February 13, 2013

Does Instagram make people better photographers?

This subject came up at lunch as we chatted about whether tools can & should aspire to help people be better illustrators, storytellers, etc.

My initial reaction was that no, Instagram doesn’t make you better, but it makes a great many people feel better (giving photos some flair, paving over flaws like crappy lighting). Making people feel cooler than they are is nothing to sneeze at, but one could argue that a shortcut to “interestingness” detracts from doing harder work around composition, lighting, etc.

On second thought, though, I think Instagram does make me a better photographer—or at least it makes me work harder to make interesting images. People love to put on fancy conferences about gamification & incentives, but the game here’s simple: When my photos draw likes (especially from, say, photographers I respect or some cute girl I knew 20 years ago), I feel good; when they don’t, I feel bad. (Hey, I’m human.) Thus I’m highly motivated to share only my most interesting work.

What do you think?

Posted by John Nack at 8:56 AM on February 13, 2013
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