How Does Social Media Effect Photographers?
Often when we think of modern photography, our minds are drawn to digital versus old school film. But with the rise of digital photography, we are also faced with the rise of social media. How does social media effect photographers?
Social media has created a visual platform for photographers that has never before existed. Amateur photographers from all over the world now have an avenue to have their work viewed and critiqued, and they can even build a fan club! This is an amazing new development for photographers. Work that before just hung on the walls of the hobbyists that created it can now be viewed by more than thousands worldwide.
This can shorten the learning curve for photography too. With so many photos online and so many photographic communities, photographers have instant access to constructive criticism from their peers and superiors. And, as many of us are our own worst critics, we can gain more confidence through critique and affirmation of our work online. But with all this positive impact, is social media a bed of roses?
The New York Times stated in an article entitled, Photos, Photos Everywhere that “The growth in the number of photos taken each year is exponential: It has nearly tripled since 2010 and is projected to grow to 1.3 trillion by 2017.” That’s a lot of photos! So how does this impact the photographer? Well, it’s basic economics: supply and demand. The photographer must work that much harder to have a unique and marketable product, which brings me to my main point…
Click Bait Photography
With so many photos online, we are now faced with Click Bait Photography. Social media is, by nature, a flash in the pan. When a photo is put on Facebook or Instagram, for example, it has only a window of time that it will be viewed in your followers’ feed. Photographers too quickly have bought into putting their worth in the amount of likes that a certain photo receives. And the pressure to keep up, has caused many a photographer to neglect actually enjoying their work. It reminds of the lyrics from Billy Joel’s The Entertainer,
Today I am your champion
I may have won your hearts
But I know the game, you’ll forget my name
And I won’t be here in another year
If I don’t stay on the charts
Some of you may remember the 80’s. For those of you who are too young to remember, I’m sure you have seen photographs: the big hair, red lipstick, huge earrings, big glasses, bright colors, big shoulder pads…Wow! The list could go on. Needless to say, the 80’s were big. The styles date themselves to that particular decade too. I fear that some of our modern photography could be headed toward that same future of being stuck in a particular era.
Our photography has gotten big. We not only have the amazing capabilities of digital cameras, but we also have Photoshop; and we have learned how to produce some amazing pictures with it. The more amazing our photography is, the more likes our photos will generate, because who doesn’t get stopped in their tracks when they see a photo popping off their screen as they scroll through their social media feed?
Be intentional about your art. Don’t just “wow” people with your editing capabilities. Good composition and good storytelling are vital for interesting 2-dimensional art. And now that we can process our photographs in ways that were never before possible, enhancing composition and storytelling is easier than ever.
For example, when adding leaf overlays (or any overlays for that matter), think of how it will effect the composition. Will it add to it, or take away from it? Showering your image with leaves, may just make your photo too busy! Be intentional.
Below I have an example of a simple client photo in which I added leaf overlays.
As you can see I was sparing in my use of them. I wanted to keep the focus on my subject’s adorable expression, so I created a triangular composition that keep’s the eye always coming back to the little boy’s face. I have the composition outlined below.
Here is another example of an intentional addition. In this photograph, I took the hat from another shot during this session, and added it for both an element of composition and story. Below is the before and after. As you can see, this is also a triangular composition, that keeps drawing the eyes back to the subjects and their activity.
My final example is of a composition utilizing light. As you can see below, the SOOC (straight out of camera) has the natural leading lines from my daughter’s eyes to the car. The crook of her elbow keeps your eyes within the photo’s frame, again creating a triangular composition. My addition of light in this photo amplifies the composition and really causes those shadows to recede into the background and bring out the subject.
Composition and storytelling keep the viewer looking. So, don’t succumb to creating loud photos just to get attention. Set your sights higher than the social media news feed. Create art. Make beautiful photographs that draw people in again and again. I think we will all find that these are the photographs that withstand the test of time.
Sonya Adcock is a fine art photographer based in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania. She specializes in artistic child photography. Sonya’s artwork has been featured in Photography Monthly Magazine, Digital SLR Magazine, and Redbook Magazine. In the hectic pace of a digital era, her artwork encourages you to slow down and remember the joys and magic of childhood.
For the photographer, Sonya will be releasing photo editing tutorials, actions, and overlays. Please join our Mailing List to be notified of future release dates. Or you can subscribe to her weekly Blog for tips on photography and photo editing.
Sonya’s artwork is also available to purchase. Please Contact her to learn more.
If you are interested in family portraits for you or someone you love, be sure view our Investment Page. Sonya Adcock Photography offers high quality prints and products for display. Some of our products include gallery wrapped canvases, albums and framed prints, as well as other unique memorabilia. We also offers digital files for sale, so you can print your images as you like.
Your memories are timeless. Sonya Adcock Photography would be delighted to work with you. Book your family portrait photography session today!