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March 25, 2016

Let’s Talk About Instagram…

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 9.25.36 PM

I love Instagram. I really love it. I can see photos of just about anything I want good photos bad photos any kind of photo about any kind of thing. If I search correctly. I can see people’s lives play out before me. The wins the losses the good (sometimes bad if people are honest) the crazy and the adventures. I can see the mom with 3 kids that I love post photos of the crazy antics they get up too and feel connected even when I’m not there. My friends can stay up to date with me and my journey in life be it Northern Ireland, London or New York. I can share what’s inspired me, made me feel loved, what makes me sad and I can bring focus to the wins of others.

A while ago I decided to separate my Instagram feed from all on my ‘personal’ account to ‘personal’ and ‘work’ so now I have 2 accounts. I did this because when researching how to ‘break out’ into the creative world more especially in New York I read about separating your accounts. How some people don’t want to see your personal life just your work life and others only want to see your personal life and not your work life.

The issue for me is that. Well, my work life is personal. I know many photographers who feel the same way. My ‘work’ life is images that have meant something to me, inspired me, moved me, that I’m proud of, they say something, do something and are something. I usually put hours into these images, be it a wedding, family shoot, purely creative. And you know even those coffee shots yeah I make my husband wait around to drink his coffee so I can take a photo (and believe me that’s a sacrifice for him) that marks a working date or whatever. I make him wait so I can take a photo that does 2 things. 1 – makes me happy when I look at it because it’s a memory and a marker. 2 – hopefully doesn’t offend anyone on my ‘work’ feed.

As I was sitting reading a post I got sent by Snapwire about how to increase your Instagram following it hit me. I was reading about branding my Instagram (valid point yes, I need to know my style. My style is creative) Then about cohesiveness. If I use a filter for one image I should for all of my images. And thats great in theory. I LOVE looking at Instagram feeds that are beautiful and clean. Seriously Dana Walton is my current favourite. But can someone please explain to me why I would want to take a beautiful naturally lit portrait of a person and make it look like a photo of a cup of coffee? Just so it looks cohesive and people will follow me? Don’t get me wrong there are certain things I do to every image. But how they look for each image is different.

I don’t know I’m not disagreeing I totally see and learnt from the points they made. But it made me sad. It made me realise something I already knew that too often it has become about how your photos are portrayed to get the biggest number of followers you can rather than how much you love your job and how you are expressing yourself creatively. I can’t possibly take a photo of a creative Marie Antoinette themed shoot and make it fit with a wedding photo. Granted they are very different things and I’m a bit of a have your finger in all the pies photographer. But that’s changing. And that certainly doesn’t mean that my Instagram feed will be become a wall of images that are the same. I may be a wedding and family photographer but I am also a creative. I love to shoot creatively and that’s where my creative nature thrives. It thrives in creativity in beauty in testing and trying new things. I love to shoot anything and I’m not going to change who I am to suit my Instagram feed.

I sat writing this and I remembered reading a photographers post on Instagram one day – screen shot below. And at the time I was like yeah that’s awesome! But didn’t think much about it until now.

Maybe someday my images will all have that ‘Instagram cohesive’ quality and that will be great. For those who have that now I applaud you. Your work looks great and you are crushing it on Instagram. Seriously. But I’m just not there. For the time being however I’m gonna keep posting the images I love. The ones that don’t look the same. The ones that matter to me. And if I get there then great. But I’ve decided a huge following doesn’t mean anything to me if I’m not staying true to myself. And I’m not going to feel bad that my Instagram doesn’t have that look, or quality or feel that the others do. Because it’s a little like me. Busy, messy, and real.

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