Quitting Instagram as a photography amateur: social media alternatives

Hello Youtube. My name is Caya and I consider myself and
amateur photographer…and for the past few years I’ve been spending time and effort,
crafting and publishing my photos on Instagram. But I no longer believe Instagram is the place
to be discovered. I’m quitting Instagram, and I’m going to tell
you why. OK, so first of all, let’s talk about the
evolution of Instagram, and travel back to 2012, this is when I first moved to NYC..
and it was a fantastic time for me. Back in 2012 your family was starting to join
Facebook, and then Facebook was this place where you would still publish photos about
your trips and your vacations, photos with your friends and tag them, comment, whatever… And then Instagram was this little secret
place, it already had millions of users, but it was a secret millennial place where you
would post day to day random spots that you would find, and that’s what I would use Instagram
for, the photos that would stand out were the photos where you found the weird angle
and chose the right filter. And that’s fine, it’s literally amateur photography. Maybe you found a friend that had some talent
for composition that you didn’t even know about. And we used to have Instagram cheating, I
don’t know if you remember this, it was cheating if you would use your DSLR photos, so Instagram
was all about smartphone photos. And we loved it, right? We loved this little secret place where we
could look at life through these filters. Fast forward to 2019, Facebook is not cool
anymore, we all know that! There’s no original content on Facebook anymore,
people are no longer publishing pictures about whatever they’re up to. Facebook is all about news, and fighting and
controversy, fake news… But Instagram is still somewhat selective…
at least on what you follow, or how much business content you get. And we have stories now. I don’t hate stories, I really don’t. I don’t hate stories. I think that the word here is transcendence. I want to create content that’s worth watching
and sharing. If I’m going to spend anywhere from 5 minutes
to 10 hours editing a video, I want that content to live on.. and it’s fine, it’s fine! I think there’s content that should be ephemeral..
but in the end Stories have transformed Instagram into what it is today. I think it’s still a cool platform, but Instagram
is no longer the place for amateur photographers to get discovered, it’s become this place
where we follow our friends, where we find out what they’re up to, or where we follow
people that we care about like celebrities, for whatever reason we are curious about what
they are up to, and I’ve been migrating my time on Instagram from watching the feed,
to watching stories. That’s the inherent problem here, if you’re
taking photos, it’s no longer what Instagram is all about. And that is reason number one. So now let’s move on to standing out on Instagram. I’ve accepted… I’ve accepted that I can’t stand out on Instagram. I’m going to tell you story to illustrate
this. When I was in college I studied Digital Animation
which is this very design, artsy-oriented career. I was never an artist in high school. Digital Animation is a career where you stand
out if you’re talented, not because you studied very hard. So one of my best friends in college was Luis
Gadea. Luis would carry his sketchpad every day,
every moment we’re sitting, having coffee or having lunch, he’s sketching. And he’s this fantastic, truly fantastic illustrator. What I figured, knowing Luis, is that I’m
never going to be as good as him, I’m never going to catch up to him, unless I dedicate
twice the time he’s already spending drawing. And that’s the way it works for a lot of things
in this career, you need to be very aware, and accept that there are things that you
aren’t that good at… and you have to leverage what you are talented at. That’ in the end the conclusion I made with
Instagram. I don’t have the capability to stand out on
Instagram as a photographer. I took a class with another Luis, now that’s
coincidence. This guy has a blog called ‘To the Wonder’
and I’m a big fan of his. He’s Costa Rican photographer that travels
the world taking these mind blowing photos. But after taking the class and understanding
the type of photo that he takes, the effort that he puts into this… this is a photo
that he has to choose the right filter for, spent thousands of dollars in these lenses
because he wants the perfect picture. I can’t do that! I’m no that passionate about photography to
spend a day…. I went to Japan a couple months ago, I really
