Social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, 500px.com and others can be a great way to share you work as a photographer, but they are not the end all be all. Many times photographers get discouraged with the results they find on these sites, especially if they don’t receive a large amount of “Likes” or “Shares” or “Favorites”.
These responses are not an accurate gauge of your creativity or ability as a photographer, they are more the results of Social Media popularity contests. I have talked to and see so many photographers become discouraged with these platforms because they don’t gets tons of “Likes” or “Shares”, they think their work is not good enough or that no one likes their creative flare.
When it comes to your art and your work, you have to be the one true judge of your creativity and always strive to try new things and think outside the box. I can personally tell you from experience that I have posted photos on 500px.com and even on Facebook that got very little attention, but that same photo on EyeEm.com and Getty Images is selling like hotcakes. This image I titled ‘Tybee Island Sunrise’ – Not liked at all of Social Media, sold 100+ copies on Getty Images!
On the other hand, images I have posted that got scored really high or gotten lots of “Likes” and “Shares” didn’t sell at all even though they were fantastic images and very creative and visually pleasing. The point is you are the best one to determine your best work and you can also get a more professional, objective opinion from your professors while you are still in college or from other professionals you are friends with or network with in the real world.
Social Media sites and platforms can be great for getting your work out there and noticed by a wider audience of people and perspective clients, but if you go into Social Media with the wrong mind-set, it can also suck the life out of you creatively. I find that a good way aside from the ones I mentioned a moment ago to have your photos honestly critiqued is to join some of the larger photography groups on Facebook that have been around for a while and have a large number of pros and seasoned hobbyists that are very active on there.
I personally created a Photography Twitter account that is totally separate from my personal one and have picked up quite a few professional photographers as followers and some of them are even nice enough to talk to me on there via Direct Message on a regular basis and are even kind enough to give me honest feedback on my work that I post there all the time. Some of your more famous photographers like Chase Jarvis and Zack Arias won’t give you the time of day on there and most of them won’t even answer emails either but there are still some pros out there that are more than happy to talk to you and even critique your work, such as Jared Polin from FroKnowsPhoto.com, Josh Schmidt from PhotoTipsHQ.com, Ken Rockwell from www.kenrockwell.com and Leigh from www.snapchick.com. This next image I titled ‘Wall of Light’ got tons of Likes and Shares, was used by my college for publications, but has never sold a copy.
I have also had personal exchanges by email with David Hobby and Scott Kelby as well, but they are a bit harder to catch up with as they are always so busy and get so much email, and I have never felt like bothering either one of them for a photo or portfolio review/critique.
The point I am trying to make is you cannot let these sites pull you down and make you second guess your abilities or creativity as a photographer or artist. Take most of the response you get on Social Media with a grain of salt, I don’t even let myself get overly excited when people gush over my work posted on there, but I do make sure I always thank them for their comments.