I decided last year I should push my exposure on social media. Instagram seemed like the obvious choice - I'm a photographer and Instagram is photo based. I had been using Instagram for a while but mostly as just a way to see pictures of my friends. I never really used hashtags, unless I was posting pictures of board games, in which case I'd use hashtags like #boardgamegeek or something like that. But then I realized I could post pictures that I take with my camera and use Instagram as a platform for exposure, so I started to post using every photography related hashtag I could think of. Some of my posts would get maybe 15-20 likes. Sometimes they'd get upwards of 70. I could't tell what people on Instagram liked and didn't like. It seemed like my taste and the general taste of Instagram users were pretty different. I did non scientific experiment with 4 pictures. Two I really liked, and two I thought were pretty cool but pretty cliche. Here are my findings.
I love this picture. I was so proud of it when I was finished, I was certain I'd blow up my Instagram with this single image. To me, it looks like something I'd find in National Geographic. You can see detail in the eye, through the wings, it's an almost perfect profile shot, time is frozen but you can still see movement, especially in the angle of how the bird is flying. I have a hard time believing I took this picture and not someone else. I didn't go crazy with editing on this one either. I brushed the background so it would be blue again, but that's pretty much it as far as fancy tricks go. Pretty happy with it!
This picture is kinda boring to me. I mean, it looks cool I guess, but there's not a lot going on. I didn't think about this one too much much when I shot it. I saw a flock of pigeons flying horizontally in front of me, about to cross the sun, so I quickly put my camera in to almost random settings and began firing, hoping something would be in focus. Then when I put it in my computer it looked like garbage. So I did what I always do when a picture I take isn't what I want it to be - I made it black and white. I cranked up contrast and clarity almost all the way up and brought the highlights almost all the way down so you could see the shape of the sun. In hindsight, I kinda wish I had kept the sun just a big bright wash in the middle, rather than bringing the highlights down so you could see the circle of the sun.
Picture 1 got 35 likes. Pretty respectable for my account. The black and white one got almost double that with 66 likes. I did a test with a similar set of images, both posted around the same time.
This is actually the same bird from the first picture, so the settings are the same. Again, I love this because it's sharp, you can see loads of detail in the bird, it shows motion but it's not blurry. I think it's great.
This is one of the test shots I did before the flock of pigeons came by. Same settings on my camera, almost same editing done here. The only difference is I didn't bother taking out that little splotch just to the right of my watermark!
Again, picture 1 got a respectable 41 likes. But picture two got 56 likes! From what I can tell, my most successful pictures are insanely high contrast black and white photos. Also, if I ever post an HDR image, I can guarantee at least 50 likes on that. My favorite shots of animals barely break 25/35.
Getting Instagram likes and followers isn't incredibly important to me. I just noticed a trend in how my images are responded to. What do you think of these pictures? Do you prefer the black and white or the color images?