Tag Archives: social media marketing

Is Instagram Bad For Photography?

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.

instagram logo

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.

instagram filters collage

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.

instagram food pictures

Photo Credit: Fine Dining Lovers

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.

 

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Marketing Tip: Social Networking

I am excited to write my first DigiLabs blog today, especially because of the topic:  social networking.  Ya, I know everyone is talking about it, but it really is a great way to market your business.   I must admit that I am addicted to social networking too… I panicked when the electricity in Palo Alto (the home of DigiLabs and Facebook) went out for a WHOLE day .  My first thought was, “Will Facebook be online?”  Having said that, I am surprised at how many photographers ask, “Is blogging and Facebook really worth it?”, so my answer to all of you is ABSOLUTELY.  Here is why:

  1. Getting to know you. With growing competition, you must make sure that clients see something different in you.  A great way to stand out is to let your customers get to know you for the person you are rather than as a business. Share your thoughts, work, and life and let potential clients feel that they know and trust you before ever even meeting with you. It is a careful balance of personal and professional but be yourself.  Creating a personal relationship is vital for a photographer whose job is to capture someone’s most personal and intimate moments.  Social networking makes this personal connection (before you even meet!) easy and cost-effective. You are reaching people who you don’t even know exist.
  2. In front of customers 24-7. Social networking is  growing fast, people like to research companies and follow them online. Some estimates claim that 77% of active internet users read blogs, which amount to approximately 133 million people. Twitter sees about 3 million tweets a day and Facebook has over 200 million active users. That is a lot of people! With that comes plenty of opportunities to gain new customers and grow your business. This is a means of communication that  enhances business interactions of the past.
  3. In sight and in mind. We have all heard of the saying – out of site out of mind, and these days you better believe it.  Social networking lets you easily stay in touch with a broad customer base for a minor bit of your time.  (okay, if you blog a lot, that time can really add up) Staying in your clients’ lives will not only ensure their future business but it actually can be a source for great referral work… and we all know how important word of mouth marketing is!

Okay, so I know you are thinking, “Great, so I can do all of these great things, but how do I get people to actually read it?”  Here are some ideas for you:

  1. Make sure that your marketing activities are connected. When you post a new blog, make sure to tweet about it and post it on your Facebook. Add your Facebook, Twitter and blog links to your email marketing activities and to your website. Always include a link for easy access.
  2. When you blog, think about how you can improve your organic search rankings.  Blogs are a great organic search (SEO) tool.  Make sure you use relevant keywords (top priority is making sure the content is relevant for the reader) and provide links back to your website.
  3. Comment or post on your clients’ Facebook pages or comment on their tweets. Don’t spam them, that is a sure way to turn off potential clients.  Instead, make relevant comments or complement them on the activities going on in their lives.  Make sure the content is relevant.
  4. Stay involved in the online professional photographer community. Visit others blogs and Facebook pages. Make relevant comments and/or posts.  This will both increase your exposure and keep you up-to-date with what is going on in the industry.
  5. Keep your Facebook, Twitter, and blogs fresh and interesting by posting and updating them often. This will help with gaining loyal followers.

Are you interested in blogging?  Here are a few of my favorites:

Ben Chrisman Photography

I love reading this blog – there are some great stories about Ben and Erin’s fun couples. Of course, the photos are breathtaking and once in a while it allows me to pretend (for ten minutes) that I am sitting on a beach somewhere in Mexico or Greece.

Erin Henssion Photography

I love Erin’s blog for its fun atmosphere. I think the saying “sharing is caring” was said just for her. Erin tells her reader, in a very personal manner, everything that happened at the event. After reading a few of Erin’s blog post, I now think of her as a friend.  She is the best at including some personal photos, such as family holiday happenings, her furry friends – all with great background stories.

Pheewww, okay I rest my case. My parents always tell me that I was meant to be a lawyer. So if you have any questions (or I just haven’t convinced you), I would love to hear from you.

Chat with you here again…and of course keep on following our blog… and make sure to become our friends on Facebook and Twitter.

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