Instagram: Twitter for photogs

I sat down tonight to write about my new found fascination with Instagram and quickly discovered that PhotoShelter Chairman and co-founder Allen Murabayashi did it much better in his PhotoShelter blog post entitled “Why Instagram is Terrible for Photographers, and Why You Should Use It”. So why am I still typing? Because I can’t sleep 🙂

Instagram post of the Rock Island Co. Fair Queen. Shot with a D300s, transferred to my iPhone and posted via Instagram to Twitter and Facebook.

Despite being 46-years-old my brain seems to naturally sync well with today’s social networking way of life.  For as much as I post on Facebook these days it is ironic that I started using it reluctantly. My nieces and nephews strong armed me into joining and I never looked back. I came to Twitter reluctantly – when my employer suggested I Tweet. By the way if you follow me on Twitter please accept my humble apologies for not being very interesting. I embraced the camera app Hipsatmatic the first-second I found it in the iTunes App Store. I thought

“Wow, what a cool photo toy.” I quickly realized however that the Hipstamatic app is not a toy. It is has quickly become an invaluable tool for me as a storyteller.

Anti-meat protest in Davenport shot with Hipstamatic app

Eventual John Deere Classic winner Zach Johnson with Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz. Shot with Nikon D300s, transfered to iPhone, tweaked with Snapseed and posted via Instagram.

Last but not least I have finally come to embrace Instagram. If you are a professional photographer the Instagram fine print probably scares the bejeebers out of you – I know it scared me. But then again any kind of fine print frightens me.  My journey to Instagram was sparked by a question on Facebook from an old high school friend – Karlton Uhm. He was looking for some ‘expert’ advice on which photography iPhone apps to use. I gave him my 2-cents worth advice which I believe included a jab at Instagram. But his question got me thinking about the app – why did Facebook buy it? Why is everyone taking about it? Am I the last one to the party? So I started to play around with it and discovered that some of my friends and colleagues were posting on Instagram. Photographer friends like Marianne Mather (fotomather), Brian Ray (brayphoto), Scott Strazzante (scottstrazzante), Amy Vinchattle (amyvinchattle), H. Rick Bamman (hrick30), Rodney White (Rodney) and Talya Arbisser (photosbytalya), just to name a few, were all on Instagram and posting some cool stuff. Hmmm. If they’re not scared off by those spooky details maybe I should give it a whirl.

Golf fans sports some wacky pants during the John Deere Classic shot with the Instagram app on my iPhone.

Sleeping golf fan during JDC. Shot with Instagram app.

What I quickly discovered was that Instagram is basically Twitter for the typing impaired – a.k.a photographers. Photographers are visual thinkers and posting our thoughts and observations in the form of photos seems a perfect fit. I really embraced the app during the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic. Some of the photos I posted were transmitted from my D300s via the EyeFi card into my iPhone where I edited them and posted them via Instagram. Others were shot with the iPhone using various camera apps including Instagram. It was fun to try something new visually as I walked around the course. As a photographer Tweeting that I was walking up the 9th fairway is pretty boring stuff but posting a quirky picture of two golf fans in wacky pants is kinda interesting – or at least it is to me.

I use a variety of sources for the photos I post on Instagram. Some are DSLR photos transferred to my iPhone. Others are shot with Camera, Camera +, Instagram and my favorite app – Hipstamatic. I won’t get into the debate over the app filters. If you want to read about that click in the link I mentioned at the top of this post. The bottom-line for me is that I love a challenge. Trying to make great photos with my iPhone is just like trying to paint in oils after years of using watercolors. The goal is the same but the tools are different. Being a photographer is all about connecting with your audience and the best way for me to connect with people is to utilize the various social networking platforms. My stuff varies from work related images, like the ones from the John Deere Classic, to a photo of my dog Ivy sleeping on the couch. No matter the photo I am not interested in posting crap so even if I am posting a dog photo I try and make it a good one.

So after a slow start with Instagram I have come to firmly believe that it is one of the best ways to for both pro-shooters and amateur photographers to connect with their audience/friends.

Feel free to follow me at tmizener on Instagram.

My dog Ivy chases birds. Photo taken with the Instagram app and cross-posted on Facebook.

Shot with iPhone Camera app, cropped and posted via Instagram.

Shot with Hipstamatic app and posted via Instagram

Nice moment at JDC shot with Nikon D300s and transfered to iPhone and posted via Instagram.

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