I love taking pictures and I love sharing them with people.
Why would you go to all the effort of taking pictures of this beautiful planet only to keep them to yourself. The maturing social media scene has given us all the perfect platform to share with likeminded people who either love photography, technology or the world we live in.
Personally I believe that I take two types of pictures. The first and the most frequent are a bit of a diary of my life, albeit snaps of my family or a moment in time like a nice sunset from the garden or birds on the feeder. The second which I will vaguely call "serious photography". Now please don't assume for a moment that I mean it's good photography, what I mean is that I've put some thought into the shot in the form of a plan or an idea.
I suspect the majority of "photograhers" would be lying if they said that getting 100, 200, 300, 400+ likes on Facebook or 100 retweets on twitter didn't give them a bit of an ego massage. This I will admit to. But this has got me thinking….Does these occasional ego massage start to influence the types of pictures that I take?
Having thought about it recently I do tend to believe that social media is having more of an influence on my pictures than I would like to admit. I have caught myself a few times thinking this will go well on twitter, or thats a "Facebook crowd pleaser". From my perspective this isn't a good mindset to get into.
If I'm taking pictures to purely please others but not myself, how do I expect to improve and learn? I don't think taking any more pictures of Carreg Cennen Castle from the same vantage point will improve my skills in anyway.
I've recently posted a few images onto a well known Facebook group which has taught me a lot. Firstly, I posted a colour version of a landscape which was relatively well received - but not an image that I particularly like. A few days later I then posted a B&W edited version that I actually quite liked. This received 2 likes.
After a bit of reflection (and a short cry), I now actually think if I want to improve my technique, composition, I need to get better at taking pictures of the things I love, not taking more guaranteed crowd pleasers. I'm starting to believe if I improve my own technique then this will reflect on how well they will be received by others - this is perhaps a better measurement of how my photography is improving and progressing.
I also believe its important to remember that people don't see things through the same eyes. They "take out" of pictures what they want, and this is true with the technical process of taking pictures too - we are all motivated by different things in life and react to situations in different way too.
I enjoy social media not just because its a great place to meet likeminded people and be inspired by others, but because also its a real leveller. Just when you are getting all the praise in the world and you think you are going to be the next Michael Kenna, you post a stinker, and you are royally ignored by all. If this happens, don't change from doing what you love, just work at it harder and eventually you'll get your rewards - wether its a greater personal satisfaction or perhaps 1000 likes on Facebook ;-)
All images Copyright - David Rice
David is a photographer based in Carmarthenshire, West Wales. When not with his family, he enjoys capturing images of the beautiful Towy valley. His work can be seen at www.towyphotography.com and on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/towyphotography or a regular tweeter on twitter @caerwynt_loops. He can be contacted by email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.