What can Instagram teach you about photography?

I've been posting pictures to Instagram for almost two years. Some photographers might think that Instagram isn't where “real” photographers would post as the pictures are generally lower resolution compressed files and/or the pictures are just camera phone selfies. I'm not a professional photographer by any means, but I have found Instagram to more than just a social network for posting pictures of food. As a budding hobbyist photographer, here is what I've learned from Instagram.

 

What you shoot isn't necessarily what you post

Filters can make you more creative. Not only do Instagram filters have the potential to make your pictures look better, but the practice of using filters can get you in the mindset of editing almost all of your pictures. Before using Instagram I really never took the time to do any sort of post processing. I now do some sort of editing to almost all of my pictures that I share.

Square format can help you with creativity

The square format of Instagram does limit how much you can squeeze into a picture. However, the square format can also force you to think more creatively about how you compose a picture. Likewise, the square format can also encourage you to be more creative in how you crop pictures before editing and posting.

Practice makes you better

The more pictures you take, the better you can get with photography. It's often said that the Best camera is the one you have with you, and a mobile phone is always with you. While most phones today take some great pictures, it's important to understand that you aren't going to get dslr quality with a phone. Be content with what you can capture while on the go with your phone, and do your best with the camera's limitations. Sometimes the picture is more about how you frame the subject and use available light than the size of the sensor. Even if the picture you capture won't be good enough of a poster-sized print, what you learn in the process of framing, capturing, and editing the picture on your phone can help you with your “real camera” photography skills.

Sharing helps you learn

Instagram makes it very easy to tag and share your pictures and connect with others on Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr. It is also incredibly easy to find and follow others on Instagram. Connecting and sharing with others is a great way to learn from others and develop your photography and editing skills. Getting feedback and recognition from others when they notice one of your best shots is very rewarding.

While Instagram makes it very tempting to share every picture you take, try not to over share. Rather, only post your good, unique, or interesting stuff. I've taken tons of pictures I just deleted because no matter how I edited them or used a filter, they weren't worthy. At the same time, an interesting or unique photo that tells a meaningful story doesn't necessarily have to be a work of art.

What have you learned from Instagram? Has being active on Instagram helped you learn to take better pictures?

 

Feel good moments via social media

The past two days I received two very nice compliments via social media.  Both of them made me feel especially valued and appreciated, even if the kind words came from people I have never met in person.  I’m posting them here for those days where things aren’t quite so rosy.

The first comment came out of the blue from another librarian on Twitter.  This really made my day, especially given  that I am submitting a few proposals to speak again at the Computers in Libraries conference next spring.

comments2

The second comment came this morning from a random person on flickr.  I can only assume that he found my pictures via one of the flickr groups that I’ve been posting to lately.  I’ve become really interested in photography over the past year, and have been working to get better.  It’s always nice when someone “favorites” or “likes” your pictures, but this fellow went out of his way to give me a very kind remark.

comments1

It really doesn’t take much to make somebody’s day better.  Simply giving someone a compliment can be a huge boost to their confidence and can make them happier.  I appreciate these two folks giving me a shout out, and now I’m very encouraged to pay it forward.

How to edit videos shot on your Android phone on your iPad

I have a foot in both camps. I have an Android phone, but I also have an iPad. I occasionally shoot video on my HTC Evo 3d, but video editing options on Android are pretty sparse (hence one of my reasons for choosing an iPad for a tablet). The problem is getting your video off of your Android and onto your iPad can be a bit of a bear, although it’s not impossible. It can take quite a few steps to get the two ecosystems to work together, but this post shows you how to move your videos from you Android phone in order to edit them on your iPad.

1. First, you need to shoot some videos with your Android phone. So go out and shoot, but make sure your videos don’t suck.

image

Continue reading