New Year New Me (Said Everyone Every Year)...
At the start of 2016, one of my goals was to reach 10k followers on Instagram and solidify my photography business enough to make the leap into full-time freelance territory. Well...things certainly didn't go as planned. I'm now am sitting on 461 followers on a brand new account and am much happier with the direction my photography is taking me. I'm going back to my roots and treating it as a hobby which gets me out in the field much more than I was shooting while taking photography seriously (in a business sense).
I believe people should take photos of what they want, not what others want. Too often I find people shooting and editing their photos to follow what's trendy and gets the most traction. That was my trick to getting the following I had. It works. For the casual Instagrammers reading this post, what I'm talking about specifically is compositing images together to make one questionably believable photo. For example, I got asked by Sony to repost an image I had composited, nothing too crazy, just a sunset from another picture in the background of a shot I took with a boring sky. Of course I made up a fake story to go along with it and let them post it on their page. I got a large amount of followers this way because this, sadly, is what works on Instagram.
Here's my main problem with composites. What started out as fake birds and skies a year ago is now just an appalling fiesta of ridiculously fake looking composites. I imagine these digital artists (because you can't call them photographers at this point) thinking to themselves, "How much shit can I cram in one photo?" I did not want to conform to these trends and accepted I'd no longer get featured on a lot of the accounts that I used to draw inspiration from. Once I accepted this fate, I first took a break and eventually started my new smaller account.
So, what are my goals this year with my photography business and Instagram? I only have one goal which was already hinted at earlier. I am going to keep shooting how I want to shoot. I have a firm belief that when you focus on what YOU like in art, people will either love or hate it. It isn't your job to persuade them to like your art, but it most certainly is your job to show them how YOU see something. Stop conforming to trends or you'll never stand out.