Are We Photographers Now? Photography in the Age of Instagram

Everyone can take a picture. Take out your smartphone right now. Focus it on any subject and press the shutter. No one will blink an eye because we have normalized taking photos so much that it’s part of our nature. There was a time when to take good photos, families have to schedule a photographer and a studio. Complete with lights and setup, the photographer will ask the subjects to pose before the camera. You won’t know how you look like in those pictures except when you finally picked up the developed film.

Those days are long gone now. In the past 10 years, the world has gone from casually needing pictures to document weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions to having access to a camera every second of every day. With this convenience comes social media, Instagram in particular. With over one billion active users every month, Instagram changed the way people use and see photography.

Suddenly, these blurry photos from your childhood are no longer the norm. You need a curated feed. To do that, you have to take stunning photos of subjects, landscapes, and random everyday things. You can be as eclectic as you like on Instagram. At the same time, you can curate your feed to look like the pages of Vogue.

Can We Call Ourselves Photographers Now?

Professional photographers have long been using high-end photo retouching services. It’s called post-production, and today, they use digital tools to enhance the quality of their photographs. Amateur photographers and ordinary smartphone users also have that to the tune of their editing apps. Even Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop have basic versions that you can download to your smartphones.

You can take good—but not great—pictures now don’t bode well for classical photographers. For years, they’ve fought against the use of smartphones to take photos. They brought their bulky cameras with them, tinkering with the manual control as they take photos after photos. But with information available on the internet, Instagram’s active users learned how to do it, too.

Now, the only question is whether their photos tell a story the way professional photos do. That’s what separates photographers from smartphone users who know how to use the rule of thirds. Maybe it’s the experience, or maybe it’s a gift, but professional photographers know exactly how to tell a story by capturing the essence of a moment.

Why We Hire Professionals


It’s the same reason you wouldn’t trust your cousin to take photos of your wedding. That’s why you’re spending tens of thousands of dollars on a professional wedding photographer. You want the best, and the best means you need someone with experience. That someone will not be your distant cousin who takes great selfies and “landscape” photos. If you want to remember your wedding exactly as it is, you have to trust professional photographers to do the job.

That’s not to say that there are no photographers who can hone their talents and skills through smartphones and the photo editing apps they come with. Many new and young photographers went on to become great contributors to the industry. They started by taking photos on their phones and then bought a mirrorless camera, then a DSLR camera. Soon after, they’re winning prestigious awards for their photographs.

As a medium, photography has gone a long way. From being used primarily to immortalize memories, it is now focal to every marketing strategy known to man. Can you imagine how social media would have gone to being if photography does not exist? Would it be as influential as it is today? Will Instagram dominate these Millennials’ and Generation Z’s every waking thought if not for the chance to show their visuals?

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