Social media has grown with popularity and whether we like it or not, it is everywhere. It is surprising how the worlds of photography and social media have evolved throughout the years. They help create and share photography work with ease. Several years ago we weren’t able to have this access to the Internet. Meanwhile, social media was still an up and coming platform. However the question is how exactly has social media helped photographers to expand?


Social Media and its Power

Ofcom (2017) states social media users (76% of all Internet users) have one of the following social media sites:Instagram (31%), Snapchat (23%), Facebook (43%) and YouTube (30%). With this in mind, it can be a reflection of how social media is seen as a key aspect online. Consequently, there are different styles for the world to see and bring new ideas to light. Whether it is for inspiration or to try to create an interpretation of your own. Inspiration for photography can be anywhere, it is just a matter of time and patience. Whether this is a photo of a landscape or a meal, social media and photography have become significant parts. This demonstrates that a shift in the photography world can be evident.

In professional photography, Instagram has also had a strong impact with an increasing number of photojournalists using the image-sharing mobile platform to build large groups of followers.

–  Oliver Laurent


However despite the positive influence social media is having, some can often argue that social media is in fact harming photography.

This allow us to beg the question:


Is Social Media Destroying Photography?

There is no denying social media is everywhere and that the number of people who use social media is continuing to grow at this very moment. In 2018, Ofcom released a report around the use of social media usage with adults and reinforcing the point of social media growth. Part of the report states that  96% of 45-54s and people ranging from 16-24 has increased to 98%, with nearly 9/10 UK adults using the Internet (88%). This demonstrates that there is a significant growth within the use of the Internet, as well as social media. However not many believe that the use of social media is actually helping photography, instead it is hindering.

Mobile photography has become popular over the years and data (seen below) helps look at this further. Mobile photographs are often found on social media. However, despite the increase in mobile phone photographs, it can be argued by some that this is not photography.


Original source Business Insider.


Photography on Social Media – Changing Attitudes

People can take inspiration from others to create their own interpretation. Despite this being seen as a good thing by some, it can also be argued by some as a negative. Photographer Sto (2018) suggests taking inspiration from another person’s photograph and having the mentality of “‘I want to do that’, it doesn’t let you have your own style, it basically makes you copy what everyone else is doing.” Although you are inspired by another person, it can be seen that you are losing your own creativity. This can also be seen as copying something you were just inspired by. It might be difficult to find originality in photos on social media.

Let’s Take Instagram for Example

Instagram is a social media platform which is ran by Adam Mosseri and is reportedly known “to create experiences that bring people together and encourage authentic communication.” However despite these intentions, some photographers argue social media platforms (such as Instagram) are encouraging what is referred to as ‘lazy photography‘. Some also argue photography is losing it’s originality. Although it does provide various opportunities to look into various photographs, it might not be as original. Scrolling your social media, it will not take long for that photograph to be copied. Gordon Dam mentions that this is the true nature of social media and that you have to prepare for someone else to copy your work.


To Conclude

There are different viewpoints on whether or not social media is beneficial to photography itself. Whilst social media is seeing growth with photographers, it can also be seen in a negative light. Some argue social media platforms hinder photography. This is because it takes originality from photographers through hashtags. No matter what way we look at it, social media has in fact (to a certain degree) helped photographers expand worldwide. It allows for feedback and mutual photographers who have similar preferences as you.

It may take time to find the style you prefer, but social media can help encourage you to maximise the potential that you can have. Even if you do not see it just yet, it just takes patience and discovery to see what is right for you as a photographer.


My Question to You

Everyone has their own purpose to take photos, the question is what is yours?