Social News: Instagram Is Broken for Photographers and Needs Fixing

By David Schonauer   Monday May 24, 2021

Instagram holds an outsized place in the lives of photographers.

“Instagram has come a long way from the app it was in its early days. It began as a photo-sharing app, which allowed only square cropped images to be uploaded and since has evolved to become an integral part of the social media toolkit for many individuals and businesses,” noted PetaPixel, which recently reported that Instagram plans to release new tools to help influencers profit from the app more than before.

Currently, Instagram users already have access to certain shopping features including a separate shopping tab that enables them to showcase products to potential customers. But now the app is working on further expanding on this with new creator shops, affiliate commerce, and a “branded content marketplace.”  Creator Shops would be an extension of the company’s existing shopping features, which allows businesses to sell products, notes Engadget.

Photographers, it seems, are also on the constant lookout for tips on how to use Instagram more effectively. YouTuber Chris Hau has been analyzing Instagram usage over the years, and in a new video he offered some tips on how frequently you should post. “I posted to Instagram for 90 days straight and I learned a lot,” he notes. Hau goes over various “growth hacks” and has suggestions on how to get ahead of the Instagram algorithm.”

“He notes that Instagram is now more of a video platform than a photography platform which does make you wonder when a photography replacement will carve out a presence,” adds Fstoppers. “None of the various newcomers that have attempted to forge a presence has managed to gain a genuine foothold, largely thanks to the fact that many of them are designed specifically for photographers, rather than providing a service that appeals to a mass audience that photographers can then tap into.”

Some people think Instagram, at least for professional photographers, needs a big overhaul. “Instagram used to be the place where you could discover a passion for photography and find a community. But it's now a broken mess of sponsored posts and frustrating algorithms – and many photographers are understandably starting to jump ship,” declared Tech Radar recently.

Considering that  in excess of 95 million pictures are uploaded to Instagram every day, it’s only natural that the platform, like many others, uses algorithms to cope with the task of moderating all the content, writes Jon Devo. But he marks 2016 — the year Instagram ditched its chronological news feed — as “the beginning of the end” for photographers.

How could Instagram be fixed? Its owner, Facebook, could  bring back chronological timelines, suggest Devo. “It wouldn’t have to ditch its beloved algorithmic timeline, but just add the option for users to sort their feed by ‘recently added’. Give users the choice, and let them truly decide what they want to see.”

That probably won’t happen. The U.S. Department of Justice could also try to break up Facebook, but that is also a long shot. Maybe, some other photo and video-sharing platform will come along. But that might also be a dream.


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