The nature of photography is rapidly changing and evolving. With image-based social media platforms dominating the market, some photographers are worried about real photography losing its shine, while others are making the best of it to showcase their work. As modern photography is increasingly shaping how we see and share the world, how can we, as photographers, adapt in response?

1. Know Your Purpose

Social media, and particularly Instagram, has been a fertile ground for discovery. As a form of visual self expression, users are conveying messages through their own pictures.

In this digital age, knowing your purpose as a photographer is crucial, and with all these accounts emerging and competing for “followers” and “likers”, the goal behind your pictures can become harder to define.

You can take stunning images and spend a lot of time struggling to find the right caption, but if there’s no story or message behind it, your intention to be creative and stand out will get lost with the mass. After all, aligning your work with high standards and seeing it eventually pay off will fill you with a sense of purpose like no other.

2. “The Camera Does All the Work”

Well no, point period blank. There’s no denying the advanced technology behind digital and smartphone cameras, but without an eye for frame, light, and the right moment, a picture cannot make an impact. Even with a camera’s intelligent exposure, processing, quick, and smart autofocus, the creative control of the photographer is still to this day what makes or breaks the digital photography framework and even photography as a whole.

3. Wait For Validation

Nowadays, being a successful photographer is unfortunately defined by a certain number of “likes” and “comments” a photograph gets. A sad statement but nonetheless true, is that a photographer’s validation is no longer established by trustworthy experts and their honest and critical opinions or even audiences who were truly moved by the image, but rather by this simple equation: one well-regarded expert’s opinion will become obsolete in front of the 10k followers liking an image.

Pick your side wisely.

4. Inverse the Three-Legged Stool

Back in the days we used to follow the “first photograph, then caption and later publish” rule, one after the other. However, another truth about modern photography is that with how fast images are being shared, we reversed the three rules and began working our way around them at the same time, just like a tripod. There’s no time to fact check images, confirm whether or not the concept is “plagiarized” or it was “inspired” from a certain artist. In this digital era, reputation is what’s creating trust and not the opposite.

It’s about who uploads the fastest and edits the sharpest. The constant, relentless tsunami of images showing up on our screens has become the equivalent of a front page story of a renowned newspaper.

5. Change the World

When we say that photography can help change someone’s life, we are not exaggerating. Images with a story behind them can highlight the aspects of a journey that is overlooked, and when shared, can become a part of a larger conversation; a conversation that can lead to more awareness around a topic, a social issue, a form of injustice, or simply capture an amazing moment.

If our history can be defined by powerful photographs, you can imagine what the future holds, especially if you’re the one changing it without amazing photos you will be proud to share.