The Old Guard vs. Social Savvy Shooters in Photography

Adapt or Fade Away

The impact of social media on photography is profound, revolutionizing how images are shared, discovered, and appreciated. This digital transformation has created a rift between traditionalists and modernists within the photography community. Old-timers, rooted in the practices and principles that defined photography for decades, often view the rapid pace of change with skepticism or outright disdain. They prioritize the craftsmanship of photography, emphasizing the importance of technique, composition, and the physicality of the medium. For them, the art of photography is in the meticulous process of capturing and developing images, a philosophy that sometimes clashes with the instantaneous, omnipresent nature of social media.

Conversely, those who embrace social media and its trends represent a new wave of photographers. They leverage platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter to showcase their work, connect with audiences worldwide, and explore new creative boundaries.

This group is characterized by its willingness to adapt and innovate, using social media not just as a gallery but as a tool for engagement, learning, and career advancement. They see value in the immediacy and accessibility of digital platforms, which allow for real-time feedback, collaboration, and a democratization of photography that was previously unimaginable.

fotolilly photography blog about Photography's Social Media Evolution- The Old Guard vs. Social Shooters in Photography

The tension between these two camps is palpable. Traditionalists often criticize the newer generation for what they perceive as a dilution of photographic standards. They argue that the ubiquity of digital images and the emphasis on quantity over quality, driven by likes and follows, undermines the artistry of photography.

There's a sentiment among some old-timers that social media promotes a superficial understanding and appreciation of photography, where the aesthetic of an image is valued more for its viral potential than its artistic merit.

fotolilly photography blog about Photography's Social Media Evolution- The Old Guard vs. Social Shooters in Photography

On the other hand, modernists accuse the old guard of gatekeeping and elitism, arguing that resistance to change stifles innovation and inclusivity in the field of photography. They believe that social media has democratized photography, making it accessible to a wider range of voices and perspectives. For them, the digital evolution of photography is not a departure from tradition but an expansion of it, where new tools and platforms enable creative expression in ways that were previously impossible.

fotolilly photography blog about Photography's Social Media Evolution- The Old Guard vs. Social Shooters in Photography

This debate is emblematic of a broader conversation about change, adaptation, and the future of creative disciplines in the digital age. While there is merit to the concerns of traditionalists about preserving the integrity and craftsmanship of photography, it is equally important to recognize the opportunities presented by social media. These platforms have not only changed the way photographers share their work but have also expanded the audience for photography, brought new voices into the conversation, and fostered innovative approaches to visual storytelling.

Keep in mind this isnt the first time we saw such a divide in photography. One of the biggest divides that came to surface was when DSLR's were introduced to the markets. Some moved to these new systems while many stayed with their older types of cameras or better yet when film photography started to fade away.

fotolilly photography blog about Photography's Social Media Evolution- The Old Guard vs. Social Shooters in Photography

The challenge for the photography community is to find a balance between these perspectives, acknowledging the value of traditional practices while embracing the possibilities of the digital age. By fostering dialogue and understanding between old-timers and modernists, the community can ensure that photography continues to evolve in a way that respects its past while eagerly anticipating its future.

Embracing Social Media: A Path to Visibility and Engagement

For photographers willing to dive into the social media wave, the potential rewards are vast. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest offer unparalleled opportunities for exposure, allowing photographers to showcase their work to a global audience with just a few clicks.

Beyond mere exposure, social media facilitates direct engagement with followers, creating a community around a photographer's work. This engagement is not just about likes and comments; it's about building relationships that can lead to collaborations, client leads, and even sales.

Moreover, social media platforms are fertile ground for innovation and creativity. They encourage photographers to experiment with new techniques, trends, and ideas. The dynamic nature of social media content demands constant evolution, pushing photographers to continually refine their craft and explore new boundaries.

The Risks of Stagnation: Sticking to Tradition

On the other end of the spectrum, some photographers choose to stick with traditional practices, eschewing social media for a variety of reasons. Whether it's a preference for the tangible feel of print photography, a desire to focus on the art without the distraction of constant online updates, or simply a reluctance to navigate the perceived complexities of social media platforms, the reasons are as diverse as photography itself.

However, this resistance to change comes with significant risks. The most glaring is the potential for decreased visibility. As the world becomes more digitized, the audience for traditional photography mediums is shrinking. Without a social media presence, photographers may find it increasingly difficult to reach new clients, sell their work, or gain recognition in the broader photography community.

Additionally, by avoiding social media, photographers miss out on the feedback loop that these platforms provide. The instant feedback from a diverse audience can be invaluable for growth and improvement, offering fresh perspectives and critiques that can help refine a photographer's vision.

Finding a Balance

While the allure of social media is undeniable, it's also essential to approach it with a strategic mindset. Successful photographers on social media don't just post their work; they tell their stories, share their processes, and engage with their followers in meaningful ways. It requires time, effort, and a genuine desire to connect with others.

For photographers rooted in traditional practices, there's a middle ground to be found. Incorporating elements of social media doesn't have to mean abandoning traditional values. It can be as simple as creating an online portfolio, sharing work in progress on Instagram stories, or engaging with photography communities on platforms like Reddit.

fotolilly photography blog about Photography's Social Media Evolution- The Old Guard vs. Social Shooters in Photography

The question of whether to adapt to the social media game or stay the same is not just about choosing between two distinct paths. It's about understanding the evolving landscape of photography and recognizing the opportunities and challenges that come with it. By finding a balance that respects the essence of traditional photography while embracing the potential of social media, photographers can navigate this digital age without losing sight of the art that drives them. Whether through adaptation or steadfastness, the key is to remain true to one's vision while being open to the possibilities that change brings.