Is Instagram good for photojournalists? This is a question that has been asked by us all at some point or another when we signed up for the service from our iPhones. The Beast members started Instagramming while it was still a fairly new app and we have grown as photographers with Instagram at our sides. The image gallery in this post is of each Beast contributor’s first Instagram post. As you can see from the variety of our first Instagram images, we joined to stay connected with friends and because it was fun. From those early app days, to its purchase by Facebook, to it being adopted by major news agencies, the service has grown by leaps and bounds.
The recent brouhaha over changes to the terms of service is a good example of why photographers should be wary about where they post their images to social media. Like with anything there are pros and cons.
With Instagram the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Instagram gives power to you as a photographer. Power to interact with fans and potential clients on a direct and more personal level with your own images, but also the power to interact with other’s images on their Instagram.
Instagram is where you can really get a sense of who a photographer is from their work. It is a venue where you can post not only your best portfolio quality work, but also a safe place to showcase the smaller, more intimate images that you make during the course of your daily life. It is those personal glimpses into photographer’s lives that sets it apart from other photographic outlets.
Beyond this, it gives you the power of speed. With just a few taps on your phone and a couple seconds your image is out in the world for all to see. Like Twitter before it, this is something that will change the way we report spot news. When Hurricane Sandy hit, many publications flocked to Instagram to license images for use in publications, but as mentioned in yesterdays post, Time took it one step further. They actually hired their own photojournalists to Instagram Sandy for them.
This is a trend that will not just continue, but pick up steam as more and more publications see the value in the speed and access that mobile media provides.
Other photographers such as Michael Mullady @mullady and Richard Koci Hernadez @koci have gotten thousands upon thousands of followers by posting their work on Instagram. The body of work they have created on Instagram is truly remarkable. If you ever need some inspiration their feeds are always sure to jog your creativity.
For Multimedia Beast, Instagram is a fun and valuable tool that we each use everyday to show our work and to see what others have done. Like most photojournalists out there though, we are still figuring out exactly what we would like to get out of it. Followers, likes, freelance work, or just using it for fun? Whatever the reason, anything that keeps you out there making images is a good thing and if you can pick up a gig or two from it, then that’s just the icing on the cake.