Instagram is an incredibly popular app that first found fame on the iPhone. Their success brought them to Android as well as being purchased by Facebook. Since it’s creation, people everywhere have been sharing square, low-resolution photos with vintage-style effects as a new means of expression. People started using it as their main camera because of the new trend.
I was late to the Instagram party. I knew about it for a long time, but felt like it was cheating. Being a photographer, I feel like using simple effect presets is the same as using crutches. After it’s Android release and more of my friends started using it, I decided to give it a try. I have taken some incredible photos with the effects provided, but I’ve found myself to use it very sparingly. Use this tool too much and you risk losing it’s impact. People get used to things when they become the norm. And life in Lomo isn’t all that exciting. However, when just the right composition meets the square aspect ratio and the degrading effects of Instagram, something magical can happen.
But that’s the key – the right composition and elements. Everything doesn’t deserve the creative filters Instagram offers. The ever-so-popular “look what I’m eating right now” pictures don’t always look that appetizing with an earlybird filter added to them. I don’t know anyone that would care you’re eating a hamburger the size of a basketball in the first place, but at least make it appetizing. Duck face in the toaster filter doesn’t make you look less like a duck. In fact, Instagram filters won’t hide or correct your bad photography – so stop using it for everything.
Instead, learn what to look for that works best with these filters. Look for inspiration in other people’s work (maybe in professional photos). Old downtown anywhere from a street corner composed just right can turn into something special with the right filter, maybe something black and white. Your dog on your living room floor just because you think she’s cute isn’t going to look any cuter with a filter.
There are two things I found interesting relating to Instagram. The first was an article I read within the past year, and I forgot where, the tile, and who wrote it. But the author was jokingly writing that young children looking at old black and white photos today tend to believe life wasn’t in color during that era. The author continued to suggest that our children’s children looking back at our Instagram posts may think life looked the way they are presented in Instagram. The other thing I’d like to pass along is a YoutTube video about the rules of Instagram. It isn’t a video about how to use the app, but rather when you ought to and how to keep it interesting. I will leave you with that video to reflect on for the next time you think the first time you eat sushi deserves to look like your grandparent’s photo album.