Does Social Media influence your Photography?

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Social Media. I sometimes call it a necessary evil for photographers. How do we allow it to influence our own photography? Do we use it as a tool or do we allow it to use and control us? Do we recognize it simply as a place to share our art and creativity? Do we let the number of likes and shares dictate how we feel about our creations and what we create?

Social media acts as an instigator to go out and create and explore.

When I’m sitting around the house scrolling though pages of other photographer’s work, I use it as a motivator to pick up my own camera and go outside. It’s fun to see what images others are taking around the world and places I would like to see. I have a very long list of places I have seen online that I would want to visit one day.

Example of exploring photos through Social Media.

I use social media as a tool to check on the conditions of a location. There is a beach on the other side of the island that gets mossy rocks a couple weeks a year. I have hopped on Instagram and reviewed the hashtags for that location to see if the moss is growing or not. That way it saves me multiple long drives and hikes.

Social media has given us a tool to be more efficient or is it more lazy?

I could still get in the car and go explore and spend endless days checking on that beach, but I don’t. I suppose I can blame the “laziness” on technological advances. Maybe it’s cheating the process of creating a photograph and the experiences/stories behind its creation. That’s part of what creating art is… the experience. Social media seems to be eliminating the trials and tribulations involved in creating an image compared to how it was years ago.

Waterfalls in Hawaii

Another way social media has influenced my photography is by connections I have formed with other photographers. I belong to a Women’s Landscape Photographer group on Facebook. This is where we ask each other photography-related questions and help each other out. It’s a supportive, educational resource to help me improve my art.

Sunset in Hawaii

The Demise of Art Though Social Media

What happens to a particular photograph that you love? Instead of printing it, it gets shared on social media. Instead of seeing it everyday in your home, you see it online for two seconds, then it disappears into the masses and is forgotten. I fully understand the importance of promoting oneself via social media, but sometimes I think photographers are getting lost in digital land. They are forgetting about their art and the importance of expressing oneself though an image.

The effects of social media on a photographer's art

Photographers get so buried into the monetization aspect of photography, that they are losing touch with themselves and what makes their art unique. The flavor on Instagram this week is “xyz” , then everyone runs out to conform with the masses to be popular. “This photograph of Horseshoe Bend got 20,000 likes, I better run out and take the same photograph to get the likes and views.” This is when social media becomes ugly and I want to cancel all my social accounts and go on a digital detox. It’s times like these when social media kills art. When playing the game to win likes and shares becomes the most important thing, then there is a problem.

What are your thoughts on the role social media plays in your photography? How does it influence you? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

About Author Lace Andersen

Lace Andersen is a Kauai-based landscape photographer. She grew up in the farm town of Templeton, California and majored in Graphic Communications. She started taking basic photography classes in 2008, and discovered her passion to create and be outdoors. The major turning point in her life was April 2012 during a family vacation to Kauai. She decided to rent her own car and spend the entire week photographing the island from sunrise to sunset. It was a life changing experience. Kauai either accepts you or spits you back out. Lace was lucky to be accepted by the island and relocated immediately. She has built an award winning portfolio over the past four years and has been published numerous times. When she doesn’t have a camera in hand, you can find her hiking with friends, camping, and playing ultimate frisbee.