by Rene Ritchie, Daniel Rubino, Kevin Michaluk, Phil Nickinson
We've borne witness over the past few years to an explosion in the quality of smartphone cameras. Not only are they more technologically impressive than ever, but they're producing images that put all but the most expensive point-and-shoot cameras to shame, dramatically rivaling the power of the DSLR, and making it increasingly convenient to share those photos with the world.
In fact, sharing photos on the internet has become a major part of our online communication. Why describe something in cumbersome , inaccurate words when you can just post a photo that shows exactly what you're talking about? But can posting those photos bring you fame and acclaim? Certainly.
Although networks like Instagram and even Flickr are lamented by so-called ‘pro’ photographers, many are finding ways to leverage such networks to enhance their portfolio and earn new followers. In short, you don’t need to have an HD-quality photo presented on a 500px webpage to earn respect from fellow photogs; indeed anyone who knows photography can tell you it’s the image composition that matters, not the medium or resolution. Or even the subject.
The problem with professional photographers is that the traditional networks that they participate in are insular, only catering to other fellow professionals. While that may serve a purpose i.e. accredited feedback from one’s peers, it does nothing to enhance their wider, public appeal.
Anyone who knows photography can tell you it’s the image composition that matters, not the medium or resolution.
In theory, most photographers want their creations viewed by as many people as possible and even though the masses on Instagram may be less discerning, ahem, it can still open doors for national recognition. Of course, you still have to leverage that recognition into some form of money, because acclaim can't pay the bills.
Like all social networks, everyone starts out equal. Someone who is very new yet talented has the same chance to make their mark based on the merits of their work as a twenty-year veteran in the field. That social leveling is an enticing prospect for aspiring creators.
In the end, photographers should drop their bias against mobile photography and embrace the social network model. They don’t need to surrender their professional networks, but if they care about getting more recognition (and presumably more opportunity to showcase their work), then they will take to the Instagrams, Imgurs, and Flickrs of the world.