of likes and engagement for the sake of publicity.

The direct consequence of this algorithm is the homogenization of visual narratives. As the algorithm tends to favor mainstream appeal, which indirectly coerces photographers into producing visuals of a similar outlook. This will then slowly discourage individuality that was once defined as the photographer’s unique appeal. Personally, it is a rather sad paradox. The very platforms that were meant to amplify our voices have become conduits for visual monotony that threatens to erode the vibrant spectrum of photographic expression.

A Possible Solution

While we as photographers are constantly struggling to win over the ever-losing battle with the ever-evolving algorithm constraints, there are workaround strategies or solutions that might assist photographers to ease the entire situation. Firstly, photographers can work towards cultivating a dedicated audience that values the effort put into the artistry behind the lens. Building a community that appreciates the nuances of your work can provide a refuge from the algorithm storm for your audience and also yourself as a creator, which ultimately helps your unique vision to grow in a group of healthy communities.

Diversifying your online presence into multiple platforms and beyond mainstream social media platforms is also one of the ways to win over the algorithm. Establishing a personal website or utilizing photography-focused platforms such as Fstoppers or Flickr will provide a more controlled environment for photographers to shine. Hence, shielding your portfolio and artwork from all the algorithm interference that hides your work in favor of those trendy works.


In conclusion, as photographers, our battle against the social media algorithm is an urgent call to action. Specifically, a call to preserve the diversity and individuality, which are the pillars that make our art form so profound. By resisting the algorithmic pressure and cultivating a niche community, I strongly believe that we can rekindle the flame of creativity that burns within each frame.

As we navigate through this digital terrain, one question remains suspended in the air. Can we photographers truly break ourselves free from all the algorithm shackles, or will the pursuit of likes and engagement continue to mold the narrative of visual storytelling? The answer lies in the hands of those creators capturing the world through their lens. This will be an endless open-ended debate echoing the very uncertainty that defines the evolving landscape of photography in the digital age.

Zhen Siang Yang's picture

Yang Zhen Siang is a commercial photographer specialising in architecture, food and product photography. He help businesses to present themselves through the art of photography, crafting visually appealing and outstanding images that sells.

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I have started hitting a few of the algorithms on FB, mainly with costal subjects. With coastal photography being a flooded genre, this pushes me to be more creative and to bring something unique to the table. I do my photo beach trips (something that I love) in the winter for one, less people and seems to produce better sunrises and sunsets. One of my favorite shots is of lighthouses from a distance with the 600mm f/4. In my case, I have found something that works for me and I love doing it. It will take a few years to complete my coastal collection but I do look forward to every step of the way. I have found this also has brought a lot more attention to my wildlife and landscape collections. So for me this has been a win. Just a perspective, I think additional attention is good and in some ways it can help us evolve.

You are not wrong. and I also believe algorithms are there for a reason. To help the platform grow or even retain its users. If your type of genre catches attention, I am pretty sure the algorithm will work your way to pull even more audience. And by leveraging the algorithm and go deeper into your genre, I am pretty sure you can stand out at the same time grow your followings. To me personally it didn't really work out because some of my work is really niche and also the format limitation of mobile device. Which is why I have been slowing down on my social media posting more rather to just focus on my own work collections.

All the best in completing your coastal collection! 100% rooting for you

Thank you for your response and best of luck on your collections! What has worked the best for me over time is consistently posting quality content. It's not about a flood of photos, it's posting that one quality photo a day. This has helped me at growing a following over time and a higher engagement. I am no major player on social media by any means but I do have consistent growth that helps bring value to my work. Great article and I can see how it really comes down to whatever might be someone's specific niche. It has been a ride hitting the algorithms, enhancing my exposure by nearly 20x. I try not to put myself in a box and I'm not letting it sway my interest in other areas. But I can see how it is tempting to do all you can to stay on that wave. It has been additional motivation for my winter weekend trips to the coast at least.

As long we we all remember our roots and doing it in the name of passion I think all the noises don’t really matter and the best part the gains from algorithm will just be a bonus.. and one thing that I’ve also learned throughout my journey is to make sure that your series of work grow with you and your audience that way it doesn’t just remain stagnant but grow itself sustainably one photo after another