“Instagram is Ruining Photography”

Instagram Collage – all images shot within Instagram and processed within Camera+

Plan on posting iphone photography only to my Instagram feed.
I’m having so much fun shooting with the iphone and Instagram that I plan on posting more images to my blog from my work with the iphone4 camera.

You can follow my feed on Instagram @themindfuleye. I post an average of two shots a day.

Here is the article I promised about why I am enjoying my camera phone and Instagram account.

* warning… irreverence ahead

Instagram is Ruining Photography

…blah, blah, blah……and so the story goes.

So I created an Instagram account to see for myself if it could ruin my photography. And – I’m having fun – more fun than I have had in quite a while taking pictures. So I wanted to make a list of some of the reasons I am enjoying Instagram.

1) The Square – With my iphone 4 I shoot mainly within the Instagram app itself or within another app called Hipstamatic. Both of these apps use the square as their native format. I don’t mean to offend anyone but its much easier to compose a square photograph than it is to compose within any rectangle. Why? With everything so close to the center of the picture complex compositional ideas like emphasis, proportion and overall balance are just much easier to deal with. Another way of saying this is in a square composition its just a lot harder for anyone subject to overwhelm or over leverage anything else. Because of this the square makes it easy to shoot images with a lot of information (see number 2). The square frame, being obviously symmetrical, also supports just simply centering your main subject…. centering your subject immediately rhymes the symmetry of the framing device itself which creates a pleasing balance, instead of doing what it can do in a rectangular frame which is make your image appear to be static and lifeless. And in my case, as a commercial photographer, I never shot a native square format camera system. So the combination of new and very easy has me seeing in a different way and opens up a vast new world of compositional possibilities.

2) Lot’s of depth of field – The small sensor size in your phone camera leads to lots of depth of field. In my own personal work as a DSLR photographer I have grown accustomed to shooting with a very fast (f1.4) 50mm lens as my walking around lens and have also gotten into the habit of using the extreme shallow DOF field I can get with this lens to simplify my compositions. With the extreme DOF I automatically get with my camera phone I can’t just throw that busy background out of focus. In complex scenes with a lot of information I have to deal with the background and make it a part of my overall composition. So just like the square, extreme DOF is giving me a chance to see in a different way. Its even started to have an effect on the way I use my 50mm lens. For the first time in a long time I am starting to work some middle apertures on that lens on my street portraits to bring in more information from the background.

3) Live view…is hands down the best way to compose a photograph (as long as you have static or slow moving subjects). When you use live view you are essentially looking at photographic possibilities in the two dimensions of the LCD screen on your phone. Most DSLRS have a live view mode but many photographers are habituated to looking through the viewfinder. When you look through the viewfinder you are seeing all three dimensions which will then be translated into a two dimensional artifact called a photograph….. and that three dimensional reality you may be enamored with through the viewfinder might not translate well at all to the 2D world of photography. The iphone forces me to use live view and thus forces me to always see the scene as photograph which is a very good thing.

4) Wham bam thank you mam…. Or its a fast process. When I go out shooting with my DSLR I shoot hundreds of pictures…top selects have to be culled from those hundreds of images which can take an enormous amount of time in and of itself….but thats just the beginning. I then end up spending an average of about 45 minutes a shot to get to a final edit of an image that I would deliver to a client or post to my blog. With Insatgram I find a composition I like…take the picture…apply a cheesy filter (more on that in number 5) and hit share and I’m done. There is no way to tell you how freeing that is relative to the perfectionism demons that come out in me when I am processing DSLR images that I think could potentially be displayed very large at some point.

5) The cheesy filters – So damn funny to see “real” photographers getting their panties in a wad about this. For christ’s sake, play a little bit and let yourself have a little fun. This is a tiny file that you are going to share on the LCD monitor of a phone. And like any practice where you let go of all of your limiting beliefs your mind and process can be expanded to the point that the radical cheesiness of the cheesy filter set might just filter its way into your cheeseless boxed in brain so that you can get out of your own way when it comes to your more “serious” photography.

6) Sharing / Inspiration – Ultimately Instagram is about sharing your photography. In addition to being able to search users and find pictures via their profile page you can “follow” other photographers which means every time they post a shot it automatically appears in your feed (which is a continually updated gallery of images created by those you choose to follow). The people I follow in my feed lets me do every thing from keep up in a fun way with friends who post images that are more documentary relative to their daily life.. to following and being inspired by the work of photographers who are creating an intepretive body of work with their camera phones.

I could go on with this list but that’s enough to make my point. Ultimately shooting with my iphone and posting to Instagram has been a boon to my creativity while at the same time a low pressure, low maintenance and fun way to both share and view photography.

This entry was written by Craig , posted on Monday November 19 2012at 12:11 pm , filed under Instagram, Savannah, iphone photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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