A lot of dedicated professional photographers gripe about how everyone with a camera thinks they are a photographer. They also moan about the changes digital cameras and social media have brought to the medium without recognizing the great freedom digital photography and new media bring. Magnum Photos is a photo agency that beautifully embraces the old and the new, and has been able to adapt to such shifting foundations in photography. Here are a few tips from Magnum photographers regarding how to use Instagram.
“Before, when I was hired by magazines, there were certain parameters. The director of photography had to like you and then the editor had to like him or her and then the publisher had to worry about the advertisers – so you’re essentially three people removed from your audience. The magazine has an audience but the photographer’s only audience is the people who hired them. So that’s why I like Instagram, and social media in general, because you do what you want to do and you create your own little world, you have complete control. If you do something interesting, you’re going to attract an audience of some kind. Whoever loves you actually loves you, they don’t love National Geographic or the Sunday Times, they love you. And if that audience grows, you’re doing something right.” – David Alan Harvey
Personal VS. professional: find your line
“I try to be generous with my work and life and to communicate to as broad an audience as possible. For instance, my mum follows me on Instagram and likes to look at it to see where I am, what I am doing and what my kids are up to – very few followers are as important as her, so I post those types of photos for her to see. In the same breath, photographers like to see the latest ‘keeper’ photo that I might be pleased with, or the book or camera I am using, and so on. I think these images and thoughts are all worth sharing. I like an eclectic mix of everything as it gives a more revealing window into my life.” – Matt Stuart.
Treat it like your sketchbook
“I use Instagram as a sketchbook/scrapbook of my life, so maybe it has loosened me up a bit and made me share more than I would usually with my serious work. I think it is the most social of social media apps as pictures communicate so instantly. It’s a joy to bypass the ranting and raging of Facebook.” – Matt Stuart
Your Audience, Your Client
“I monetize my audience by selling workshops, books and prints. The beauty of it is you are monetizing the audience in a nice way, you don’t have to pay any rent but you’ve got a store. You just put your product in the window and see if people like it. And if they don’t there isn’t any investment up front. Social media is just a way to get to more books, more prints, more personal experiences. I don’t use it as an end in itself. To me, pictures on Instagram are just the way to get to the real thing – books, prints, workshops – all things that increase in value. I view them as investments on the part of the people that buy them from me.” – David Alan Harvey
“Every time you move forward with technology you gain something and you lose something. For the young photographer today what they don’t have any more are the large commissions from the magazines but by having an audience through social media – if you can build an audience, if you are interesting to enough people – you have a lot more control and power than you ever had working for the publishers… In the future something will replace these things, it will always change. Also now with the technology, for example Instagram coming up with a new, longer video format, some really serious stories can be told. Maybe something weird is going to happen and it’s somehow going to get worse but a lot of better stuff is coming.” – David Alan Harvey
Read the full article at: www.magnumphotos.com