social photographyBy Philip Given

There is a perennial divide between gear-obsessed hobbyists and seasoned photography pros.

“It’s not about the equipment,” the pros say, “just get out there and shoot.”

This is truer than ever before as we’re armed with an incredibly powerful photographic tool right here in our pockets – the camera attached to our mobile device of choice.

In an Instagram-heavy world, you might be hard pressed to find people actually encouraging others to shoot more social photography, (“Do we really need to see another dinner photo, Philip?”) but I’m here to do just that.

Social Photography

A wardrobe of the day selfie or snap of your morning Cheerios isn’t going to net you any awards or drive much traffic to your blog, but every photo you take is an opportunity for creative growth. Here are some things to think about when you’re out taking random pics.

What’s the Point?

Before I even launch my trusty camera app, “why?” is the very first question I ask of myself. I mentally categorize the photos coming off my phone and into my social stream in three ways. If I don’t see it fitting in one of these rough categories, chances are it won’t get shared. It’ll just live on my phone instead.

New and Exciting

Ooh, a new restaurant! Why is that building being torn down? Check out this amazing new recipe I just tried!

Keep your content fresh and relevant to the communities you call your own. The same bowl of cereal every morning, framed the same way in each and every shot, is just as boring and uninspiring for your followers as it is for you.

Break the Fourth Wall

Clients and fans look at a photographer’s dSLR as a magical device that holds the key to great photos. I like to use my social feed to share behind-the-scenes images from commercial shoots, share interesting teasers from weddings, and give people a peek inside what’s happening within the four walls of my business.

Come up with a creative way to let people feel like they have the inside scoop on what you’re doing through social photography.

Who Cares? This is Awesome!
Break all of the rules for an amazing photograph. A once in a lifetime sunset, 40 photos from your trip to Greece, or the dining experience of your dreams. While you don’t need to push every photo across your social network, share it if you think someone will appreciate it.

But Photography is Hard!

Gini Dietrich wrote a great post about the techniques and theory behind great socially-curated photographs, so I won’t rehash here.

Photography isn’t hard, and my advice is simple: Get out there and shoot.

SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are immediate feedback tools for your work. Use them. Keep posting photos and keep looking at the content that interests you.

Follow people who you admire. If you see a friend share a cool photograph from someone you don’t know, follow that person, too. Social photography depends on you being social.

The simple act of consciously evaluating the types of images you’re sharing means the quality of the photos you capture will only get better. Use that power to create thoughtful, curated photographic content but, more importantly, shoot more and shoot often.

No one ever got better at photography by taking fewer photos.

Philip Given

Philip Given is a wedding and editorial photographer based out of York, Pa. He spends his time eating good food, playing with his dogs, and plotting to take over his small chunk of the world.

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