Man looking up at social media likes

Instagram, we had a good run, but it’s time to move on

A long, long time ago…Instagram was the place to be for photographers. With beautiful filters, an engaging community, and an easy-to-use interface, it was the ultimate platform for showcasing your work and reaching your target audience. But that was then, and this is now. And now, Instagram has become a far cry from the platform that once was.

For starters, let’s talk about the algorithm. The algorithm that was once designed to make our lives easier has become the bane of our existence. It’s like having a boss who decides what you see, when you see it, and how often you see it. And let’s not forget about the fact that it’s a boss that’s always changing its mind and moving the goalposts. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy.

The platform’s algorithm, which determines what content users see in their feeds, has become increasingly unpredictable and frustrating. In an effort to prioritize content that keeps users engaged and on the platform, Instagram has deprioritized posts from accounts that users don’t interact with frequently. This has had a negative impact on smaller accounts, making it harder for them to reach their target audience.

For photographers, this algorithm change has been particularly damaging. Photographers who used to rely on Instagram to share their work and connect with potential clients are now struggling to get their content seen. Instagram’s algorithm has made it nearly impossible for photographers to reach their target audience, even if they have a substantial following. This has led many photographers to seek out alternative platforms that allow them to share their work more easily and reach a wider audience.

According to a survey by Later, 59% of small business owners found it more difficult to reach their target audience in 2020 due to the algorithm change.

Negativity issues

But it’s not just the algorithm that’s causing problems. Instagram has also become a hotbed of negativity and comparison. It’s a place where people go to compare their lives to others, and to judge themselves based on the number of likes and followers they have. It’s a recipe for disaster when it comes to mental health, and it’s no wonder that studies have linked the platform to anxiety, depression, and poor body image. In fact, a report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue found that Instagram failed to remove 74% of posts containing hate speech and harassment. It’s safe to say that Instagram simply isn’t doing enough to protect its users. 

Privacy concerns

And what about privacy? It seems like every day there’s a new story about a data breach or a company using our information for their own gain. The truth is that social media companies, including Instagram, aren’t doing enough to protect our privacy. In fact, a survey by the Pew Research Center found that 72% of teens and young adults believe that these companies aren’t doing enough.

Other options for photographers

So, what’s a photographer to do? Well, there are alternatives to Instagram. Platforms like VSCO offer a more creative and supportive environment, without the constant distraction of an algorithm. With its focus on creativity and community, VSCO is a better choice for photographers looking to reach their target audience and build their brand.

But what about those who are looking for an even more permanent solution? Well, there’s always the option of maintaining your own website, like I’ve created for myself here. Having your own website gives you complete control and ownership over your online presence, and it can help you establish a professional image and build your brand. And let’s not forget about the benefits of increased visibility and direct communication with your audience.

In addition, a website can be a valuable tool for generating revenue as a photographer. You can sell prints, products, and services directly through your website, bypassing the fees and commissions charged by third-party platforms. 

So, Instagram, it’s been a good run, but it’s time to move on. The platform has changed and it’s no longer the best choice for photographers looking to showcase their work and reach their target audience. Whether you choose VSCO or maintaining your own website, there are better options out there. So, let’s bid farewell to the algorithm, the negativity, and the privacy concerns, and let’s find a platform that’s better suited to our needs.


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