Cell phones are everywhere these days; they have become the backbone of human communication. As most of these devices are equipped with cameras, people are now able to take pictures of their surroundings easily. The result has been a renewed interest in photography as people document their lives in pictures and share them on the Internet.
What Instagram Does
Instagram is one of the social media tools that has helped make photography and sharing pictures easier. It also allows amateur photographers to take pictures and to alter how they look with the use of filters. These filters may be used to add effects like borders and lens flares in order to give an image the feel of older analog photographs. It has democratized photojournalism and art so that all an individual needs is a camera to be able to share his viewpoint. This is not welcome news in some quarters.
Photo Credit: Instagram
Criticism of Instagram
Some of Instagram’s critics claim that the addition of filters actually distorts photographs and takes away from the stories that they tell. They are also quick to point out that using filters on bad, amateurish pictures does not automatically turn them into good ones. Some also see the widespread fondness for filters as an unnecessary step back into the time before digital photography. Other critics feel that access to cheap filtering technology cheapens photography in the same way that some journalists see the ease of publishing online as lessening professional journalism. In many cases, the filters replicate analog effects that used to take expertise and hours of work to implement. These filters allow effects to be applied with a single click.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Another argument is that the work of serious photographers is devalued simply by the volume of pictures posted on the Internet every day. Photographs were once rarities because up until recently, it took multiple steps to create a picture. In the present era, people can have thousands of pictures documenting even the most mundane aspects of their lives.
Benefits of Instagram for Amateur Photographers
While it may be true that filters do not improve picture quality, Instagram’s critics should note that they might help nonprofessional photographers to pay attention to important elements like lighting and composition. Additionally, the fact is that each person’s circumstance is unique; by taking pictures, they are documenting events that have never been documented before at any point in history. It should be noted that even the most mundane pictures are documenting parts of people’s lives; things that may be important to them. They are special because they capture moments that will never occur again. It can be argued that tools like Instagram have allowed photography to reach a far greater range of people than it would have otherwise. These tools offer platforms for creativity and expression, allowing millions of people to tell their own stories and to share their own perspectives. The fact is that Instagram can (if used properly) make amateur photographs more polished and professional looking. Digital photography allows numerous pictures to be taken and the best ones selected. Tools like Instagram allow them to be edited and made even better.
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Instagram’s Benefits for Professional Photographers
Serious photographers should note that while Instagram may be popular with amateurs, it also provides an excellent tool for sharing work that is of a higher quality. A professional photographer can use it to build an audience and have their work seen. It offers a platform for pros to experiment and have fun with photography as well as for them to publish quality pictures. While it is not a platform for selling images, it does allow photographers to promote their businesses and many have been successful in using it to get their names out to the world.
Instagram’s Rights to Sell its Users’ Pictures
Instagram’s latest terms of service appears to give the them the right to sell their users’ photographs at will. When the TOS was updated its current form, it sparked a panic with many users believing that this was exactly what they intended to do. However, it has since been shown that this is far from likely. Many of the more drastic scenarios (such as the company grabbing pictures of users’ children to make ads) would probably be illegal. Users should note that Instagram does not have the right to sell their pictures, nor do they have the right to modify them. They do have the right to copy them, but they have always had that.
Few would argue that Instagram users are setting out to create brilliant works of art or award-winning photojournalistic pieces. Instead of viewing this social media service as a threat to professional photography, it may be viewed as a way to capture significant life moments. As it trains the eyes of amateur photographers, it will improve their skills; in turn, this can spur professionals on to creating even better pictures.