Instagrammers and Photobloggers

A photoblog is a form of photo sharing and publishing in the format of a blog. It differs from a blog through the predominant use of and focus on photographs rather than text. ~wikipedia
I had an interesting chat with an older gentleman today. When he asked me what I was taking pictures for, I just responded by saying I was a photoblogger. He caught me off guard when he asked, “like that Instagram?”. I could only answer with a yes. I haven’t really thought much about comparing Instagram to actual photoblogging. I maintained a photoblog for a long time but now I just primarily consider my Flickr and Ello my go to photoblog platforms. Yeah, Instagram is a very good place for Photobloggers.

Photographers just want their work seen.

For as long as I’ve been a photographer, I’ve been looking for a way to get my images viewed. In the old days, before social media, a nobody photographer had a difficult time getting eyeballs on their work. All through the 90s, the only people who saw my work were my friends and family. If I wanted to see work from other photographers, I could go out buy a bunch of photography and art magazines and go to galleries. That is where I always wanted my work to be seen. It was an interesting time for photographers. Trying to get your work out there was a lot of work. I tried getting prints hung at coffee shops back in the 90s, but my work just wasn’t very good.

This internet thing seems promising.

I got my first home computer, and I bought a CanoScan film scanner and I was ready. Like many other photographers, I wanted a place on the internet. There weren’t a lot of platforms to post work, but there were a couple of good sites starting to gain traction. PhotoNet was my spot for a long time. Then I discovered Flickr in 2006 and I was on Tumblr for a while, I liked it but I never had a lot of followers so I never really gained any traction. I had a lot of overlap on the platforms I was using.

My favorite platform was PixelPost. I had to install it on a server (I had my very own server at home for a while). I’ve tried many photoblogging platforms over the years and PixelPost was my favorite. When it was time to put a portfolio site, I settled on WordPress. I still kept my PixelPost photoblog on a sub-domain. The internet has changed so fast and technology advancing so quickly. It gets difficult to keep up, but I still want to photoblog.

What now?

The internet is everywhere and Instagram, and EyeEm are viable platforms for photobloggers. I know that most people consider Instagram a cesspool of self-indulged selfie-photographers. There is a lot more there. The mobile platform was ahead of its time when it debuted. Instagram really does work like a traditional photo blog aggregator, but it’s in the palm of your hand. I know it started out as a mobile-photo sharing application, but it had grown into so much more. There are a lot of businesses using the platform, and it works for a lot of different things. There are a lot of really brilliant photographers, but a lot of those photographers are there for self promotion, not social networking. There is a fair amount of social networking, but there is also a lot of room for art-discovery. If you know how to look, there is a lot of worthwhile photography.

Here are a few photoblogs that I have been following a long time.

Joseph Holmes
Daily Dose of Imagery
I Shoot Film

EyeEm or Instagram?

Battle of the social photography apps?

EyeEm or Instagram? Actually, the answer is both.

Most photographers will agree that Instagram is a wasteland of visual clutter and nobody has friends on EyeEm. I have been on the EyeEm for quite some time now, and I have been using Instagram since it was released. I like both platforms, but I have been using IG much more frequently.

The key differences between EyeEm and IG are not just in layout, but in user-base. Since IG was bought by Facebook the user-base has really changed with it.

IG like Facebook is a place to see your friends vacation and bar photos, along with memes and corporate brand advertisements. With its curated feed, you see the “popular” posts first. Then if you’re lucky you see other stuff. So if you follow somebody with a low follower count you are less likely to see anything they post. It’s a fine spot for popular photographers to share images and gain followers for their “brand”. I actually have more engagement on my images when use Instagram to post them to Facebook, than on Instagram itself. However I am not a popular photographer.

EyeEm on the other hand has really gained an international feel to it. This is more of a place for photographers to share images with other photographers of all levels. The layout lends itself well to bigger phone screens and not so well for smaller screens. Unlike IG, EyeEm editors don’t curate your following feed. The feed is chronological but with a couple of swipes you find yourself in an area that features curated feeds with stories from very interesting photographers. You can also follow “keyword” feeds. If you like to look at cat pictures you can have a “cat feed“.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the money.

I am a photographer, and like every other photographer we need to put our images out there for people to see. So hopefully people hire us. The app developers need to earn money to keep the platform going. Instagram uses in app ads and EyeEm uses stock photo sales. Instagram made $719 million last year according to Fortune magazine and has been difficult to nail down how much money EyeEm has earned, they are using photo stock platform to sell images through online sales and are splitting the money 50/50 with the photographer. As far as I can tell this is in the single-digit millions somewhere.

Both of these applications have great image filter options for the mobile photographer. They are both very easy to use. You can add images from Lightroom Mobile or if you are still one of those photographers that does not want to update to Lightroom CC then you can just grab images from your Dropbox app.

Personally I take more stock in EyeEm’s ability to satisfy my photography inspiration needs. If I need to see memes and celebrity re-grams I have Instagram.