When did you first start getting into photography
I’ve always been interested in art and photography as a consumer but started getting seriously into photography about four and a half years ago.
Is developing a large following on Instagram built off of strategy?
Yes and no. While I can usually tell what content will do well in terms of engagement and what won’t, it’s never a sure thing. You never know how people are going to react until you post something. While Instagram has undoubtedly changed a lot since I first joined, as cliche as it may sound I think as long as you focus on creating great, consistent work that stands out, the followers will come. There’s no surefire way to gain a huge following and you can drive yourself crazy focusing on numbers. Progress as an artist is much more important than follower count in my opinion.
Do you think Instagram has lost its touch of creativity to businesses and ads watering down the platform?
Absolutely, but I think this is inevitable and something that would happen to any business. Instagram, like any other photo sharing platform or social network, is a business; at the end of the day, they have to make money. So while I definitely don’t love the more frequent ads, it isn’t something I really spend much time thinking about or will complain about. That being said, I definitely think there are some things they could be doing better in terms of monetizing Instagram.
Are brands even looking at the quality of work anymore? Or are these brands just looking for photographers with large social followings?
I’ve always said photography is 90% who you know and 10% how good your work is. So while today brands might look at photographers with large social followings increasingly for larger campaigns, I think things in the photography world have always been like this in a way. Even before social media, networking was a huge part of getting jobs – it’s just done differently now. I feel strongly that quality of work should be exponentially more important than follower count when choosing which photographer to work with, but that unfortunately just isn’t the way most brands work these days.
How important are social platforms to photographers? (in terms of getting gigs)
Social platforms are incredibly valuable to photographers in terms of getting gigs. While the amount of work one gets from social platforms varies greatly from person to person, I can say I personally have gotten a fairly significant amount of work from connections I’ve made on social media.
You’ve been able to work with a ton of brands through social, what has been your favorite brand to work with?
That’s a tough question. My favorite brand to work with recently was probably JBL – I love music so this was a natural collaboration, and the whole event/shoot was very unique and interesting. Also, working with Lululemon was great – in addition to being great to work with, this is also a brand whose products I’ve seen hundreds of times a day for years and years, so working with them was very rewarding personally.