Instagram and Photography: Thoughts
60 Million Photos per day: 200 Million Active Monthly Users : 20 Billion photos shared
What is it about Instagram that is a must for photographers when DSLR’s are pushing 40 MP with huge RAW files and powerful processing tools can do almost anything you want to a photograph? Instagram images measure approximately 2″x2″ and are small by any standard. Many images are shot with an in-camera phone and, at small resolutions, can be quite remarkable in quality and content. Other images on Instagram, not so much:) So why should you share your photos on Instagram?
One word. Engagement.
First I’ll start with the notion that most people view IG images on their mobile device and not a 20″+ perfectly calibrated monitor in ideal light for viewing. This idea alone will kill the thought that every little detail matters on an IG image. Perfect tones don’t matter as much as an image being prepped for printing. At the same time, good light looks good anywhere and always stands out in an image, regardless of the size. You can find more on Part 1.
Images certainly are made for presenting on a larger scale than a small, 1:1 image on Instagram. If you have the faintest doubt of this, go see a photography gallery in your area. There’s something special about standing in front of a 100″+ wide image of a mountain range or ocean. But there’s also something special about envisioning yourself there in real life. Remembering some time you had in a similar place or dreaming about an upcoming trip. That small daily reminder can come from a 2″ image on your phone as you fall asleep at night or as you drink your coffee on a Thursday morning while brainstorming your weekend plans. Galleries can’t do that. They don’t even come close. (Part 2 and Part 4 explore this a bit more).
To see those images of a mountain range, or a person standing on the coast of Oregon or a person skiing in perfect snow, you need to want to see those images. So you follow people who share those interests. You search for #sierranevada or #oregon and soon discover others who post pictures of the Sierra Nevada on a regular basis. If you’re the photographer who shares images of the Sierra Nevada, you’ve just connected with someone based on their personal interest. Now think of it from a company’s (advertising) perspective. Wouldn’t you love your customers to find out about you based on their interest? Isn’t this the goal? A bonding emotional connection with your customer? (See Part 3)
A final thought about Instagram and photography revolves around the words “the camera points both ways.” If you aim to inspire others you’ll need some inspiration yourself. If you’ve been inspired, you probably want to share that with someone else. And here’s the real kicker with Instagram: Those “others” or “likes” are actually people! Yes, real people who share similar passions or interests that you do!
It’s actually quite simple when you think about it all. Consistent and engaging images that strengthen your emotional connection to your viewer. This is what photography is all about, but we’re not necessarily talking about photography, are we? :)
Thanks and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. You can also find me @ericephoto on Instagram.