When writing my previous How To Not Be A Photographer I realized I did not do proper justice to the form of iPhone Photography that I loath the absolute most. While I did briefly cover editing on a cell phone in that article I fell I should be more in depth about a certain editing app that in my personal opinion has earned many people a special place in the photography nether. That app is Instagram.
The concept behind Instagram is pretty cool, I’ll admit. Take a photo, make sure it’s not bad, and share it with everyone. That’s pretty neat, but that is were my admiration ends. When I first found out about Instagram I held the previous sentiment, really only having an issue with the sheer number of people who were posting “vintage” photography. That sentiment instantly changed once I found out that it wasn’t just those people, it was the entire point of Instagram, to create “memorable photos” (translation: Add filters to all photos). My issue with this come from a major issue I’ve begun to have with photographers lately, who seem to think that ever image should look “retro”. This is insane. Yes, some photos look good when they’ve been made to look like they were taken half a century ago, but not every photo should look like this. Same as with my previous article, my biggest issue came from seeing colleagues start to use Instagram as their portfolio.
I’ve had a colleague argue with me over this point, trying to justify it saying that as photographers we should only shoot styles that are popular to ensure everyone likes our work. So why not shoot with the current style? Several reasons.
1) Versatility and Adaptability
Reading down to this point it might seem that I have a bias against this, in favor of my own style of shooting and editing. This is not the case, however. My problem with this ideology and things such as Instagram is that there is no room for creativity or profitability. If you limit yourself to only making these types of images, you are essentially eliminating most of your prospective clients. You should be able to showcase a wide range of style and ability, even as a specialty photographer, and what ability you do not have you should be able to learn. These traits and abilities mark a truly great photographer, not keeping up with style and trends.
2) Quality and Control
I will not iterate on these aspects too much as I covered them more in depth in my previous How To Not Be A Photographer. But suffice to say, iPhone photography lacks the ability to retain high quality images as well as lacks anyway of really controlling a shot.
3) Sheepling (the act of doing what someone tells you because others are doing it)
This is very annoying, and should never be encouraged. If you are just learning photography, it is fine to try to imitate what is popular and photography styles of others. But you really need to develop a style of your own, one that sets you apart from the rest. As I said in the first point being versatile is a great mark. That is why things such as Instagram are so terrible for photographers. The idea of only taking images that look similar to others because it’s “cool” is a novelty idea that hinders all creativity in photography.