don’t want to spend one of my ten days in Japan finding the perfect shot of Mount Fuji. Again, just like with college, I realized
I’m not going to be a professional photographer unless I really spend that time. And that’s fine. If you’re someone like Luis, you can absolutely
stand out on Instagram, you search for a hashtag and a photo like this, stands out… but unless
you want to go that route, I no longer believe Instagram is the place. And we as amateur photographers need to evolve
out of Instagram. So what to do now? Youtube. This Youtube channel is one of the things
that I am doing… and by all means, if I suck at this, let me know in the comments
now! If not, maybe subscribe, but only if you want
to 😉 So to explain how landed on Youtube, how I’m betting on Youtube, I should tell
you about my background. I’m going to do that in this 30 second clip. This is my life in 30 seconds or less. Born and raised in Costa Rica. In 05 I got a job so I could pay for college,
tried to be a developer. FAILED. Found something more design oriented: Digital
Animation. I made a short film. Met amazing artists who were going to make
it, realized I wasn’t one of them. FAILED to get promoted at my job, quit, came
up with a cool iOS game, raised a Kickstarter Campaign for it, appeared on CNN, game got
called ‘The Next Angry Birds’. Moved to New York. FAILED. Moved back to San Jose with $15,000 in debt. Spoke at TEDx. Started Slidebean with these guys. Became a Dad. Worked as hard as I’ve ever worked in my
life. Paid debt. Slidebean became profitable and grew to a
team of 24. Made time for hobbies again, tried to put
my photos on Instagram, FAILED. Made a two cameos in NAS Daily, chatted about
Youtube. Turned 30. Figured I had to go to Base Camp before I
get old and tell the story. So what I’m trying to do here is, leveraging
the experience and the talent that I have. I’m a decent writer, I think. I can edit a good video and I have post-production
skills. This is something that I really can’t leverage
on Instagram… but it’s something that I might leverage on Youtube… and that is why
I’m here. I’m trying this out, this is the third video
I make… but for you as an amateur photographer this is what I think you should try and reconsider. Maybe Instagram is not the place to get your
photos discovered. If you can, try Youtube. If you can stand in front of a camera and
tell a story. I used to make this videos that were sort
of moving pictures. I picked this song and edited a lot of different
shots from my trip. I did that when I went to Iceland, I did it
when I went to Easter Island which was one of my favorite trips ever. But this content is not interesting because
it’s not telling a story… and this is what people enjoy on Youtube, being told stories. I was watching this interview with Casey Neistat
the other day, and I guess we have to quote Casey. I was pretty poor. I had my son when I was 16 and I washed dishes
for a living… and it wasn’t until I was 18 years old that I decided I wanted to make
movies. I was washing dishes so that I could pay for
my computer that I could edit on, I was an assistant. I used to clean out kitty litter boxes for
my boss so I could get a paycheck, take that money, buy cameras and make movies. I always made a living so I could make movies. I never made movies to try and make a living. I think this is very interesting. It’s not like I don’t care if my videos are
liked. I care, I really do. But I’m working, I have a day job I’m not
planning on quitting, and I make these videos because I want to tell a story. So if you’re an amateur photographer, I think
that it’s time for you to reconsider Instagram. There are platforms like 500px. I think 500px is still… photos are too pro. I can’t compete with a photo from 500px. I think this is the best photo that I’ve ever
shot, and it was a complete coincidence… it’s my favorite photo ever. And I put it on 500px and it did, just OK. Maybe we need a new platform, right? Maybe we need a new Instagram, a new place
where selfies are forbidden, where friends photos are forbidden, you can only publish
the world around you. Some #earthporn sort of app. I don’t know. Reddit I think is another option. The Reddit crowd is ruthless, but if you can
make your way on Reddit and get that content upvoted, then you can really be discovered. And then the home for that content can still
be Instagram. It’s just stop thinking about Instagram as
the place where you can promote that content. Let me know if I’m wrong, and if you’re an
amateur photographer and have another platform of choice, please let me know. See you next week.

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