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What next for photography in the age of Instagram?

What next for photography in the age of Instagram?
What next for photography in the age of Instagram?
Photography has come quite a long way from where it was in the 1990s when digital photography was only just starting to become a thing. Back then, film photography was considered the superior form of photography and digital photography was too expensive for all but the deepest pockets to afford. Even the elite professionals looked down on digital photography and held their film kits close. Most photographers who practiced commercially worked with medium format and that is something that you simply couldn't find in digital photography.

In just about 30 years, digital photography has come a long way from that. "Now, even your basic DSLR has specs an amateur wouldn't even know what to do with," says Azzad Kassim, a photographer at an assignment writing service.

There is plenty of new technology out there, including mirrorless cameras, which reduced the bulk that photographers have to deal with when they're carrying advanced kits around with them.

"And then, of course, we have smartphones, which have such great quality cameras and produce such great quality images that practically anyone can become a photographer now with nothing but the phone as their main tool," says Zaza Hadid of BestDissertation.

The Instant Gratification Phenomenon

One of the buzzwords that came with the age of Instagram is "instant gratification". This is the ability to get what you want now, without having to exert any effort or exercise any patience. Digital photography certainly allows that. You don't have to wait for the film to be developed anymore. Now you get immediate results and see the work of our hands without having to wait too long. You can also take as many photos as you want without ever having to worry about running out of a film. Keep going until you get the perfect shot. You also don't have to deal with any of the worries that traditional photographers had to deal with, such as overexposed film, or spots in their lenses, or that there were too many blinking people in their photographs.

"There's definitely a lot more demand on the way professionals conduct their business now," says Caroline Weying, a creative director working for an Australian writings service. "Most clients want to know how the photo was immediately you take it. They want to get around your camera or laptop to see the results."

This is a great boon for art directors because then they can make changes in real time since they're getting instant feedback. For a photographer, it means you get plenty of opportunities to experiment.

Changing Professional Standards

Of course, there have been numerous advancements that have come with digital photography. However, there have also been challenges. For example, it's very hard now to be able to tell the difference between a professional photographer and an amateur. Anyone can buy a good DSLR camera, launch a website, gain a following on Instagram, and suddenly call themselves a professional and charge for their photography services.

Of course, this isn't to say that all amateurs are bad. The fact that the playing field has been somewhat leveled means we get to see some amazing work from amateurs who would otherwise have never been able to get their work out there. Another thing to note is that it's also possible for everyone to get at least one photo right when they have a good camera. If we measured someone's skill by their very best photo, then everyone would be a phenomenal photographer. However, a few good pictures here and there don't count for much in the world of professional photography. What really matters is your ability to produce consistently good work and on demand for that matter. A professional photographer is only as good as his or her worst photo.

It also matters how able you are to handle your work. How well do you work with your clients? Can you bring their vision alive? How quickly do you react to briefs? Can you run your business efficiently and look after your employees? All of those are important to being a good professional photographer regardless of how good your equipment is. That much has not been changed by technology.

The Industry is not dead

"There are lots of so-called professional out there, who don't have the training or the skills to really pull it off. They are making the rest of us look bad and cheapening out work," says Pamela Hardy, a photographer at Assignment Geeks Australia.

"It's an art thing. Whenever the basic tools are made available and everyone has access, then everyone assumes they can just do it without putting in the work. It's the same with the writing industry, which is where I work," says James Kraft, a writer at BestEssays.

Of course, this doesn't mean that every photographer who wants to be a professional should go through the traditional kind of training, or that they should have the ultimate kind of kit, but it's important to have standards for the industry that everyone, especially newcomers, is going to follow. Everyone should be able to meet the standard of the images in their portfolio on demand, they should maintain their kits well and have a plan B for every contingency; they should be able to work with clients, and they should be able to translate the visions of those clients. That should something everyone who aspires to be professional aspires to. Before you start charging for your services, make sure you offer services worth charging for.

Be Courageous

Photography has become so ubiquitous with the age of Instagram that just about everyone is taking photos these days and sharing them on social media and other places. Filters are also very common and so people have become more and more filter blind.

However, while fads go in and out of fashion, good photography never does. When you look at the work of great photographers from the 50s and 60s it looks just as good today as it didn't then, even though they had far fewer resources than we have today. They didn't have filters, either, and no amount of filters will turn a poor image into a good one anyway.

Focus on developing your skills and coming up with a distinct style you can call your own. It will pay off in the long run.

Sara Williams is an editor, journalist, writer from San Jose. She likes to read the world classics, traveling, to engage in yoga. Almost all spare time she spares to reading. Meet her on Linkedin and Twitter.

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