On World Photography Day, we spoke with photographers, Nikita Verma and Isa Khan about the future of photography on Instagram.
They say, “Photography is like a recipe – the memory is the finished dish,” and we couldn’t agree more. Photographs are near and dear to almost every waking person. After all, what captures moments and memories better than photos? Earlier, we used to have lovely printed photographs that filled our family albums and with cell phones, we could store photos, send them, or use them as profile pictures on WhatsApp. What revolutionized the usage of photos over the years is Instagram though. Sure, we were sharing photos on Facebook, but Instagram’s algorithm was fully and only based on pictures.
So, we took to Instagram to share our photos with friends using apps like B12 and Beauty camera, which now feel cringe-worthy. Over the years, Instagram changed its algorithm by introducing Instagram stories, IGTV, and now Reels. However, Instagram is still giving a lot of space to photographs, and tons of bloggers making a living out of photography on Instagram is proof!
On World Photography Day, we spoke with landscape photographer, cinematographer, Canon EOS influencer, Isa Khan and photographer, Canon EOS influencer, and food blogger, Nikita Verma. They shared with us their love for photography and their analytical knowledge of Instagram’s dynamic landscape. If you wish to be a photographer too, their insights will benefit you a lot.
Here’s what they said!
What does photography mean to you?
Photography has always been a passion for Nikita which somehow turned into a full-time profession! She loves capturing moments as she believes it’s the best thing you can do with a camera. “I just believe that behind every picture there is the photographer’s story and vision.” Isa started photography because he loves traveling. He used to think that if you can find landscape pictures on Google, why bother going out and clicking a new one? “Later, I realized that photography is not just about clicking beautiful sunsets; it’s about communicating a story. It’s also a way of connecting with people who yearn to travel but are not able to because of various reasons.”
What are your memories of pictures on Instagram when you first joined the social media platform? What did they look like?
Nikita calls that time totally different from now. Instagram was just a picture platform, there were no videos, no carouses. “It was certainly different from what we have today. I remember the 1:1 or 4:3 or 16:9 ratio pictures clicked by phone, mostly unedited but with filters. However, even then pictures used to be shot aesthetically. In fact, back then content creators used to post less than they do now.” Looking back at the pictures he first posted on Instagram, Isa laughs and says, “pathetic!”. “I started my journey like any other beginner. I didn’t know anything about cameras. I didn’t have any mentors. This is why when people ask me how do you learn photography, I say that you should practice as much as possible. It will enable you to become a better photographer.” Commenting on the pictures that he witnessed when he first joined Instagram, Isa says that there were artists who were putting out great photographs whereas others were confining themselves to a creative boundary. However, we should never limit ourselves and should always try to learn new things, make new mistakes, and keep growing.
How are the pictures on Instagram different from the earlier ones?
Sadly the era of pictures is fading with time on Instagram, according to Nikita. “Instagram was a picture application but now it has turned into a video application because of the audience’s demand. However, if we just compare the pictures, they are of very good quality, clicked in a fancy way with the best cameras or smartphones. Technology is growing and hence the manner of photography has changed. Cameras or smartphones have become more affordable and everyone wants to portray their best on the ‘gram’!” Comparing his own work from then to now, Isa believes that his work has gotten better. “Even when I look at the photographs from a month or two ago, I see that I have grown. The most important critic of my work is just me as a person.”
What do you think Instagram pictures will look like in the near future?
Nikita believes that they might not exist. “Actually, that’s what I have heard. But it shouldn’t. I feel pictures have a lot to say and if captured thoughtfully, they can speak louder than videos.” The community is shifting more towards cinematography, according to Isa. “Videos will be there in the longer run. For the next five years; at least, that is what I believe. I predict that photographers will have a difficult time, as Instagram, the only platform serving photographers, is also shifting towards videos. The future looks bleak to me.” However, he believes there is still hope as many photographers are putting their best content irrespective of how Instagram’s algorithm changes.
How can photographers put their best foot forward when it comes to social media?
Nikita mentions, “Be a trend instead of always following one. Be yourself because it’s very crowded but no one is like you.” She suggests that one should follow trends but not because the whole world is doing it. “Like I don’t think I will ever be dancing on my Reels.” Isa believes that if photographers want to be successful on Instagram, they have to lean a bit towards videos and Reels. “Even if you are a photographer who doesn’t like videography, you can take your photos and makes Reels.”
What will be your advice to young and upcoming photographers on social media?
Nikita would highly suggest participating in social media contests to showcase your work. “Have a vision, your own vision. It’s always important to narrate your own unique story. I urge young people to engage with their audiences through contests that both applaud their work and also help them win merchandise that will elevate their work.” Isa has looked at Instagram trends closely and designed his content around them. He has benefitted immensely from this. “There is only one way- consistency. If you have to become successful on Instagram, you have to be dedicated to it. Secondly, consistency is the key. The third is quality. I believe you can achieve the third if you perform the second point really well.”
What do you think about the future of photography on Instagram? Tell us in the comments.