Let’s face it, social media has changed a lot about the photography world. Everyone is taking pictures constantly – selfies, pet shots, baby shots, food shots… you name it. Then those photos are making their way into your Facebook and Instagram feed. With its ever-growing importance, there is a huge debate going on in the photography world as to whether social media has a positive or negative impact.
After discussing with some of our photographers nationwide, it is clear there are both positive and negatives to social media on photographers. While photographers nationwide have concerns about social media influencing quality, they can also agree that there is a higher demand for photography and social media helps businesses market themselves. We noticed there were three main points to this discussion; the effect social media has on trends, quality and marketing efforts.
Trends & Style
Social media has forced a lot of photographers to change their style of shooting. Photographers are artists, creating and capturing unique and beautiful moments. However, social media has forced many photographers to keep up with the Pinterest trend of the day. Jessica Willoughby of Willoughby Photography told us, “The biggest negative impact I see is everyone wants their pictures just like ones they found on Pinterest or Instagram.” This poses a very important question, if many people are just looking to follow trends they see and asking photographers to copy others’ work, is this hindering the industry as a whole?
There is another side to this possibly though. Some photographers make the case that social media can push people to be more innovative than ever before. Photoshop can help us do a lot of cool things, and social media has pushed photographers to get more creative with shots and inputting images on unique backgrounds and using unique setups.
The quality in the photography sector has been negatively affected in two ways: one huge trend is the saturation on mini sessions and start-ups. Since there is such a saturation of the market of new photographers, and a need for families to get trendy shots to share on social media, photographers are starting to offer mass amounts of mini sessions with one setup for the season, using it several sessions. Sarah Marissa of Sarah Marissa Photography says “it seems photographers are always doing minis….for everything. Every holiday, every theme they can think of.” Melissa Chartier then adds “If someone’s doing mini sessions over and over again, they’re giving people no reason to invest into a full session; they’re just doing a disservice to themselves.”
For many of the photographers we spoke to, there was a consensus that social media has led to a saturation of the market, mostly from people that are just hobbyists, rather than professionals, leading to lower quality products. Sarah Marissa also pointed out that with mass amounts of hobbyists and new photographers coming in, “so many are offering free sessions to portfolio build, and it seems like the quality is going down.”
Adapting to New Marketing Style
Social media is one of today’s number one platform for marketing. The majority of photographers used to rely on word of mouth to gain clients. Large interconnected platforms have created the best potential for photographers to display their work to the world. It also provides a better avenue for attracting new clients and followers because there is no limit to your reach if you share and/or market using social media.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the positives outweigh the negatives? How do you combat the negatives and keep your photography business thriving? Let us know in the comments below!