What Instagram Can Teach Us About Photography
- 1) Exercise Your Creative Vision Daily
I have just one regret since launching my Instagram account one week ago. I should have started it sooner. The idea manifested simply enough with a plan to share my DSLR camera set-ups, and behind the scenes workshop photos. This has quickly evolved into a hybrid photo journal and mobile scrapbook. Perhaps to make up for lost time, I've added over 50 images thus far. This allowed me to test out the various filters like #Sierra and #Lowfi, along with an impressive set of borders. It's fun to tinker with these, but I'm careful not to overdo the effects.
- 2) Study the Work of Other Great Photographers
Meanwhile, I've enjoyed daily inspiration from professional photographers like Robert Caplin, Clark Little, and the official White House photographer, Pete Souza. These individuals are sharing work from their mobile devices along with photos captured on a DSLR. A true mark of their expertise, it's sometimes difficult to differentiate what device was used for the capture. I believe this is an important reminder for people who are interested in learning photography. The eye of the photographer consistently trumps the gear in their bag.
- 3) Get Your Work Out There
I've read about the recommended hashtag methods to help garner more followers, likes, and comments. For example, if you tag a photo as #instagood there is a chance it'll be seen by more viewers. While this is a valid approach, I have also started to incorporate more specific words like #macro #travel #Canon #nyc #italy. When users search these topics, they can find my images even if they're not following my stream.
- 4) Pictures Are All Around Us
Mobile photography can improve all aspects of your image making. No longer do you have a dedicated time slot to practice your photography. By simply carrying a camera phone, it is more likely that you'll be thinking about making pictures wherever you are. Images can appear anywhere, and more importantly, your senses become sharper.
- 5) Your Life is Newsworthy
You may think no one wants to see a photo of your recent holiday, but the truth is, your Instagram photo can help or inspire others to take their own journey or leap of faith. Documenting your life does not have to be a self-centered pursuit. We are all connected in ways that are not always immediately evident.
- 6) The Moment is Paramount
As a photography teacher, I'm a strong believer is learning all of the technical details of how to control your camera. The ultimate goal is to have the confidence and know-how to go anywhere and have the ability to achieve consistent results in any conditions. Having said that, what truly makes a photo interesting is the subject. With mobile phones, perfect focus is not always possible, especially with fast moving subjects. Even with these imperfections, an interesting moment in time will make for a dynamic photo.
- 7) Histograms are Optional
With today's sophisticated and expensive DSLRs we have come to expect perfection. We carefully meter for the highlights and work to protect them from being "blown out". This is a wise decision most of the time. Of course any good photographer understands that the rules need to be learned, so they can consciously be broken. Letting the highlights go can be an effective way to capture the light.