It has been discussed a lot, the topic of access to social media making people more depressed and unhappy due to the constant exposure of pictures showing other people's seemingly perfect life.
I must admit that I found these claims quite exaggerated in the beginning. I don't feel sad or depressed when after scrolling through my Instagram or Facebook feed. True, when I see photos of my friends in sunny countries surrounded by beautiful nature while I myself have to sit at the office and work, I get a little jealous. The same jealous that I was when I got postcards in the olden days. I'm jealous that they can bury their bare feet in a warm beautiful beach while I can't - I'm not jealous of their life, just this particular geographical factor in their life at that moment.
However, I thought a little more about the matter and softened my harsh judgement after a while. The reason was that I realized I don't have a lot of content in my feeds that I expect would make me sad and depressed. On Instagram, I mainly follow photographers or artists because of the style and quality of their photos. On a bad day, seeing their amazing work might make me feel insecure about my own work. However, bad days are often followed by good days and then I feel the inspiration and motivation that drives me forward to try out new things and improve myself - on a professional level.
I realized that I don't follow any lifestyle bloggers or fitness coaches. To be honest, seeing always clean, perfectly alignes living spaces besides of smoothies, salads and gyms would make me depressed, too. I'm a lazy person that doesn't bother cleaning up or going for a run on a regular basis, so I would constantly be presented with content that highlights my own weaknesses on a personal level.
Cool, cool, cool. So that's the solution? Everyone stops following lifestyle and fitness influencers and then no one gets depressed anymore?
Well, obiously not. However, that was the hook that got me thinking about the whole issue.
This is a blog about photography, so let's stay inside of the area. Like lifestyle bloggers, we are photography bloggers. Hell, let's just call us influencers to really provoke with the terminology!
I Want to be a Better Photography Influencer on a Personal Level
With personal level I don't mean whether I eat salads or burgers for dinner, but what the life of a photographer involves. To give you an example:
Our apartment has a big living room, which we use as a studio. We often post photos of this home studio. However, before taking these photos I often run around the apartment and throw things out of the way which I think shouldn't be on the photo. Also, we mainly only show our studio setup when we have a shoot, but not during everyday life. Because let's be honest - having all the studio gear in your living room constantly takes up a lot of space and is not necessarily decorative if you're not into that kind of aesthetics.
So here comes a photo of our combined living room-kitchen space without me altering anything on a regular day.
Our kitchen seldom is very tidy, the laundry stand often is on exactly that spot. We never completely pack away the softboxes and background stands - today they're even kinda tidy, as the background paper sometimes is rolled out for weeks. That's the life we chose when we decided to have a photogaphy studio in our living space. That also means that our clients enter our personal life and space when they come to have a photoshoot. We just have to decide - do we wanna hide our personal life away to make it all as professional and clean and aligned as possible?
(On that note, it is quite amazing that a lot of photographers have started to livestream on Instagram and Twitch!)
I Want to be a Better Photography Influencer on a Professional Level
Yes, we use Photoshop and Lightroom to edit photos. Yes, we do retouch skin to remove blemishes etc. Yes, especially I enjoy to really play around experiment with Photoshop once in a while. However, overall and in general, our photography s pretty natural and authentic in terms of that we don't just add or remove things.
This weekend end, though, I wanted to practice my own Photoshop skills and I edited some of the photos from the horse photography meet up some more.
I follow some dog and horse photographers, and after admiring their feed for a while, I was very surprised when I saw a first before-and-after post with a horse with and and without headcollar or a dog with and without leash. In my naivity, I had just assumed that these pets were very trained and obedient and photographed all 'naked'. Turned out - often they're not. Sometimes, even the owners got photoshopped out. I actually felt mixed about this. In a way I felt betrayed as my imagination had created all these amazing stories behind the free, wild, beautiful creatures.
However, some photos from the meet up were perfect for at least trying to do the same thing. And again I feel mixed about the whole thing. Some photos I like more with the editing, but I still feel like cheating. Don't I tell a wrong story?
In my eyes, these photos of Line Lykke Madsen and Birchwood UK Remarkable Ranger have slightly improved from the editing. The leash is mainly just a disturbing factor and it didn't take much time and effort to edit it out.
For photos like these, I won't edit both headcollar, leash and crop out in the future. Maybe only the crop because it is disturbing and annoying, but I don't see anything disturbing in a horse that is on the leash. Isn't it the personality of the horse and the bond to the owner that should be visible in the photos?
What do you think? Are you the owner of a dog or horse and don't agree? Let us know! - I actually posted the last photo on Facebook, so leave a comment!