All of us who share our work online expect to receive some feedback: likes, comments, constructive criticism. And who doesn’t like to have their images appreciated and loved by many? That’s all perfectly okay, but can it hinder our creativity? In this video, Evan Ranft discusses why it doesn’t matter who likes your photos and why you shouldn’t drive inspiration from your social media stats.
I gave this topic some thought, and here’s what I think. It seems much easier to stay true to yourself if you only take photos as a hobby. In that case, you simply shoot because you enjoy it and you shoot what you like, how you like it. Lots of Instagram likes are a bonus, but they don’t really matter as long as you’re pleased with your work and your progress.
But if you’ve decided to dip your toes into the waters of professional photography, I think this is where it gets tricky. You want to gain more followers and have your work seen. You need clients for photography, or if you shoot YouTube videos, you want to get them monetized. In this case, it’s easier to fall under the influence of current trends. And there are two dangers behind it.
First, trends come and go. By following them at all costs, you will lose yourself and you won’t develop your own signature style. And second, you could lose motivation and your creative drive. You won’t have the internal motivation to shoot, but the external factors will affect you: what people want to see, what gains likes and follows, what the current trends are… And this is not the kind of motivation that works for us creatives. At least not in the long run.
So, although likes, comments, and follows may be tempting, they won’t satisfy you in the long run. It won’t get your creative juices flowing. Therefore, stay true to yourself and shoot what you like to shoot. Get inspired by other photographers, other art forms, the world around you, and within you. Ultimately, you’ll develop your own style and attract precisely the clients who will appreciate it.
[Why I Don’t Care Who Likes My Photography | Evan Ranft]