Whether or Not to Social Media

I’ve been going back and forth with myself for months on this months. Countless articles are posted on websites like Petapixel, Fstoppers, and Phoblographer every month regarding the benefits and cons of social media. The information is there, and sometimes it’s quite overwhelming. It sucks up all your creativity! It’s free advertising! Trying to garner appreciation from the masses is mentally exhausting! Think of how many people could see your work!

These things are all correct, which doesn’t make the decision any easier to make. Ask anyone who posts consistently to Instagram about why they do it, and most of them will have a different reason. Some are trying to beat Instagram’s supposed algorithm. Others are trying to keep their online audience engaged. Personally, I was trying to gain followers, so more people could see my work.

I tried a number of different things; posting every day, every other day, every three days, once or twice a week, running ads, numerous hashtags, popular hashtags, targeted hashtags, and lastly, themes. I saw few benefits or changes between these different strategies. People would follow me, and then unfollow me the next day. My followers have hovered right around 650 for the last six months. So, six months of carefully curated posts, paid advertising, finding the “right” hashtags, and nothing to show for it.

I was trying all the right things, so why wasn’t my audience growing? I don’t know, and honestly, I’ve stopped caring. The last few weeks, I’ve slowly posted less and less, not because I didn’t have content, but because there’s more important things to deal with than posting images to social media.

I’ve taken breaks from social media before, usually just a couple week stints. It’s a mental release, and a refocus for me. Trying to manage a social media page is not something I enjoy. The likes and comments are temporary ego boosts, and then lead to disappointment since they couldn’t get more.

This past Wednesday, I deleted Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat after having a really stressful week. It’s insane how much time is freed up when I’m not constantly scrolling over feeds and sending snaps back and forth. I’ve had a lot of work to catch up on since getting back from my trip, and I’ve finally had the “time” to do it. Developing and scanning film are time intensive tasks, followed by the editing, and storage of negatives and saving of the digital files. I haven’t even started editing photos, and I still have a ton of scanning to do.

Once I get them all edited, I can start adding them to my portfolio, sending certain ones off to get drum scanned, and adding those to my store to be purchased. It’ll honestly take a few weeks with my busy schedule, and it would take even longer if I was still snapping and posting away.

This social media break might not end anytime soon, so if you’d like to follow along with my work, you can always check in on my website here, or join in my mailing list (once I figure out how it even works) and emails should go out with updates to things! I’m going to try and blog a little bit more too in my new free time.

So, until next time everyone, thanks for reading if you made it all this way.

How it all started

My love of photography began at a young age. I was always stealing my mom's camera for various purposes, trying to replicate what I saw in the world. When she got a new camera, I got her old one, though I still borrowed her new one quite often (sorry mom). The first time I borrowed her new one was to take pictures of the stars, and I had no idea what I was doing. I couldn't get the camera to focus on the stars like I thought it would, so I had to set the camera up in full manual mode. That moment sparked years of research into figuring out exactly how the cameras worked down to each and every setting. 

I kept photographing in the years to follow, not quite knowing what I was doing. Once I enrolled in a film photography course at college, I really started to get enamored with photography as a whole; even with such "old" technology. I learned to slow down, analyze what I was doing, and get the best picture possible. After switching to digital again once I moved back to Rochester, I began to miss the process of shooting film that I had fallen in love with.

I picked up my film camera for the first time in nearly two years, and started shooting again. There is no instant gratification from film like there is with digital, and there is a lot more pressure to get it right in that moment. Though I may not be developing and printing like I used to, film has forced me to slow down, be present in the moment, and really think about my settings, lighting, composition, before I press the shutter button. Film pushes me to know what I'm doing at all times. That challenge I'm faced with during every shot is why I have returned to film. More awareness. More risk. More pressure.