Does Instagram Make You a Better Photographer?

records, by Steve Garfield

I saw a selection of Steve Garfield’s photos on Instagram (well, technically, they were on a site called Inkstagram, so maybe that’s related?), and it got me wondering: does using a social sharing service like Instagram (or Flickr, or Facebook) make you a better photographer? And by better, I don’t always mean that you figure out the right F-stop or aperture settings, etc, but maybe I mean a more “mindful” photographer. Do you think differently about the kinds of photos you intend to take and share?

I’ve long since teased the users of Instagram by saying “It’s like turning your insignificant photos of your life into instant album covers for fake albums.” With all the filter effects and over-bold colors, Instagram makes some photographers cringe, citing an absolute lack of subtlety. Not me. I think it’s swell how everything gets a lot more bold. But that’s not really my point.

Does the act of sharing photographs on social sites make you more mindful/a better photographer?

That’s the question at hand. I’m thinking yes. I’m thinking that it differs from site to site. I’d say that Instagram is on one end of the spectrum, where most people tend to want to shoot thoughtful photos of everyday life. I’d say that Facebook seems to be more for social sharing. I’d say that Flickr’s in the middle, with a blend of uses, as some people share their professional work there, and others take photos of whatever happens to rush across their lens. Beyond these three sites, there are many more “focused” communities of photo sharing, I’m sure.

But what about you? Do you share your photos on social sites? Does it change how you curate what you post? Does it change what you consider a “good” shot?

Would love your insights.

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