Sincerely - a social media daft gal
Why am I a photographer?
I have to ask myself this question more and more lately. I force myself to go back to the very first moment that inspired me enough to think about making photography part of my every day life.
There are certain aspects about this business that I love SO dearly. I’ll be driving home from a shoot, riding this high that nothing else can possibly give me. I’ve just photographed these incredible people. I’ve had the best time with them. My introverted self has made these amazing new friends while simultaneously taking beautiful photos of them.
After all of that, after I’ve delivered the photos that I so carefully took, chose, edited and sent off.. my confidence breaks down as soon as I start to consider sharing them with the world.
Or more specifically…Instagram.
The bane of my existence.
Dramatic I know. But I’ve been holding onto this for a long time so I feel that it is my prerogative to be somewhat dramatic.
I’m sure that most people are able to relate to what I’m saying here, so I’m aware I’m not alone in this. Sharing my photos used to be something I looked so forward to, until slowly, it became such a chore. Hashtag this, but not too often. Be relevant. Have a long and vulnerable caption. Make sure your photos are balanced on your feed. Feature photos of yourself once in a while. Do Instagram stories. Have variety. Whoa whoa whoa not too much variety. Share your life. Be funny. Be emotional. Even if I think I’m doing everything correctly, Instagram’s algorithm and shadow banning get in the way of my photos being seen.
This is all information I’ve gathered over the years, either from blogs, people who are pros on Instagram with hoards of followers, or just from general observation. All of this information has squashed my ability to happily post a photo that I am proud of. For fear of doing it wrong, I have actually just chosen not to post a photo before. I have more content than ever before, but I post less than I used to. I’ll go through phases of “I’m going to post ONCE EVERY DAY and I’m going to DO IT RIGHT”. Then I’ll go through phases of not posting for days on end. Then suddenly I’ll be like… okay no more hashtags. I’m going to post for ME and anyone else who is interested in seeing this photo. It’s downright exhausting.
Even though I’ve been getting consistent work, I measure my value as a photographer based on how many likes I am or am not getting… And worse than that, I absolutely measure my value against other photographers who all seem to be killing the Instagram game. I typically end up arriving at a place that isn’t helpful to anyone, especially myself. A place of feeling entirely unworthy. Of embarrassment that I’m doing things wrong. Of frustration that I’m not able to keep up with other photographers.
As I usually do, I circle back to the WHY behind it all. Why in the world does this cause me such torment? There are a ton of wonderful, loving people in my life who encourage me and tell me that I’m exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing. I love what I’m doing. Why should anything detract from that?
This blog post is NOT meant to make anyone feel badly for me. If anything, I hope that anyone who reads this that struggles with this kind of thing will take some comfort in knowing that they are not alone. As has been addressed by many, the online world is often presented as one of perfection. Perfection does not exist. We are all doing the best we can.
I’m not going to make some sort of proclamation about never hashtagging a photo again or about deleting Instagram, because I can’t do that. As a creative business owner, I need to keep my content visible. However, I need to allow some grace for myself because I love photography and I am doing the best I can.
Thanks for reading <3
Now here’s a cute picture of my dawg