Column: Leave it to the pros


By Mike Abell

Instagram photography on the rise

We now live in an age of technology where the quality of cell phone snap shots is getting better and better. I run into people who think it’s pointless to hire a professional photographer. They couldn’t be more wrong.

While the quality of the average camera phone has come a long way in recent years in terms of pixel density, the people who use the phones have not. To put it simply, the app of Instagram will never truly replace the average photographer who knows what they’re doing.

I don’t necessarily dislike the app. I just really can’t stand the people who think the app empowers them to think that they’re in anyway a true photographer. Real photographers study light and really have to know how to use their camera in order to yield great photos. Not everyone who uses Instagram annoys me either; however, there are people who use to it market themselves as being professional.

What most people don’t know is that when they download the app they allow the company of Instagram to use their photos for publication and the person who takes the photos doesn’t make a penny. So all users unknowingly sign all their work over to a company that doesn’t even have to notify you if your photos show up in magazine, if you can even call them your photos any longer.

During my time as a photographer, I have learned there will always be someone better then you. It is as simple as that. I have also learned there are people who think they are photographers because of Instagram.

When you use your smartphone, it takes all those basic lessons of photography and throws it in the dumpster. You don’t have to have an expensive DSLR to consider yourself a photographer, but when it comes to paid freelance work, it makes my eyes bleed when I see people use their phone. There really isn’t much skill involved.

As a paid photographer there have been assignments that I told the potential client no. Sometimes you have to say no, as a photographer you don’t want to ruin your reputation. People who do paid assignments with their smart phones and with Instagram don’t even realize the ramifications of their own actions when they turn over grainy and heavily filtered photos.

As time has gone on, I have learned to live with the fact that there will always be people who misuse this technology. The app itself is here to stay, and in the end photographers know that people who use Instagram are nothing more than just that.

Contact Mike Abell, photo editor, at

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