Instagram Photographers: How Students are Showcasing Their Work on the App

Rising photographers generate enthusiasm for their professional work by exhibiting images through the Instagram app. A growing trend around campus, these creative students are reaching new audiences with the social media app.

“Like all social media, Instagram is a tool to reach a variety of publics. By using relevant or trending hashtags, collaborating with other creative individuals, and branding an online presence around their art, students can reach a variety of new people,” said Mary Harris, specialist communication professor. Harris recognized Instagram as a great way for students to showcase their talents and gather inspiration from other student photographers.

Aspiring photographers choose to post on the app to receive feedback on their images.

“The feedback I’ve gotten on my photos has been unbelievable. The most rewarding part is hearing it from the people I photograph. Getting feedback from the athletes I shoot and getting to connect with students I’ve worked with has been amazing and I’m so thankful for people taking the time out of their day to not only look at my photos, but to say something positive about them,” said Taylor Jackson, a junior photography major, who concentrates on sports photography.

Students have not only been promoting their own art, they have also featured organizations on campus with their images. Liam Frank, a music industry major and photo minor, posts music photography as a method of promotion for Blue Hawk Records. “The photos really help give people an in-depth look at what we do,” Frank said.

Similarly, Jackson updates the campus on special athletic moments in Monmouth sports. “My goal is to become a sports photographer and get signed with a professional organization so I can travel with the team and photograph them on and off the field,” Jackson explained.

Releasing photos to the public in a timely fashion is beneficial to student Instagram users. “I created [my Instagram page] last spring because I needed to get my work out into the field but I was not ready to create a website,” Nikole Ghirardi, a sophomore photography major, explained.

“You don’t have to wait for someone to check up on your website for them to see your new work. On Instagram, you post the work and it gets sent out to the public immediately. I think the timeliness of Instagram is what makes it such a big hit with photographers because they are constantly doing new things,” Jackson added.

As timely posts are essential for the students to get their names out, connecting with other photographers through the app is equally important. Following other professional photography pages allow students to draw inspiration from different work.

“I’ve been told the best thing for a photographer to do is to take pictures and the second best thing is to look at the work of other photographers. My Instagram feed is full of other photographers simply because I learn from it,” Jackson said.

“I’ll go to concerts and find the photographer and shake his or her hand because I follow them on Instagram and I know how hard they’re working every day and that’s an awesome experience for both of us.”

Unlike many Instagram users, some students are editing their photos first on professional systems like Adobe Lightroom and Aviary, a photo-editing platform recently acquired by Adobe. Jackson notes editing as an important step in the process of posting a photo on Instagram.

“After I’m done shooting, I process all of the photos through Adobe Lightroom and edit the ones I like. It’s really important to practice editing because in the professional world editing can make or break your photo,” Jackson explained.

“So I kind of use editing through Lightroom as practice and I’ve realized the more photos I edit, the less I have to edit over time because it’s helping me to learn to shoot it better so the editing process will be shorter.”

However, some student photographers feel Instagram requires more effort than simply posting a picture. Anthony Cosentino, a sophomore photography major, said  he would rather display his edited work on a website or Facebook page.

“Since Instagram photos can only be uploaded from a mobile device, it would be unnecessarily complicated to transfer high quality photos from the SD card in a digital camera to a smartphone with limited picture storage, just to upload them to Instagram,” Cosentino said.

Even professionals utilize Instagram for exposure. The app keeps the public updated with their current images. Mark Ludak, a photography specialist professor, noted, “One photographer colleague has a following of 40,000. Others use it to keep editors, and gallery directors updated and are more targeted in their audience.”

Though Instagram is not considered to be the only serious portfolio medium for photographers, the app has opened up communication between student artists’ work and their audience. “Instagram is kind of like a photo diary … I think that’s really special,” Jackson said.

IMAGE TAKEN from foodbeast.com