I just read a thought-provoking article on Fstoppers.com. It’s called “Are you harnessing the full power of Instagram“. I will be the first to admit that I have always had a bias against Instagram. Maybe because I’m over 40, have had my fill of peoples’ “selfies”, or because it’ s one more thing that takes time away from my actual photography.
First, you have to be able to take good photographs, then comes the learning curve of Photoshop to make those good photographs great (yes, it’s better to get it right in-camera but some finishing touches can make a big difference). If you want to show those images to other people you will need to choose a portfolio site like SmugMug or Flickr or 500pix and join the relevant communities. Don’t forget that you need you own website (gulp), Facebook page, google+ profile, etc. All of these activities take time, both to create and maintain.
So, it was a complete shock to me when I read Dave’s article and became curious about Instagram. The article inspired me to think about using Instagram as a creative outlet. I’m always looking for photographs, even if I don’t have my DSLR with me. I don’t expect my Instagram images to compete with the landscape or wildlife images that I have carefully crafted and polished. I don’t expect anyone to want to purchase my images. But there’s a freedom in that. I use Flickr as a more relaxed platform for my images. And I love how some of the Flickr groups have given me inspiration to look for images other than those that fit a criteria of “would I hang that on my wall?”.
I realize that other people use Instagram purely for profit or to gain followers, etc. and I’m sure that some Instagrammers put as much effort into their images as I do when I lug around my tripod and DSLR gear. More power to them. But I think that I’ll use it to challenge myself to take photographs of things that interest me. I’ll have to think about the square format and go without post-processing besides what is available within Instagram itself. Sounds like fun! Besides, have you seen how adorable my dogs are? Check out my Instagram page over the next few weeks and you’ll probably find out!