I don't know about you but there are certain people, pictures, and things that really push me to be a better photographer. When I hear Jasmine Star talk, for example, I am inspired by her and want to work harder. When I look at Michelle Moore's work, I always get the urge to have a photoshoot (and get better at using a reflector). And oddly enough, when I look at my Instagram feed, full of photos taken by people with twenty thousand or more followers, I am pushed to be a better photographer. When I want to be better, I try to be better and when I try to be better, people notice. That's a good thing.
I read something the other day online where Jose Villa said, "Everything you put out with your name on it should be amazing." Wow. That is totally terrifying but totally true. And ever since I've started following really incredible Instagrammers who think before they take a shot on their iPhone, I've been pushed to do the same. Nooooo, I'm not a professional Instagrammer like some people I follow, but no, I'm not going to post a blurry shot of my friend eating cake in the dark. Hopefully no one has done that. It was just a random example that popped into my mind. Haha.
But it truly is fun as a photographer to limit what I put on Instagram. I like to be challenged, always asking myself before I post something if I think it will get more than fifteen to twenty likes (that's just a good number for me with the amount of followers I currently have; it may be completely different for you). That's been my goal for a while now and when I don't get fifteen likes, I know the photo probably shouldn't have been posted. It's a weird way of learning because it makes me sound a little bit like a snob but everything I put out on the internet should be professional and at least kind of interesting. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, my blog, my website, my comments on other people's blogs, etc. are all seen and associated with me. I know I want what I post to allure photography clients and whether we realize it or not, people are very good at reading us by scrolling through tweets or blog posts. People will have an opinion about us within a couple minutes and online, because it's so easy to make irrational decisions, we need to be careful.
Despite the easiness of instant posting and the horror that that can bring, I'm very thankful for social media and Instagram, especially. The people out there who took Instagram to a whole new level and created a job out of it are my heroes. You all inspire me because if you can take a photo on your iPhone that's better than many photos taken on a DSLR, I know I have work to do.