I love photography. I always have. Even as a child I loved the notion of capturing a moment, a memory and saving it for the future, to look back and be able to reminisce about a time, place or person.
Now that I am travelling more and beginning to share these experiences through this blog I want to also look back on images and remember what I have seen and experienced. That is why I use Instagram.
However, I have now realised that I am in a minority and hopefully this post explains why I’m OK with being a bad Instagrammer.
Instagram, for me anyway, acts as a photo album, a platform for me to showcase my images and memories.
I’m the first to admit that my photographs aren’t the greatest, sometimes they’re not even very good, but I feel like I’m learning a new skill for the first time in ages – a priority for me is to be inspired, to find a subject that fuels my creativity.
The most important thing for me, whether it’s on my blog or any social media account is to be myself – basically because I’m crap at pretending to be anything else.
We’ve all read those ‘rules’ – the ones that tell us how to get thousands of followers every month – and I’ll admit I’ve read them, shared them, pinned them – but do I follow them all? Of course not.
Five Rules that I Never Follow
Create a Theme
I’ll admit that for some accounts it works perfectly – if your grid is full of perfectly designed flatlays then that white background will look beautiful, or if your outfit of the day needs to stand out then that coordinated coloured wall will be ideal. As striking as some of these images are, if I look at a grid and see nothing but white backgrounds I can’t help but find them rather dull and repetitive.
I personally find it too restrictive. Depending on where I am and what I’m doing will depend on what I am photographing. This in itself dictates the colours shown. For instance the photos I took in Marrakech were full of colour, a veritable rainbow, whereas when I visited Budapest in the Winter there was a much more muted tone to my environment and I want to be able to show that without worrying that it won’t fit in with everything else on my grid.
As I’m looking to focus more on travel, and no two places look the same, keeping to a theme or colour scheme just doesn’t fit into to the style I am trying to create which is creative and eclectic.
Post Every Day
I just don’t have the time or the inclination.
Apparently you can follow up to 80 people in the space of one hour, and 7500 people in total.
But surely you should be asking yourself how many of these accounts you are actually interacting with on a genuine level.
Are you liking every image in the hopes that they will like you back, or are you liking and commenting on these images because you genuinely found them beautiful, interesting and inspiring?
Join Comment Pods
Comment pods are small groups of people who have agreed to follow each other and like and comment on every photo each person has posted.
This is basically paying for followers without exchanging money.
If you can honestly guarantee that you like every image that each person has posted then fair enough, if not then it’s dishonest and I don’t like it.
Show Your Face
To put it simply – I hate having my photo taken. It doesn’t matter who I’m with, if there’s a photo with me in it then I’m awkward and self-conscious and I hate it.
And please don’t get me started on selfies. I know what I look like, there is absolutely no reason why I would ever need to take another awkward, unflattering photo of myself from a bizarre angle.
My focus and interest is in places, encouraging and inspiring travel and exploration, not to have an image of myself standing in front of the view I am trying to show.
Why I don’t use Photoshop
My way of editing photos is very basic. I resize, crop and occasionally I use the contrast option. I only use the editing features built into my phone/ computer but I do very little otherwise.
We’ve all seen the recent headlines about Instagrammers and bloggers photoshopping their images – removing other people from in front of the Eiffel Tower, removing scaffolding from outside the Taj Mahal, or changing the colour of the sky from day to night.
For the last few years there have been arguments against the photoshopping of images of models, actors, singers etc. and I fail to see the difference – the fact is you are creating a false representation of what you are advertising.
This has no place in travel photography
I read travel blogs because I want to know about that person’s experience in a particular place, I want to read about where they went, where they stayed, what they did whilst they were there, and ultimately how they felt about the place. When I look at a photograph I want to feel as though I am looking through the other person’s eyes, seeing that architecture, beach or view from the top of a mountain.
I don’t expect to be lied to.
If you take a photo of the Eiffel Tower and remove all of the other people making it look as though you were alone – you are lying.
If you take a photo of the Taj Mahal and remove the scaffolding just to make it look ‘cleaner’ – you are lying.
If you take a photo and then change the colour of the sky from day to night to look more dramatic – you are lying.
Don’t get me wrong, if you are creating beautiful fantasy images and artistry then Photoshop is obviously a perfect tool to use and there are some incredibly talented people out there.
If however, you have travelled halfway across the world, taken some stunning photos and want to share them with the rest of the world, then just show us what you saw, not what you think will get you followers, likes and shares.
Obviously in this day and age it is difficult to know whether an image is the genuine article but mostly I am interested in accounts and photos that show the most honest representation of the place being advertised.
“Everything is photo-shopped these days. All those famous Instagram images are photoshopped.
So you are so wrong if you think anyone will look at your raw images.”
This was a comment I received in a Facebook Group and honestly I find it a very sad comment to make. Just because ‘everyone’ does something it doesn’t make it ok. If nobody wants to see a ‘raw’ image then what is the point of photography? What is the point of travel?
Imagine looking at a photo, being inspired to visit a particular place, finally travelling there and finding the spot that photo was taken, and then realising that the photographer had edited the image so heavily that it bears no resemblance to reality – you may as well have stayed home with that photo and your imagination.
So now you know why I’m OK with being a bad Instagrammer.
My Photography Manifesto
1. I am aiming to generally improve my photography skills, but to never be ashamed or embarrassed of the images taken.
2. To produce images that are an honest advertisement and representation of the place and the people. A natural photo will always be more beautiful than an artificial one – people and places do not need to be made ‘cleaner’ or ‘tidier.’
3. To always be respectful of the culture, the people, the place. It doesn’t matter how special you think your blog or Instagram account is, you should always respect others around you and the locations you find yourself in.
4. To do my very best to encourage and inspire other people to see the world around them. Whether it’s to the other side of the world, or your own local area.
The Ultimate Goal
To see. To Experience. To Understand.