How an Old School Photographer is Kicking Your Butt on Instagram

jim-richardson-03Social media is supposed to be the realm of the young, and in this realm, Instagram reigns as visual king. It’s easy to imagine skinny jean-wearing hipsters snapping filtered squares of their perfect lunches and summer skinny dipping soirees. So it might surprise you to find that an old school National Geographic photographer has unlocked the keys for Insta-success.

Jim Richardson (@JimRichardsonNG) is a contributing photographer to National Geographic and has shot over 25 stories in a storied 30-year career. Although he continues to work for the magazine and pursue personal topics of interest like light pollution, Richardson has also amassed an Instagram following of over 80,000 people – outpacing the majority of his contemporaries, as well as online photo “celebrities.” The ever-cerebral photographer and I have been discussing Instagram and its meaning and implications for over a year now, and we recently traded some notes on the topic.

PS: What compelled you to create an Instagram account?

JR: At first I thought Instagram was totally frivolous. But then I started seeing that photographers were using it to make real statements. And then National Geographic started the @natgeo feed, and early on I could see that there was broad interest. It was gaining an audience. So I jumped in — not the first of the National Geographic photographers to do so, but pretty early on. I just figured that I didn’t know how this thing was going to work, but I needed be in the middle of things, trying to figure it out.

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Slingshot: Facebook’s New App Takes Snapchat Head-On

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Facebook’s been expanding like no other social network before it for quite a while now; with the acquisition of apps like Instagram, or companies like Oculus, it’s clear that this is a website relentless in its business strategies. Just about a year back, Facebook attempted to purchase Snapchat for $3 billion, and Snapchat declined. After that, they successfully snagged WhatsApp in exchange for an unbelievable sum of $16 billion. And I’m not too much of an expert on the matter, but if a company’s paying four times what the Star Wars franchise was sold for for an app, it’s safe to say they’re not messing around when it comes to expansion.

Considering Snapchat turned down the company’s offers, Facebook decided to develop something of their own: a new app called Slingshot. Designed to be similar to Snapchat in terms of its basic concept, Slingshot has now officially been unveiled.

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Instagram’s 6.0 Update Finally Brings Real Editing Tools to the Social Networking App

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Instagram hasn’t really been much of a photography app, lately. When it started off, it was a great way for the average smartphone user to give their photos a vintage Polaroid look. But with how popular it’s gotten, especially after its acquisition by Facebook, Instagram’s been keeping more of a focus on social networking than it has on actual photo editing. Today, a new update just released for the app that might change all that.

The latest update, Instagram 6.0, brings improvements to what’s already there – straightening, cropping, rotating – and then it adds on more. This time, the social networking-focused app is coming with tools that have been essential for any photographer up to this point; with 6.0, we get options to adjust brightness, saturation, contrast, and more. No word yet on how those features compare in quality to their counterparts in apps like Snapseed, VSCO, or Afterlight, but considering it’s one of the fastest growing social networking apps out there, it’s great to see Instagram bringing tools like this to mainstream attention.

Check out the full list of specs after the break. You can update to Instagram 6.0 right now on Google Play or the App Store.

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Morning Coffee with an Instagram Wedding Photographer

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I’m not entirely sure, but it is quite possible that I witnessed a sign of the rapidly approaching Apocalypse this morning. There was no plague of locusts descending from the heavens. No fire. No brimstone. The earth continued rotating on its axis just fine. I’m sure nobody else even noticed. Regardless of its subtlety, it still came at me out of nowhere like a brick to the side of the head.

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Kodak & Instagram: A Tale of Dollars & Sense

Instagram, the supposed “new face” of photography, celebrated its 3rd birthday earlier this month. What’s that? You weren’t invited to the party? Well, considering the usual fanfare and not-so-subtle ways in which the billion-dollar photo-sharing app usually marks its milestones, I’m actually kind of surprised that Instagram’s official entry into toddlerhood (or teens in internet years) came and went without even so much as a blip on our collective radar..

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