Studio photographers adapt to Instagram amateurs

Instagrammers and professional photographers are fighting for relevance on the battlefield of photography. (Hope Thomas)

Local photography studios are working with market saturation as amateur Instagram photographers flood social media. Their saving grace? Their ability to adapt to ever-moving trends. 

Whitney Meine, the owner of South City Studios in Provo, said she feels Instagram photographers are a positive addition to the photography industry. “I think there are more photographers because there’s more use for photography,” she said. “E-commerce is becoming bigger, so there’s more opportunity for professionals to work.”

She sees the rise of Instagram as a chance for more people to hone their skills in the craft and tap into the growing market.

“There’s probably more opportunity than there’s ever been for photographers to become professionals,” Meine said.

Professional photographer Taylor Tucker works at Camera Shy, an Orem family photography studio, also said she views Instagram photographers as helpful to the industry.

“Photography trends are constantly changing, and with those trends being constantly published on Instagram by amateurs, professional photographers are able to contribute and perfect those trends,” Tucker said.

Tucker said she favors professional photos over amateurs’ work but sees Instagram as a positive platform for professional photographers in addition to novices.

“I think it’s great that professionals are able to publish their photos without having to manage a website or a blog, but then I see the other side where people with phone cameras attempt to mimic the same thing professionals use,” she said.

Tucker said that although professional photographers have an edge in terms of training, it all depends on what the trends are.

“Photography is an ever-changing art form,” Tucker said. “New colors, styles and trends are always coming out, so professionals won’t always produce images that come out on top.”

Tucker said studios like Camera Shy have implemented trends like candid photos, which were made popular by phone cameras and social media.

BYU art professor Daniel Everett said he believes Instagram prevents people from taking time to fully appreciate the craft. To Everett, Instagram is a helpful platform for artists to publish their work, but it interrupts the artistic process of thoughtfully analyzing an image.

“You can swipe instantly without taking in the meaning and purpose of the image,” Everett said. “I know of a photographer who posted 4,000 images in a day on his profile so as to interrupt his followers from constantly swiping to a new image.”

BYU advertising student Sarah Allen is more hopeful about Instagram photographers. “I think there might be a bias against amateur photographers, but I think success in photography comes down to whether your stuff looks good and how you serve clients or audience,” she said.

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